A win for free speech and those of us who think the state should not be playing a role in endorsing the dogma of gender identity theory

A win for free speech and those of us who think the state should not be playing a role in endorsing the dogma of gender identity theory. By Joanna Williams.

Maya Forstater has won. An appeal court judge [in the UK] has today ruled that the tax consultant at a global think-tank, sacked for expressing the view that males and females are biologically distinct and have different life experiences, was wrongfully dismissed.

Judge Choudhury said that Forstater’s ‘gender-critical beliefs’ ‘were widely shared’ and ‘did not seek to destroy the rights of trans persons’. The judgement notes, ‘It is clear from Convention case law that… a person is free in a democratic society to hold any belief they wish, subject only to “some modest, objective minimum requirements”’.

Success! Rationality and common sense have won out over intolerance and censoriousness. This is absolutely worthy of celebration. But, at the same time, we need to ask why Forstater was dismissed in the first place; why an employment tribunal found against her, and why she was put through two years of legal hell for saying something so very unremarkable.
It was back in 2019 that Forstater’s employers accused her of ‘fear-mongering’ and using ‘offensive and exclusionary’ language on social media simply for saying that men and women are different. …

Not only was Forstater dismissed for stating something accepted as common sense and recognised as scientific fact, but, incredibly, an employment judge also then ruled that the company had been right to sack her.

Pushing back:

It seems that, finally, the grip of gender ideology is beginning to wane. Forstater’s victory comes just a day after Lisa Keogh, a law student at Abertay University, was cleared of misconduct for saying in a seminar that ‘women have vaginas’. It comes weeks after the University of Essex was forced to issue a public apology for bowing to protests and cancelling talks by gender-critical feminists and creating a climate where staff and students felt ‘constrained to self-censor their speech and activity’. …

But the bullies are all too effective:

What’s chilling about the cases of Forstater, Keogh and gender-critical feminists who have lost their jobs or been No Platformed from universities is the warning they send to others tempted to stick their heads above the parapet.

Say what you know to be true and you might ultimately be vindicated. But you will have to endure the gut-wrenching anguish of thinking your career is over and your livelihood wiped out, having your name and picture emblazoned across national newspapers. You will have to endure being subjected to terrible online abuse and harassment, perhaps including death threats or the targeting of close family members. And you will have to endure living with continued uncertainty as tribunals and investigations go through the slow process of adjudicating on the details of exactly what you said, when, where and to whom.

Winning takes its toll. Despite notable successes the message remains: if you want a quiet life, shut up.

Shutuppery is what it’s all about.

hat-tip Stephen Neil