The woman who lost her job for saying transwomen are not women

UK woman Maya Forstater lost her job for speaking up about women’s rights.  She is going to court to protect other people who speak up too.


I lost my job over tweeting and writing about sex and gender identity, and sharing campaign material about the negative impacts of the proposed policy of ‘gender self-ID’ on women and girls. I am now taking the organisation I worked for to the Employment Tribunal for discriminating against me because of my beliefs.

This will be an important test case in the UK on whether having ‘gender critical’ beliefs is protected under the Equality Act 2010 (in the same way as other religious or philosophical beliefs). I will be represented by solicitors Slater and Gordon and employment barrister Anya Palmer of Old Square Chambers.

If we can establish this point in law it would help people who are currently afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs or being treated differently by their employer. It would also help people facing discrimination outside of work. For example political parties and membership organisations that suspend people for expressing such beliefs, venues that refuse to host public meetings and social media platforms that discriminate against gender critical feminists would need to re-think their policies or they too would face claims for discrimination.

If you think that no one should lose their job for stating a clear opinion on this issue, please visit my Crowd Justice appeal, donate if you can and ask others to.

The Long Story

About me, and how it began

I worked in London at the Centre for Global Development (CGD). It is a think-tank whose researchers work to influence the world’s major governments, international institutions and corporations towards evidence-based policies to enable international development. It is a place of ideas, open debate and robust disagreements. My research focused particularly on scrutinisingpolitical wishful thinking on international tax and illicit financial flows. My colleagues were smart, hard-nosed economists committed to improving the world through evidence and analysis. They were not prone to shielding fashionable ideas from analysis. The institution does not take organisational positions and I thought there were no sacred cows.

I found out I was wrong when I started tweeting about the definition of woman and about the UK government’s proposal for ‘gender self-ID’ last summer.

Like most people coming into this debate, I started by viewing the issue as a straightforward matter of compassion, inclusion and social progress. People should be free to live their life without discrimination or harassment. Vulnerable minorities should be protected. I still believe this.

At the same time I have never believed that women are people who share a common innate sense of ‘gender identity’. Women are people born with female bodies. Womanhood does not depend on dressing, acting or thinking in a feminine way.

In 2012 I had co-founded the campaign Let Toys Be Toys which started on the Mumsnet Feminism Forum. We called on toy companies to stop classifying toys, and children, into girls and boys categories that put limits on what children of either sex should be interested in.

We challenged the promotion of old fashioned gender stereotypes — that girls should only be interested in dolls and princesses while adventures and scientific toys are for boys — but we weren’t paying attention to how these stereotypes were being repackaged into the new idea of ‘gender identity’ — that if a girl child doesn’t conform to gender norms she might actually ‘be a boy’ (and vice versa).

I marched in the first women’s march in London the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration and was buoyed by the sea of women from every walk of life demonstrating against misogyny and for women’s autonomy, including by wearing knitted pink hats in response to Trump saying ‘just grab them by the pussy.’ I was surprised to hear later that some people found these displays ‘transphobic’ because they showed women as people having a vulva, uterus and ovaries. This didn’t seem right. I started to pay more attention to the idea of gender identity, and what it requires of us.

The thing that made me really pay attention was the attack on Maria MacLachlan in September 2017. As video footage showed, a women in her 60’s was kicked and punched by a group of what looked like young men in the midst of a small demonstration. This attack was celebrated by ‘trans rights activists’ on social media, and by organisations such as Action for Trans Health, who argued that beating up this woman was a legitimate part of their struggle because she was a ‘TERF’.

After being shocked by this display of male violence against women under the guise of a civil rights campaign I spent almost another year cautiously discussing the issue with friends, and on Mumsnet, reading analysis and listening to arguments by women such as Julie Bindel, Kathleen Stock, Jane Clare JonesRosa FreedmanLily Maynard, Venice Allan, Posie Parker about the impact of transgender ideology on women’s rights, on lesbians, on vulnerable young people being told they are born in the wrong body and on freedom of speech.

I thought they were brave to speak up.

And I thought what does that make me, if I stay silent?

Taking the plunge on Twitter

I finally plucked up the courage to start talking about my thoughts on my personal Twitter account in August 2018. I have a few thousand followers, who tend to be people who use twitter for serious, nerdy, discussions about public policy, tax and economics (and often about injustices and barriers facing women around the world). I wrote:

I remember how nervous I felt pressing ‘post’ on these four dry, careful tweets.

And then nothing happened.

No one agreed with me. No one disagreed. No one attacked me and called me a TERF. No one retweeted and barely anyone ‘liked’. The issue of whether the legal category ‘woman’ should be completely redefined as an identity rather than a biological reality seemed altogether uninteresting to my social media community of argumentative, progressive policy wonks, academics and international development and tax experts.

I thought maybe I had been too conceptual, too high-level, not specific enough about my concerns. So I tried again a few days later. This time I tweeted the shocking news about Karen (Stephen) White, a rapist who was housed in a women’s prison and sexually assaulted female prisoners. Read the rest of this article here 


  1. Very informative article, with very informative links. I liked reading about how she came to her views. Her fight is a fight for women’s rights and women’s safety from misogynists and predators, as well as a fight for free speech.

    • Yes, absolutely. Trans ideology is so brittle – because it’s crazy really – so it has to try to silence people who refuse the kool-aid and dare to say stuff like “Someone with a beard, a penis and a girlfriend is a straight guy and not a lesbian”. And, although transactivists try to present themselves as super-downrodden and marginalised, the reality is that they have heaps of money on their side, the power to get people sacked, the power to have people thrown off social media, the power to get self-ID stuff passed all over the show, etc etc. In NZ, the main group campaigning for trans has gotten money from parts of the state apparatus, including the NZ Police, and even from the US Embassy!

  2. “‘gender critical’” How can stating the (medically) obvious be regarded as in any way critical? And hijacking the word ‘gender’ by giving it a new meaning doesn’t help, either. Trans-gender people are still whatever gender they were born as – and it doesn’t matter! How sad that some people seem unable to see the humanity in *everyone*.

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