Early this week, British tax expert Maya Forstater was fired over tweets in which she disagreed with transgender identity, saying that “men cannot change into women.” In the days since, she raised more than £60,000 to cover legal fees for an appeal.
Forstater, who was a senior researcher at the London office of the think tank Centre for Global Development, is believed to be the first person in England to lose her job for disagreeing with transgender identity, The Sunday Times reported. The tax expert expressed support for people struggling with gender dysphoria (the persistent condition of identifying with the gender opposite one’s birth sex).
“I support transgender people’s human rights and I believe that trans people are vulnerable, but no one group should overrule others,” she told The Times. “I lost my job for speaking up about women’s rights, in a careful way and in a tone of ordinary discussion and disagreement. I worked for a think tank and I thought you ought to be able to think and talk about things. I found out I was wrong about that.”
Forstater spoke out against recent efforts to expand the U.K.’s Gender Recognition Act to allow people to change their gender on the basis of self-identity regardless of biological sex or even medical documentation proving they have undergone a transgender surgery.
“What I am so surprised at is that smart people who I admire, who are absolutely pro-science in other areas, and champion human rights & womens [sic] rights are tying themselves in knots to avoid saying the truth that men cannot change into women (because that might hurt mens [sic] feelings),” she tweeted in September 2018.
“Some transgender people have cosmetic surgery. But most retain their birth genitals,” Forstater added. “Everyone’s equality and safety should be protected, but women and girls lose out on privacy, safety and fairness if males are allowed into changing rooms, dormitories, prisons, sports teams.”
“I share the concerns of [Fair Play for Women] that radically expanding the legal definition of ‘women’ so that it can include both males and females makes it a meaningless concept, and will undermine women’s rights & protections for vulnerable women & girls,” she said.
Forstater also tweeted about the case of convicted rapist Karen White, a biological male whose original name was Stephen Wood but who identifies as a woman. He was transferred to a women’s prison where he then sexually assaulted female inmates.
“This is appalling,” she tweeted with a link to the story. “Read it and ask yourself why we have accepted that it is OK to force women to be locked in a room with a man and forced to change, wash etc in front of him — instead of seeing it as an institutionalized humiliation?”
These concerns are legitimate. Voyeurs took advantage of Target’s pro-transgender restroom policy to spy on women in bathrooms and changing rooms. Biological males have set world records in women’s sports. Lesbian feminist Julia Beck went so far as to attack H.R. 5 — the Equality Act — as a “human rights violation” because it would remove everyone’s right to single-sex spaces.
A Centre for Global Development manager sent Forstater an email warning that she “stated that a man’s internal feeling that he is a woman has no basis in material reality. A lot of people would find that offensive and exclusionary.” The think tank refused to comment on her firing.
Forstater has long campaigned against gender stereotypes, the Christian Post reported. In 2012, she co-founded the Let Toys Be Toys drive, to stop toy manufacturers from making stereotypical boy and girl toys. Many feminists oppose transgender activism because it represents a return to traditional gender stereotypes and erases biological sex.
The tax expert announced her intention to file a legal complaint against the think tank, and set up a fundraiser on Crowd Justice. She raised more than £60,000 in a matter of days.
“I am crowdfunding to pay for legal representation to take this case to employment tribunal, to show that no one should be discriminated against for having gender critical views, and talking about them,” Forstater wrote. “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.”
Britain has much weaker free speech protections than the U.S., but no one should be fired for expressing dissent from the increasingly radical transgender movement.
Forstater shared her plans to work at CGD for the next two years — she had already raised funds and developed a long-term project. Yet her contract was terminated after an investigation into her tweets. “This is fundamentally unfair, and it is in the public interest for this decision to be challenged so that people holding these beliefs are protected from discrimination.”
On Thursday, she retweeted a message from March, listing various people who have been “expelled from positions for gender wrongthink.”
A thread in pieces: some of the people who've been expelled from positions for gender wrongthink https://t.co/oFht3FbLWs https://t.co/FZdQw1sprt https://t.co/KLQ51yr9lG https://t.co/gHn460647I https://t.co/IG7JMYfobt https://t.co/QavbORRHao https://t.co/fN3uwX2Smm
— Maya Forstater (@MForstater) March 24, 2019
The list included: researcher Lisa Littman, who concluded that rapid-onset gender dysphoria is a “social contagion” spreading among young girls; Pilgrim Tucker, a social justice activist who was fired for saying sex and gender are different; Heather Brunskell-Evans, a feminist campaigner fired from the Women’s Equality Party for opposing the medical transition of children; Angelos Sofocleous, student editor of a university philosophy journal who was fired after retweeting the statement that “women don’t have penises;” Meghan Murphy, a feminist journalist who was banned from Twitter for “misgendering” a man who tried to force women to wax his genitals; Helen Watts, a Girl Guide leader who was expelled from the program after raising concerns about allowing males into the girl’s program; and Ken Zucker, a psychologist who headed up Toronto children’s mental health gender clinic and was fired in 2015 for his patient approach to transgender “treatments” for children.
Forstater joined these ranks, and is fighting to make sure that list does not grow any longer. Sadly, transgender activists have effectively demonized dissent, and a growing number of voices consider any disagreement to be beyond the pale.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.