A U.K. high court judge has ruled in favor of a British woman who was fired from her job because she stated on social media that men could not become women.
Maya Forstater’s contract with the Center for Global Development was not renewed in 2019 due to tweets opposing a government proposal to allow people to identify as the opposite sex.
In a decision released Thursday, High Court Justice Akhlaq Ur-Rahman Choudhury concluded that an earlier tribunal that had ruled against Forstater had “erred in law.”
Choudhury said in the written judgment that Forstater’s beliefs were protected under the Equality Act because they “did not seek to destroy the rights of trans persons.”
“Just as the legal recognition of civil partnerships does not negate the right of a person to believe that marriage should only apply to heterosexual couples, becoming the acquired gender ‘for all purposes’ within the meaning of GRA does not negate a person’s right to believe, like the claimant, that as a matter of biology a trans person is still their natal sex,” the judgment reads in part.
He added: “We do not in any way seek to ignore or downplay the difficulties faced by trans persons seeking merely to live their lives peacefully in the gender with which they identify, irrespective of their natal sex. This case, however, is not about whether greater protection ought to be afforded to trans persons … the potential for offence (sic) cannot be a reason to exclude a belief from protection altogether.”
Choudhury also said that while some might find Forstater’s views on sex and gender to be “offensive and even distressing,” they nevertheless “must be tolerated in a pluralist society.”
The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which intervened in Forstater’s defense, said it was right that religious and philosophical beliefs be protected.