Maya Forstater appeals for the legal right to say: ‘male and female he created them’

Apr 19, 2021 by

by Archbishop Cranmer:

Maya Forstater is a researcher. She was employed as a Visiting Fellow with a consultancy contract at the Centre for Global Development (working on international tax). In March 2019 she lost her job after having written and tweeted about about gender self-identification and the conflation of sex and gender in response to the Government’s proposal for gender self-identification.

She took her case to an Employment Tribunal, where a judge determined that the belief that sex is real, immutable and important was not “worthy of respect in a democratic society”, so Maya Fortstater was not protected against belief discrimination by the 2010 Equality Act.

On 27th and 28th April, she will seek to overturn that judgment: ‘Forstater v CGD Europe and others’ may well turn out to be among the most significant legal judgments in the history of employment tribunals.

The case is essentially one of belief discrimination; whether employers and service providers should be able to discriminate against people who share her belief that there are two sexes, male and female, and that people cannot change sex. To qualify as a ‘philosophical belief’ under section 10 of the Equality Act, a belief must satisfy the five criteria established in ‘Grainger plc v Nicholson (2010)‘, namely that:

1. The belief must be genuinely held;
2. It must be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available;
3. It must be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour;
4. It must attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance;
5. It must be worthy of respect in a democratic society, not be incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.

Beliefs that have met these criteria include a belief in Scottish nationalism, ethical veganism, the urgency of action on climate change, and the ancient Greek philosophy of stoicism. Views that have failed the fifth test include Holocaust denial and belief in overturning the government through violent revolution.

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