Britons can't ask whether a transgender person is male or female

Britons have no right to ask whether a transgender person is male or female, says employment judge in landmark ruling against tax expert sacked for tweeting ‘men cannot become women’

  • Employment tribunal case upheld the sacking of tax expert Maya Forstater, 45
  • She had questioned plans to allow people to self-identify as another gender
  • Miss Forstater shared her views on reforms to Gender Recognition Certificates
  • Case tested whether gender critical views are protected philosophical beliefs 

Maya Forstater, 46, outside Central London Employment Tribunal on November 13

A landmark ruling has found that there is no right to question whether a transgender person is a man or a woman.

The employment tribunal case upheld the sacking of tax expert Maya Forstater, 45, over ‘offensive’ tweets questioning government plans to allow people to self-identify as another gender.

Miss Forstater, who worked for the Centre for Global Development, was let go by the think tank after sharing her views on reforms to Gender Recognition Certificates.

The case was viewed as a test of whether gender critical views – that there are only two biological sexes and it is not possible to change between them – could be protected philosophical beliefs under the 2010 Equality Act.

Employment Judge James Tayler rejected that view in his landmark judgment, which said Miss Forstater’s views are ‘incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others’.

Miss Forstater wrote on Twitter in September last year that ‘men cannot change into women’

If the employment judge had sided with Miss Forstater, firms would have been barred from sacking staff if they expressed the belief that there are only two genders, even if some people found that offensive.

However Judge Tayler ruled that there is no legal right to ignore the rights of transgender people, especially as misgendering someone can cause ‘enormous pain’.

The employment tribunal case upheld the sacking of tax expert Miss Forstater 

In his judgement he said: ‘If a person has transitioned from male to female and has a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), that person is legally a woman. That is not something [Miss Forstater] is entitled to ignore. 

‘[Miss Forstater’s] position is that even if a trans woman has a GRC, she cannot honestly describe herself as a woman. That belief is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.

‘Even paying due regard to the qualified right to freedom of expression, people cannot expect to be protected if their core belief involves violating others’ dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for them.’

Miss Forstater, who wrote on Twitter in September last year that ‘men cannot change into women’, told The Daily Telegraph: ‘I struggle to express the shock and disbelief I feel at reading this judgment, which I think will be shared by the vast majority of people who are familiar with my case.

Miss Forstater, who is pictured with two fellow protesters in an undated photograph, was told that her views are ‘incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others’

‘This judgment removes women’s rights and the right to freedom of belief and speech.

‘It gives judicial licence for women and men who speak up for objective truth and clear debate to be subject to aggression, bullying, no platforming and economic punishment.

‘I will consider the judgment closely with my legal team to determine what can be done to challenge it.’

Her solicitor, Peter Daly, said the ‘significance of this judgment should not be downplayed’.

He said: ‘Had our client been successful, she would have established in law protection for people – on any side of this debate – to express their beliefs without fear of being discriminated against.’

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