A woman who lost her job for saying people can’t change their biological sex has won her case on appeal.
The appeal judge said the belief that biological sex is fixed and unchangeable is worthy of respect in a democratic society.
The decision means people should have more confidence to speak freely about their beliefs without the fear of losing their jobs.
It overturns a previous decision against Maya Forstater, 45, whose contract was not renewed after she used Twitter to say that people cannot change their biological sex.
She posted a series of tweets questioning government plans – which have since been abandoned – to let people declare their own gender.
The judge in the original tribunal case ruled that her views were ‘not worthy of respect in a democratic society’, but that has now been overturned on appeal.
Forstater said, ‘I am delighted to have been vindicated. I lost my job simply for expressing a view that is true and important, and held by the great majority of people in this country: sex matters.
‘Being a woman is a material reality. It is not a costume or a feeling. Institutions that pretend sex doesn’t matter become hostile places for women in particular.’
She added, ‘I’m proud of the role I’ve played in clarifying the law and encouraging more people to speak up.’
Forstater had worked as a tax expert at the think tank Center for Global Development, but her contract was not renewed in March 2019 because of her beliefs.
Her case gained much public attention, including some high-profile supporters such as JK Rowling and TV presenter Jonathan Ross.
But Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of CGD, was disappointed to have lost the appeal. She said the original ruling was right because, ‘offensive speech causes harm to trans people’.
Reacting to losing the appeal, she described the decision as ‘a step backwards for inclusivity and equality for all’.
However, in his ruling, the appeal judge said that ‘beliefs may well be profoundly offensive and even distressing to many others, but they are beliefs that are and must be tolerated in a pluralist society’.