A woman who said biology determines whether people are male or female – rather than identity or feelings – is taking legal action after losing her position at an economic think-tank.
Maya Forstater says The Center for Global Development (CGD) removed her from the post because of her views.
She is now seeking to take the case to an employment tribunal, arguing that “gender critical beliefs” should be protected under the Equality Act.
In September 2018, Forstater replied to a Twitter user who asked “are you saying that trans women are not women?”
She commented: “Yes I think that male people are not women. I dont think being a woman/female is a matter of identity or womanly feelings. It is biology.”
Forstater says CGD investigated her online comments and decided not to renew her contract.
A manager told her that people would find her view “offensive and exclusionary”.
She has already raised over £60,000 to cover the legal costs of a tribunal.
Forstater explained: “I am concerned that governments around the world are rushing through laws and policies which say that people with male bodies can become women simply by identifying as women.”
Index on Censorship backed the researcher, with the group’s Director saying: “I cannot see that Maya has done anything wrong other than express an opinion that many feminists share — that there should be a public and open debate about the distinction between sex and gender”.
CGD told The Times it could not discuss staffing matters.
Earlier this year, the UK’s first transgender ‘hate crime’ case – which also involved comments on Twitter – was dismissed.
Miranda Yardley, who underwent gender reassignment surgery ten years ago, but recognises he is a man, was accused of harassing a transgender rights activist.
Helen Islan, who works for trans-activist group Mermaids, accused Yardley of committing a hate crime by publicly saying that people cannot change sex.
Judge Woollard dismissed the case after a one-day hearing, saying that there was no evidence of a hate crime or harassment.