A think-tank researcher who says she lost her job over anti-transgender tweets is crowdfunding to take the Center for Global Development (CGD) to an employment tribunal.
Maya Forstater says the case could establish that “gender-critical views” are a protected belief under the 2010 Equality Act.
Forstater, 45, was a researcher on business and international development at the CGD in London until her contract was not renewed earlier this year. She asserts that having “gender-critical” views – a phrase often used to defend trans-exclusionary feminism – should be protected under equalities legislation.
In September 2018, Forstater wrote on Twitter: “I think that male people are not women. I don’t think being a woman/female is a matter of identity or womanly feelings. It is biology.”
Forstater also tweeted that the “truth” was “that men cannot change into women” and said that transgender women are not women.
This was part of a series of over 100 tweets from Forstater protesting against reforms to the Gender Recognition Act that could allow transgender people to self-identify their gender.
Think-tank managers said tweets were ‘offensive and exclusionary’
Managers at the CGD told Forstater her tweets were “offensive and exclusionary” and, though she was cleared of breaching company policy in an internal investigation, her contract to work at CGD was not renewed at the beginning of this year.
On the crowdfunding page for her legal fees, Forstater wrote, “No one should be discriminated against for having gender critical views, and talking about them.”
“If we can establish that gender critical beliefs are protected under the Equality Act 2010, this would help protect others who are afraid of losing their jobs because of the beliefs they hold, and also those facing belief discrimination outside the employment field,” Forstater added.
The CGD told the Times that “it could not discuss staffing matters, but all staff ‘are expected to uphold our respectful workplace policy.’”
However, as at least one commenter on the Times article has pointed out, because Forstater lost her job as a result of her fixed-term contract not being renewed – rather than being directly fired as a result of the tweets – she may not be able to take CGD to tribunal.
Anti-transgender feminist Julie Bindel has donated to Forstater’s crowdfunder, comparing transgender activists to “extremists.” Twitter user Jane Carnhall wrote: “The Equality Act – and a lot of case law – is clear that you’re not allowed to harass or abuse #trans people based on their transgender identity, which is what Ms Forstater apparently wishes to be allowed to do.”
Since May 5, the crowdfunder has raised almost £60,000, double its original £30,000 target.