19 December 2019 20:42
JK Rowling has been branded a transphobe and a 'TERF' over her support of a tax expert sacked for saying that 'men cannot become women' on Twitter. The Harry Potter author, 54, faced a huge online backlash after tweeting her support for Maya Forstater after an employment tribunal upheld her dismissal. The 45-year-old was fired over 'offensive' tweets questioning government plans to allow people to self-identify as another gender. Rowling has been accused of being a 'TERF' or trans exclusionary radical feminist after claiming Ms Forstater was 'forced out of her job for stating sex is real'. Another person commented: 'JK Rowling is a full-blown TERF and she's saying it with her chest.' The term trans exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) is used to refer to people who do not believe transgender women should be afforded the same rights as cisgender women.
So-called TERFs often cite women and children's safeguarding issues when claiming men who have transitioned to become women do not have the same life experiences as those who have been female from birth and are often slammed as transphobic. Yesterday, the Central London Employment Tribunal case upheld the dismissal of Ms Forstater. Harry Potter author J K Rowling tweeted out her support for Miss Forstater using the hashtag #IStandWithMaya Miss Forstater wrote on Twitter in September last year that 'men cannot change into women' Miss Forstater, who worked for the Centre for Global Development, was let go by the think tank after sharing her views on reforms to Gender Recognition Certificates. The case was viewed as a test of whether gender critical views - that there are only two biological sexes and it is not possible to change between them - could be protected philosophical beliefs under the 2010 Equality Act. Employment Judge James Tayler rejected that view in his landmark judgment, which said Miss Forstater's views are 'incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others'. If the employment judge had sided with Miss Forstater, firms would have been barred from sacking staff if they expressed the belief that there are only two genders, even if some people found that offensive. However Judge Tayler ruled that there is no legal right to ignore the rights of transgender people, especially as misgendering someone can cause 'enormous pain'. The employment tribunal case upheld the sacking of tax expert Miss Forstater In his judgement he said: 'If a person has transitioned from male to female and has a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), that person is legally a woman. That is not something [Miss Forstater] is entitled to ignore. '[Miss Forstater's] position is that even if a trans woman has a GRC, she cannot honestly describe herself as a woman. 'Even paying due regard to the qualified right to freedom of expression, people cannot expect to be protected if their core belief involves violating others' dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for them.' Miss Forstater, who wrote on Twitter in September last year that 'men cannot change into women', said after the ruling: 'I struggle to express the shock and disbelief I feel at reading this judgement, which I think will be shared by the vast majority of people who are familiar with my case. Miss Forstater, who is pictured with two fellow protesters in an undated photograph, was told that her views are 'incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others' Miss Forstater outlined her position that 'sex is a biological fact and is immutable' on Twitter In September 2019 he presided over a tribunal that found in favour of Stacey Macken, a female banker who had claimed discrimination after her boss repeatedly brushed her comments aside by saying 'not now Stacey'. Judge Tayler, a Diversity and Community Relations Judge (DCRJ), had said at the time that: 'Leaving a witch's hat on a female employee's desk, in a predominantly male working environment, was an inherently sexist act.' He added that the incident 'potentially reflects on the nature of the working environment' at BNP 'and the approach that was taken to women'. 'As I said at my tribunal I will as a matter of courtesy use preferred pronouns and I support human rights. He said: 'Had our client been successful, she would have established in law protection for people – on any side of this debate – to express their beliefs without fear of being discriminated against.' Human rights lawyer Adam Wagner told BBC Radio 4's Today programme Miss Forstater lost because the judge said that wrapped up in her belief that biological sex is immutable is an expectation that she will not refer to someone who has transitioned in their new gender. The ruling sparked fierce debate on social media after the judge said Miss Forstater's views are 'incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others' He said that it was 'difficult to say' whether the ruling would be upheld, adding: 'The judge has gone very far in trying to resolve a number of very controversial issues and he's also potentially gone beyond the remit of this hearing -which was about just looking at the belief, rather than the manifestations of the belief.' 'What I don't think it does is prevent people having a debate about whether for excample changing the law to bring in a different kind of rule for how you transition under the Gender Recognition Act.' Several Twitter users expressed their opposition to the judge's ruling after Miss Forstater lost her appeal At the end of September 2018 Miss Forstater said on a conversation on Slack: 'If people find the basic biological truths that 'women are adult human females' or 'transwomen are male' offensive, then they will be offended. 'I wouldn't try to hurt anyone's feelings but I don't think people should be compelled to play along with literal delusions like 'transwomen are women'.' In the full judgment, Judge Tayler considers whether the Claimaint's core belief that sex is immutable 'lacks a level of cogency and cohesion'. He says Miss Forstater 'largely ignores intersex conditions' and the 'fact' that biological opinion is moving away from an 'absolutist' approach, and that there is 'significant scientific evidence' that her belief is 'wrong'. The hashtag #IStandWithMaya was trending on Twitter, with many supporters, and detractors, voicing their opinion on the landmark ruling The judge continues: 'I consider that the Claimant's view, in its absolutist nature, is incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others. She goes so far as to deny the right of a person with a Gender Recognition Certificate to be the sex to which they have transitioned. 'In Goodwin a fundamental aspect of the reasoning of the ECHR was that a person who has transitioned should not be forced to identify their gender assigned at birth. 'Such a person should be entitled to live as a person of the sex to which they have transitioned. That was recognised in the Gender Recognition Act which states that the change of sex applies for 'all purposes'. 'Therefore, if a person has transitioned from male to female and has a Gender Recognition Certificate that person is legally a woman.