Over at The Spectator, James Kirkup published a long-form analysis of why transgender rights are eliminating women’s rights by destroying any objective definition of what it means to be a woman in the first place. (Can you think of anything more “patriarchal” than women’s records in sports being held by biological men?) He cites one example in particular that highlights just how Orwellian the transgender movement has become:
The reason those women are too frightened to speak out about sex and gender now has a name: Maya Forstater.
Forstater used to work for the Centre for Global Development, a think tank with an office in London. She no longer does, and says that’s because she talked, openly and calmly, about sex and gender and her view that trans women are male. She says that view is rooted in biological fact, that a person who is born male cannot become female no matter how they identify, because sex is an objective fact not influenced by subjective belief.
According to details of Forstater’s case reported in the Sunday Times, this position is connected with her departure from the CGD. Her employers told her that by expressing her views about sex and gender, she had behaved in a manner inconsistent with the organisation’s rules and culture.
In an email to Fortstater about her views, a CGD manager is reported to have said: ‘You 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.’
Forstater is seeking to take her former employers to an employment tribunal over her departure from the CGD, arguing that her ‘gender-critical’ views of transgender issues should be recognised as protected beliefs in law. She’s raising money to bring her case here.
I should say here that I’ve met Forstater once and discussed her case in broad terms. I don’t claim to know everything about it and I note that CGD has said it cannot discuss staffing matters, but says that all staff ‘are expected to uphold our respectful workplace policy’. So I am not, to be clear for the benefit of the legally-minded, stating as fact that her claims against her former employer are justified.
Reaching such a conclusion is the job of an employment tribunal, and I very much hope Maya Forstater assembles the funds required to put this case to law. Because it really is about a lot more than her and her circumstances, important as they are. It’s about how free people are to express views and state facts which may well be offensive to some people, but which do not remotely justify the loss of livelihood and status. It’s about our ability to disagree with a person without seeking their personal ruin. It’s about accommodating reasonable differences of perspective in private and public debate instead of scouring all contrary views from the public square.
Even if you don’t give a fig about Maya Forstater and the trans issue, I hope you’ll bung her a few quid to ensure her case is properly heard and explored. Because this time, it’s women scared of losing jobs for saying things – respectfully and lawfully – that a few committed and organised men don’t like. But if someone like Maya Forstater can lose her living for saying that someone born male cannot become female, who knows who the targets will be next time?
The answer to that question is a simple one: anyone who disagrees with the transgender lobby—and is willing to say so out loud.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.