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The Trans debate – gender critical views

Gender critical views and beliefs have been upheld by the EAT as a protected philosophical belief and individuals with those views are therefore protected under the Equality Act 2010. 

Maya Forstater, a researcher and a tax expert, who lost her job as a result of tweets which reflected her belief that transgender women could not change their biological sex, has had her appeal upheld. She originally worked for the Centre for Global Development who did not renew her contract with them following her tweeting her views on social media. The tweets stated things such as “men cannot change into women”.  These were in response to the then Gender Recognition Act which was to allow people to self identify as a particular gender. The Act has since been abandoned.  

The Centre claimed that these tweets were “offensive and exclusionary” and for this reason they did not renew her contract.  

She subsequently pursued a claim of discrimination in the Employment Tribunal but lost her case. 

In a Judgement handed down on 10 June the EAT president upheld the appeal on the basis the Employment Tribunal had erred in law. Specifically, the EAT found that a person has a right to believe that as a matter of biology a trans person is still the sex they were born as.  Interestingly, they said that only views akin to Nazism were unworthy of protection for rights of freedom of expression and thought.

The EAT acknowledged that this decision was likely to disappoint the Trans community and the Judge made it clear that the judgement does not mean that the EAT was expressing any view on the transgender debate.