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Appeal backs woman over ‘transphobic’ tweets

By Michael Cross >>

An employment tribunal ruling that the discussion of gender identity beliefs is ‘not worthy of respect in a democratic society’ was today overturned in a high profile appeal in which the Equality and Human Rights Commission intervened. 

In Maya Forstater v CGD Europe and others, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled in favour of a tax expert who said she had lost her job at development thinktank Center for Global Development (CGD) after posting tweets questioning government plans to let people declare their own gender. In 2019 the tribunal found Forstater to be ‘absolutist’ in her view, saying she was not entitled to ignore the rights of a transgender person and the ‘enormous pain that can be caused by misgendering’.

In today’s ruling the Honourable Mr Justice Choudhury said Forstater’s ‘gender-critical beliefs’ did fall under the protection of s.10 of the Equalities Act as they ‘did not seek to destroy the rights of trans persons’. He found that the 2019 judgment had erred in law and that Forstater’s claim should be remitted to a new tribunal to determine whether her treatment by her former employer was related to her beliefs. 

The judgment stressed that the tribunal had not expressed ‘any view on the merits of either side of the transgender debate’ and that the judgment does not mean ‘that those with gender-critical beliefs can “misgender” trans persons with impunity.’

In a statement, Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of CGD, said: ‘The decision is disappointing and surprising because we believe [the tribunal judge] got it right when he found this type of offensive speech causes harm to trans people, and therefore could not be protected under the Equality Act.’

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)