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British judge upholds firing of woman who tweeted that men can’t become women

Author JK Rowling tweeted support for the woman after the ruling.

A British Employment Tribunal has ruled that an employer was right not to rehire a woman who tweeted “men cannot change into women,” calling her views “absolutist” and “not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

The decision led to a wave of support for fired tax expert, Maya Forstater, including from Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who tweeted her dismay at a precedent that would “force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real,” adding the trending hashtag #IStandWithMaya.

In his ruling released Wednesday, Judge James Tayler ruled that Forstater’s opinion that sex could not be changed cannot be protected under British law. 

“The specific belief that the Claimant holds as determined in the reasons, is not a philosophical belief protected by the Equality Act 2010,” he said.

Tayler added that “biological opinion is increasingly moving away from an absolutist approach to there being genes the presence or absence of which determine specific attributes.”

Forstater was previously a visiting fellow at the European arm of the Center for Global Development, an American think-tank with a focus on international development. Forstater said her contract was not renewed because she held opinions critical of gender ideology.

Forstater vocally opposed the Gender Recognition Act, a law that would allow for people to self-identify their sex.

In October 2018, coworkers complained that many of her tweets on sex and gender were transphobic. After her contract expired on December 31, 2018, she was not rehired and she was turned down for another job within the organization.

Forstater said she will challenge the ruling, saying that freedom of speech should not be put in jeopardy over gender ideology.

“As I said at my tribunal, I will, as a matter of courtesy, use preferred pronouns, and I support human rights. Everyone should be free to express themselves, to break free of gender stereotypes and to live free of violence, harassment and discrimination,” she said.

“But this does not require removing people’s freedom to speak about objective reality, or to discuss proposed changes to law and to government policies clearly.”

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