23:27 GMT19 June 2021
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    Last year J K Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, was at the centre of a storm over her views on transgender issues. She had pointed out that “people who menstruate” can be simply called “women” and was accused of transphobia.

    A woman who tweeted "male people are not women" has won an appeal against her employers’ decision to fire her for "transphobia".

    A panel of judges at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in London ruled Maya Forstater had not done anything wrong and people who share her “gender critical” beliefs cannot be sacked for holding such a view of the world.

    ​Ms Forstater, a tax expert, was sacked by the Centre for Global Development (CGD)  think-tank, in March 2019 after posting tweets in which she voiced her opposition to reforms of the Gender Recognition Act.

    She had tweeted in 2018 that no amount of surgery can allow a man to become a woman, whatever gender they use to define themselves.

    ​Ms Forstater tweeted: "I don’t think being a woman/female is a matter of identity or womanly feelings. What I am so surprised at is that smart people who I admire ... are tying themselves in knots to avoid saying the truth that men cannot change into women."

    Several of her colleagues complained about her "transphobic" comments and her contract with CGD was not renewed because of her opinions.

    ​Ms Forstater, whose comments had been retweeted by J K Rowling, took her case to an employment tribunal, claiming she had been discriminated against because of her beliefs.

    In December 2019 employment judge James Tayler threw her case out, saying her “absolutist” view of sex was “not worthy of respect in a democractic society.”

    He claimed said had caused “enormous pain” by “misgendering.”

    ​But the appeal tribunal, chaired by Mr Justice Choudhury, said Ms Forstater’s “belief that sex is immutable and binary is..consistent with the law.”

    They added: “Where a belief or a major tenet of it appears to be in accordance with the law of the land, then it is all the more jarring that it should be declared as one not worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

    ​The decision comes 24 hours after a student at Abertay University in Scotland, Lisa Keogh, was cleared of wrongdoing for saying women have vaginas.

    In recent years there has been increasing tension and hostility between feminists who believe women are born women and transgender campaigners who believe men can become women.

    Tags:
    employment, tweets, gender, transphobia
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