London, England, UK: Maya Forstater, an internationally renowned researcher on tax avoidance, was informed in March 2019 that her appointment with a think tank would not be renewed, following an investigation into her gender-critical tweets.
Ms. Forstater worked as a senior researcher at the London office for the Centre for Global Development (CGD), which is focused on evidence-based policies to enable international development. She had recently been named in a successful funding proposal for a two-year research project, building on the work she had been developing as part of the team at CGD.
In 2012, Maya Forstater co-founded Let Toys Be Toys, a campaign aimed at toy companies, asking them to stop classifying toys, and children, into girls’ and boys’ categories. Its key message is that there should be no limits on what children of either sex can express interest in.
According to Ms. Forstater, she had not really been paying attention to the gender self-identification debate, but believed that the issue was fairly straightforward and that individuals should be able to live their life without discrimination or harassment. Her first indication that women were being sidelined occurred following the 2016 women’s march in London, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. She was startled to learn that women wearing knitted pink hats (“pussy hats”) were deemed “transphobic,” because their hats referred to female biology.
Her turning point came when trans activists declared that Maria MacLachlan, a 60-year-old woman who was assaulted by a 26 year-old transgender male, deserved to be attacked because she was a “TERF” (a derogatory term which stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist).
In August 2018, Ms. Forstater started posting her concerns about proposed changes to the UK 2004 Gender Recognition Act on her personal Twitter account. She subsequently tweeted that she considered it “appalling” that a male convicted of paedophilia was remanded to a women’s prison. This paedophile was relocated to a men’s prison for the most dangerous offenders after sexually terrorizing incarcerated women.
Ms. Forstater also tweeted about Pips Bunce, a male “gender fluid” banker who sometimes wears wigs and dresses to work and was awarded a spot on Britain’s top 100 female executives. In various threads related to this latter post, Ms. Forstater made statements such as “women are adult human females,” and “when men wear make-up, heels, dresses they don’t become women”.
Shortly after these posts, Ms. Forstater received an email from human resources at CGD, informing her that some staff had expressed concern about her tweets, and that many people would find her tweets offensive and exclusionary. She was told to put a disclaimer into her Twitter bio, to which she complied.
The firm then launched an investigation into Ms. Forstater’s tweets, informal conversations and an article she was writing. The investigation found that Ms. Forstater had not violated CGD’s bullying and harassment policy. Nonetheless, she was subsequently informed that her appointment as a Visiting Fellow at CGD would not be renewed. The organization has refused to comment on her firing.
Maya Forstater is taking CGD to the Employment Tribunal for discriminating against her for her beliefs. She crowdfunded to pay for legal representation; in under three days the crowdfund raised £60,000.
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An internationally renowned researcher on tax avoidance is believed to be the first person in Britain to lose her job for saying that transgender women are not women.
Early this week, British tax expert Maya Forstater was fired over tweets in which she disagreed with transgender identity, saying that “men cannot change into women.” In the days since, she raised more than £60,000 to cover legal fees for an appeal.
It’s interesting to note what you’re not allowed to say these days. And, actually, what you are allowed to say.
Help me go 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.