Maya Forstater: a champion of democracy

It is unacceptable for the law to denounce Forstater’s views on sex as ‘not worthy of respect’.

Jon Holbrook

Political debate is good. It should be encouraged, and it should be free. In a healthy democracy, political debate will be vigorous and challenging. It will be premised on enquiring into the truth and its objective will be to persuade. Democracy is essentially a system of decision-making that treats every citizen as having an equal right to express an opinion. Only those who advocate violence, and hence who reject the democratic process, should be treated as holding opinions that democracy will not respect.

The desire of an increasing number of men and women, and boys and girls, to ‘change sex’ and to require society to adapt to their desires is an issue for political debate. It is, like most political issues, capable of engendering strong and passionately held beliefs on both sides. It is the sort of issue that demonstrates the need for free and vigorous debate. Indeed, it is an issue that highlights the need for democracy. Only a democracy – with the respect it necessarily affords to each citizen’s right to express an opinion – can guide society to decisions that are capable of being accepted by the wider public.

On trans issues, society has been moving in a direction that stokes considerable unease among many people. In the latest controversy, there are some who believe that men should be allowed to self-declare as women and to be treated as women (likewise for women desiring to be men) and there are many who strongly oppose such a development. Changing rooms, prisons, school uniforms, sports, swimming pools, toilets, women-only shortlists and women’s refugees have all been the focus of recent trans controversies. Underlining the dispute is the view held by many that sex is a biological fact that cannot be changed, and that society is harmed by accommodating to those who claim to have changed sex.

This controversy needs the antidote of free public debate. Two years ago, Maya Forstater decided to join the debate. She, like millions of other citizens, opposes the possibility that the Gender Recognition Act 2004 could be amended to permit people to self-identify their gender. After researching the issue, Forstater tweeted: ‘Some transgender people have cosmetic surgery. But most retain their birth genitals. Everyone’s equality and safety should be protected, but women and girls lose out on privacy, safety and fairness if males are allowed into changing rooms, dormitories, prisons, sports teams.’ In a further social-media comment on Slack, she noted how ‘I should be careful and not unnecessarily antagonistic. But if people find the basic biological truths that “women are adult human females” or “trans women are male” offensive, then they will be offended.’ And she noted how ‘in social situations I would treat any trans women as an honorary female, and use whatever pronouns etc… I wouldn’t try to hurt anyone’s feelings but I don’t think people should be compelled to play along with literal delusions like “trans women are women”.’

Forstater’s opinions were clear, but they were also measured and sophisticated in that she distinguished between challenging trans issues at a political level and how she would treat a trans person at a personal level. Essentially, Forstater was doing what any democracy would welcome because she was engaging in an issue of public concern by eloquently expressing the viewpoint of millions. However, when her employers saw it differently, she brought an employment-tribunal claim in which she alleged unlawful discrimination based on her beliefs.

The law concluded, in a judgment given last week, that Forstater’s belief that sex is immutable ‘is not worthy of respect in a democratic society’. This is deeply troubling and plainly wrong at a political level because a democracy that sneers at opinions before they have been voiced, heard and judged by the demos is a democracy in name only. It is a democracy without its lifeblood of free political debate.

And at a legal level, the ruling highlights that the law on trans issues has become a menace to democracy. It has become the servant of a trans discourse that is not concerned with winning arguments, but which seeks to silence them in pursuit of a ‘victory’ secured from a referee who is on their side. When the law – that coercive feature of society that requires obedience – declares that a belief ‘is not worthy of respect’, then the law has taken sides by undermining one side of the debate.

By taking sides on the politically controversial issue of trans identity, the law is giving a green light to its advocates to seek to sack, discipline, silence and drive their opponents from political debate. Trans activists will do this secure in the knowledge that the law will back them. When the law declares that one side of an argument is ‘not worthy of respect’, the law undermines democracy by allowing its favoured argument to be militant, intemperate and censorious. This is not democracy – this is oppression.

The essential problem with today’s law on trans issues is that it is premised, not on enquiring into facts and truth, but by considering feelings. The judge repeatedly referred to the ‘enormous pain’ and ‘hurt’ that would be caused by Forstater’s opinions. And with this therapeutic approach as his guide, he began his judgment by noting that he ‘sought to use appropriate terminology that will not be offensive to the parties, their witnesses or others reading this judgement’. To this end he refers to Gregor Murray, who Forstater is said to have offended, as a ‘non-binary person’ and as ‘they’. In other words, the judge began by dismissing Forstater’s case by making clear that, even in a judgment which is a statement of the law, he would accede to the right of men and women to self-declare their own ‘sex’.

As Forstater had already noted, and as anyone who engages in a questioning of trans issues knows, if a decision-taker bases his decision on the possibility of somebody being ‘hurt’ by an opinion, then people who disagree with that opinion will declare themselves to be hurt. Pain, hurt, dignity, distress and offence (all metrics cited by the judge) become the basis for resolving issues in favour of the campaigners with the thinnest skins. This was the central basis for the judge’s conclusion, for, as he argued: ‘Calling a trans woman a man is likely to be profoundly distressing. It may be unlawful harassment. Even paying due regard to the qualified right to freedom of expression, people cannot expect to be protected if their core belief involves violating others’ dignity and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.’ It is worth re-reading this passage in order to appreciate that, so far as the law is concerned, nobody in a democracy should express the political belief that a ‘trans woman is a man’ because it may hurt the man’s feelings.

The law has not always been a menace to democracy. In an earlier era, the law was premised on fact rather than fiction masquerading as therapy. In Corbett vs Corbett (1970), a High Court judge concluded that: ‘It is common ground between all the medical witnesses that the biological sexual constitution of an individual is fixed at birth (at the latest), and cannot be changed, either by the natural development of organs of the sex, or by medical or surgical means.’ And in 2003, five judges in the House of Lords concluded that: ‘Individuals cannot choose for themselves whether they wish to be known or treated as male or female. Self-definition is not acceptable. That would make nonsense of the underlying biological basis of the distinction.’ (Bellinger.)

These judgments are now, according to the Forstater decision, not worthy of respect. As the Dickensian character Mr Bumble would say, ‘the law is an ass’. Worse still, the law’s approach to democracy on trans issues has become Victorian. Victorian law denied democracy by denying people a vote; today’s law emasculates democracy by denying people a voice. Maya Forstater has courageously stood up to the oppressive purveyors of trans identity and to a law that considers her beliefs to be unworthy of respect. Whatever the law says, Maya Forstater is a true champion of democracy, and the dismissal of her case highlights the extent to which the law has become a menace to the institution it is supposed to uphold: democracy.

Jon Holbrook is a barrister. Follow him on Twitter: @JonHolb

His essay on ‘The Rise and Fall of the Rule of Law’ is published in the book From Self to Selfie: A Critique of Contemporary Forms of Alienation, paperback £16.09.

Picture by: Barney Cokeliss.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Comments

Joshua Chavez

24th December 2019 at 2:31 pm

I am very impressed with the law maker and love the Uk so much more after this. The man point of this issue is not necessarily trans rights or what they should be called. The angle this woman is taking is saying its not fait that she can’t even debate her opinion with these law makers and her country all together, Clearly these points she’s making have been heard and it appears she has nothing new to the bring to the table, the judge understands the law perfectly. The fat that this specific issue stems from a hateful opinion for a group of people that have been long scrutinized on an issue including (race, age, gender or sexual orientation) merits the whole debate being stopped in its tracks,, Its sort of like hyping up a radical opinion someone has against black people. Like, ok this is going to do nothing but highlight hate and bigotry and these issues have already been decided. We can’t give eery zeophobe, racist, homophobe or transphobe, a platform to spread their hate, and take these claims seriously. Otherwise we would be listening to nazi’s wanna be slave owners, and evangelicals say, “well this is my opinion and even though the issue has nothing to do with me and it will only hurt those that it does; you all have to listen to me.” Uh no thanks thats why we have a legal system.

Eric Blair

24th December 2019 at 2:16 pm

Although her beliefs are defensible and valid, they are not protected in law, which is why she lost the tribunal. In other words her employers had the right to dismiss her. This piece seems not to acknowledge this important caveat.

Missus Warner

26th December 2019 at 10:30 am

Following that logic. An employer has the right to dismiss any employee whose belief, whatever it is, does not agree with that of the employer. The employer could be anything from a major multi-national to a more or less one man band. Therefore, we are all at risk of being dismissed from our jobs at any time. Surely this cannot be? However, belief in Climate Change and therefore the opposite, is enshrined in protected philosophical belief. If a belief that human sex is immutable is held as part of a religious belief, then that too is protected.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

24th December 2019 at 1:57 pm

The GRC is a legal fiction. If people here have a problem with that, maybe they should oppose adoption as well.

Esau Bloggs

24th December 2019 at 1:53 pm

A man who “transitions” to a woman should not be referred to as a transwoman but a transman.

Simple, innit?

Claire D

24th December 2019 at 8:38 am

I have a comment languishing in moderation, not sure why.

Tom Beale

24th December 2019 at 8:12 am

If this woman’s honestly held belief that someone’s biological sex is immutable can lose her her job and be described as “not worthy of respect” where does the UK sit on the fact that the majority of adherents to the faith of Islam (+ many Christians, Jews etc) living in this country believe that homosexuality is a grave sin. If we hide our opinions ( no matter how vile) behind the veil of a belief in a sky god does that render them beyond the reach of moral scrutiny or legal judgement. The hypocrisy inherent in this woke cancer knows no bounds.

Tinfoil Hat

23rd December 2019 at 10:26 pm

Call me olf fashioned but an Ass can be wearing a wig and sit in a court but it is still an Ass.

Teo Welsh

23rd December 2019 at 6:47 pm

Thank-you for this article! The judge in this case is not worthy to wear his robes, much less sit in judgement of this courageous woman. And high praise to JK Rowling for her courage and refusal to be silent.
We can no longer rely on the hope that reason will triumph. The time for appeasement and passive resistance is over.

Teo Welsh

23rd December 2019 at 6:44 pm

None are more intolerant than those who decry intolerance.

Ellen Whitaker

23rd December 2019 at 5:55 pm

Seems very scary to me that she has been deprived of her job for expressing an opinion. Has she no recourse, under UK law?

L Strange

23rd December 2019 at 9:21 pm

This judgement came from her attempt to get her dismissal from work overturned or compensated.

Roy Subs

23rd December 2019 at 10:28 pm

Sorry to clarify, but she did not state an “opinion”, she stated a scientific fact. A biological male cannot change into a biological female. In fact, every one of the 3 trillion cells in a males body is encoded with male DNA and that cannot be changed. What is so utterly chilling to me about this “””ruling””” is that it has made it illegal to state scientific fact – you must only every have the Orwellian “rightthink” of Social Justice ideology. I would also note that the judge is a “Diversity Judge” (look him up), he has been well bathed in the ideology of Social Justice so I think we can see where this ruling comes from.

Hugh Gibney

23rd December 2019 at 5:43 pm

Excellent article, which should be required reading for the judge in this case, among others.

michael savell

23rd December 2019 at 5:20 pm

This was a feminist ruling about subjective and objective,helping to rewrite history so they can sort it out

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

23rd December 2019 at 4:48 pm

If you’re all so against the mixing up of the sexes, then why do you (presumably) have no problem with women wearing trousers in public. You do realise that any woman wearing trousers in public up until about the time of WWI would probably have been arrested or asked to go home and change? The city of Paris only recently removed the local bye-law forbidding women from wearing trousers in public from its statute books. The fact that such strict laws for the visual separation of genders through clothing controls existed throughout Europe for centuries reminds us how radically 20th century feminism has undermined the gender separation that has existed for millenia. This represents a far more subversive, and all-pervasive, conflation of ‘male and female’ than the behaviour of a few thousand tg people in 2010s UK.

Ellen Whitaker

23rd December 2019 at 5:40 pm

So you’re saying, because women where pants, there’s no such thing as biological sex? Ooookay.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

24th December 2019 at 2:01 pm

Not really. It’s more a case of pointing out the inconsistency of radical feminists who have done more than any other group to undermine gender distinctions over the last 100 years.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

23rd December 2019 at 4:40 pm

CLIFF RESNICK – ‘passive aggressive psycho’ – that’s Resnick-speak for ‘someone who disagrees with me’.

Cedar Grove

28th December 2019 at 1:44 pm

As usual, Zenobia, you fail to grasp the point.

Yes, feminism sought to alter gender roles, by expanding our concept of what was considered appropriate for women and men to do. Men could sew dresses and women be astronauts if that is what they were best suited for.

Gender, however, is not the same as biological sex.

That is written into the body. Male children do not inherit their mothers’ mitochondrial DNA. Their sisters do. No amount of tinkering with external genitalia, or deranging hormonal systems, can alter such fundamental differences.

And if it is illegal to say that, let every rational person in the country shout it out, & let us support those who are scapegoated by this ridiculous attitude.

It has nothing to do with being kind and respectful to people with troubled identities. It’s sheer totalitarianism. How shameful to be forced into denying scientific reality! Resist.

Tim Wheeler

23rd December 2019 at 4:38 pm

Support Maya, Free Thought, Free Speech, & Democracy. Check out the recent interview of Matthew Goodwin on the Triggernometry podcast on Labour’s loss of support. The behaviour of our censorious, speech-policing Left is a big part of the story of why they are loosing the support of ordinary people. Also check out the Triggernometry interview with radical TERF Posie Parker for a good honest dose of legitimate democratic opinion.

James Knight

23rd December 2019 at 4:13 pm

No Country for Opinionated Women.

Julia Burden

23rd December 2019 at 3:13 pm

An extremely good dissection of the judgement and the current supression of debate. This article has prompted me to set up a monthly subscription to Spiked. Happy Christmas All!

Rikhard Wright

23rd December 2019 at 2:04 pm

At this rate, we can soon expect the marginalizing and ridiculing of anybody unfortunate enough to have been gifted with intelligence, common sense, and a decent education.

Geoff Cox

23rd December 2019 at 2:28 pm

I think you may already have read that some idiot with a platform has said that a term like “swot” could also be classed as a hate crime.

Rikhard Wright

23rd December 2019 at 1:59 pm

Forstater’s position is exactly the same as Jordan Peterson’s.
Based on common sense, intelligence and normal respect for the individual.
Commanding respect is not the same as demanding it, in case anyone has forgotten that, and in this sort of case, to “command” respect is a passive use of the word, meaning to DESERVE respect.
The law is, indeed, a ass these days.

Ray Gunn

23rd December 2019 at 1:48 pm

” ‘Do you remember’, he went on, ‘writing in your diary’, “Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two make four”?
‘Yes’ said Winston.
O’Brien held up his left hand …with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.
‘How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?’
‘Four’
‘And if the Party says that it is not four but five-then how many?’
‘Four’… The word ended in a gasp of pain………… “

Cedar Grove

28th December 2019 at 2:11 pm

Exactly!

Cedar Grove

28th December 2019 at 2:13 pm

And to think, what was once an imaginary sci-fi dystopia is our new reality.

James Knight

23rd December 2019 at 12:51 pm

A Woman for All Seasons.

Ven Oods

23rd December 2019 at 12:42 pm

“people cannot expect to be protected if their core belief involves violating others’ dignity and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.’”

Interesting that the judge thinks one woman’s opinion (here deemed a ‘belief’) would affect anyone else’s ‘environment’. Another instance of ‘woke in a wig’.

James Knight

23rd December 2019 at 12:26 pm

When I was at school teenage boys with long hair could be accidentally mis-gendered by a teachers or ridiculed as “a girl” by other pupils. That might well have been mortifying for a teenage boy. Nobody suggested the teacher should be disciplined, sent for re-education or fired. Nobody suggested this was a “threat to his identity”. But that was when we had something called “common sense”. Now we have the madness of trans ideology infecting the legal system.

Kathryn Barbara

23rd December 2019 at 12:02 pm

“…not worthy of respect” is a shocking comment from the judge. Equal before the law unless you happen to have a view I disagree with. Some judgements recently have been less about the law and more about “positions”. Push back on this one definitely.

James Knight

23rd December 2019 at 12:12 pm

That was just her opinion. Somebody should the judge: opinions are like arse-holes, everyone has one.

Mark Pawelek

23rd December 2019 at 11:19 am

So-called “trans rights” issues, such as: unisex toilets, trans-women in women’s sports, policing pronoun speech, …] are not being promoted by trans people. There just aren’t enough trans activists to do that. Being promoted by wokes who want to re-engineer society against heterosexual relatations. It’s really just an anti-heterosexual movement.

Geoff Cox

23rd December 2019 at 11:17 am

Some big money needs to come into politics from the non-woke side. We urgently need to set up “sock puppet” organisations of our own to put the other side of the argument about trans / islam / free speech etc. These organisations will have names like “The Identity Project” (if there isn’t already one called that) and will adopt a non-Party, neutral stance. However, in practice, they will always advocate conservative positions. This is how the left have successfully smuggled their agenda into every aspect of life in the west. We need to counter-attack.

Ven Oods

23rd December 2019 at 10:46 am

My wife suggested only the other day that I was a big girl’s blouse. I was deeply hurt. Am I safe to assume that I’ve got her bang to rights when I take her to court? (Not only misgendered but ‘misclothed’.)

Hugh Oxford

23rd December 2019 at 9:41 am

To preserve our freedoms, to promote equality, to fight patriarchy and misogyny and to protect the most vulnerable women in society a raft of anti-gender legislation is urgently needed, and the UK government should proudly pioneer it.

This anti-gender legislation must:

1: Enshrine in law the definition of a woman as a person of the female biological sex, the only exception being those individuals with defined, demonstrable objective chromosomal or physiological abnormalities who do not clearly fit into either sex (as determined by a panel of impartial medical practitioners).

2: Make it illegal to provide a service, run an organisation, organise a sporting event or run a facility for both sexes where it is advertised as being for women or girls.

3: Make it illegal to masquerade as a member of the opposite sex for the purposes of entering a single-sex environment or participating in a single-sex activity.

4: Reinforce the inalienable right to refer to another person using scientifically correct nouns and pronouns (man/woman/boy/girl/he/she) according to their objective biological sex.

5: Abolish the use of the term “gender” in government documents, reports, forms, censuses or surveys, replacing it with “sex”, where the word “gender” has been misapplied.

6: Make it a requirement for organisations to provide facilities such as toilets (where provided) for both sexes.

In summary, the UK government must act now against “gender”: a baseless, transgressive, patriarchal and misogynistic ideology with damaging ramifications for the whole of society, but especially for young, poor and vulnerable women who require single sex environments the most, and all women who face the threat of legal and practical eradication.

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 11:17 am

Very well put, and worthy of publication elsewhere.

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 11:21 am

Well said and perfectly setout.

steve moxon

23rd December 2019 at 11:43 am

But there is no misogyny here, or anywhere: misogyny as currently defined does not exist — there is zero scientific basis of it (as I’ve just researched and had published as a science review paper).
And there IS such a thing as a genuinely ‘female-organised’ (as it were) brain within a genetically male body: in-embryo malfunction appears to cause this.
It would not be right to prevent such a person from regarding themselves and being regarded as female.
Of course, these people are very rare and likely a good few people are masquerading as ‘trans-sexual’ when they are not.
We should not support this latest extension of feminist hatred towards men, which is what this is: feminist don’t mind female-to-male ‘trans-sexuals’: not male-to-female ones.

steve moxon

23rd December 2019 at 11:45 am

The last phrase of course should being ONLY [I miscorrected the typo]

Claire D

23rd December 2019 at 2:12 pm

Steve,
I personally have no objection to a man or a woman living as if they are the opposite sex for whatever reason, I don’t mind at all, providing the law applies to them in the same way that it applies to the rest of us. The difficulty lies in the Equality Act, in which women’s and tg’s (and all the other groups) rights have to be balanced against each other. By giving these protected status gives them a higher value and some troubled, angry men will take advantage of that, and because they are the tiniest minority of all they will probably be given more weight and protection even than women (see how crazy it becomes). This, combined with the ‘ hate crime ‘ part of the Act is bound to be at the mercy of a judge’s personal opinion as it has on this occasion.

The issue for me is not about ‘ women ‘ versus ‘ transgender ‘ but about a law that has created a problem which is’nt, or was’nt, there before. All the stuff about biology cannot really be disputed. If we were all equal under the law; men, women, gays, ethnic groups, tgs etc and the hate crime laws were less open to interpretation this whole transgender issue would not have become such a hot roast . . .oops Christmas dinner creeping in there . . potato.

I am not a feminist but I do support women’s right to privacy and their own spaces, men’s too.

Ellen Whitaker

23rd December 2019 at 5:46 pm

Citation please.

Female-to-male trans-sexuals are not attacking female (or male) identity.

steve moxon

23rd December 2019 at 11:19 pm

You haven’t done even basic reading?! Then why are you commenting?
— And why then would you expect anyone to be your dogsbody … or care one jot about what you feebly think?

Female Penis

23rd December 2019 at 9:22 am

John hit the nail on the head when said Judges are making rulings based on feelings – which is what trans radical activists *TRA’s* not only want, but NEED, in the absence of feelings, there is no argument that they can present that would pass any scrutiny.
I will not participate in this, whatever the consequences.
The worst thing we did was pander to the pronouns BS, it was done in good faith, but it has turned into *gender fascism*.
Well I’ve hit ‘peak’ trans as they say, I’m done, unless you are transitioning or have transitioned you are he or she, according to whatever is in your under garments.
I will not be manipulated or coerced into lying to validate the lifestyle choices of adult men with a fetish.

steve moxon

23rd December 2019 at 11:56 am

Not so. There really are individuals who, through some in-embryo malfunction, have brains that have developed as they would in a female, even though genetically they are male, and they have male sex organs.
Former estimates were than there are only (if I recall accurately) about 1 in 14,000 birth males and 1 in 25,000 birth females in this category, so there’s a far lower prevalence than activists pretend (just as gays aren’t 10% of the male population, but more like 1%).

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

23rd December 2019 at 8:40 am

I wonder how many of the people supporting Forstater here also believe that all gay people are paedophiles…

Female Penis

23rd December 2019 at 9:14 am

You’ve yet to present a single good argument for anything you’ve been complaining about

Gregor Murray hates women, he is a terrible advocate for the trans cause.

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 10:49 am

Not one, I would guess. I certainly don’t.

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 11:16 am

Look, Zenobia, instead of having a go at me, because you disagree with my views- and those of others here- let us all know why you’re so incensed by our commonly held views.

You claim Christian beliefs so let us have your thoughts on an ideal society :The Zenobian Version.

A kind of EUtopia with fluid definitions of gender, citizenship, status, religious affiliation?

Alley Kat

23rd December 2019 at 6:28 pm

Stop conflating issues to deflect from your poorly thought out “arguments”. You can’t state fact or robust research as there are none which support your “reasoning”. Or you are just a troll?

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

24th December 2019 at 1:58 pm

‘Troll’ = someone who disagrees with me.

Cedar Grove

28th December 2019 at 2:06 pm

Your posts grow ever more absurd & irrelevant.

Could you, just once, as a New Year present to the rest of us, try to construct a coherent argument? One which isn’t simply a childish smear?

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

23rd December 2019 at 8:35 am

The biological ‘facts’ also include the fact that tg people exist and always will. Fundamentalist commentators on this thread completely fail to understand that ‘soft’ phenomena such as psychology and emotions are also an integral part of being human, and also have a biological component (as does consciousness). To reduce everything to chromosomes is biological determinism at its worst. Indeed, it is the kind of scientism that leads to social Darwinism and eugenics. Commentators on this thread such as Jane70 and Jim Lawrie have merely latched on to something they do not understand and are using it as a vehicle for expressing their own personal fears and ignorance. As a Christian, I reject this pointless and destructive hounding of a minority under the cover of ‘women’s rights’. It represents an extremely dangerous limitation of human freedom. To suggest that all (or more than a tiny minority) m to f tg people pose a danger to women is a lie that defies the facts.

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 11:20 am

If psychology, emotions and consciousness have a biological component, this must imply a degree of determinism.

Cedar Grove

28th December 2019 at 1:54 pm

Your genes issue the cards you have to play with.

Your natal & social environment teaches you to play in a particular way.

Your free will lets you shuffle the cards, & either go on playing as usual, or invent a new game.

Ellen Whitaker

23rd December 2019 at 5:50 pm

Man and women both have psychology and emotions.

Teo Welsh

23rd December 2019 at 6:58 pm

No one writing here is denying that there aren’t those who genuinely struggle with gender identity. What most of us object to is the denial of the rights of everyone else impacted.

Cedar Grove

28th December 2019 at 2:03 pm

The danger lies not in the existence of TG people, for whom the rest of us mostly have a sense of compassion for the difficulties they face. Few non-trans people object to the existence of people different from themselves, nor would they wish to deny them human rights.

The problem is not one of TG people’s existence. It is one of forcing rational people to comply with a proposition they know to be untrue. Gender roles are fluid. So is how you choose to “identify”. Your basic biology is not.

Respect and kindness are not incompatible with reason. We should be encouraging a more clear-sighted view of the world, not seeking to obfuscate factual realities.

Stephen J

23rd December 2019 at 8:31 am

The frightening aspect of this for this country is that we have just seen a further push by the most senior legal figures in this country to override our constitution and sit astride at the summit, distributing “the law” from on high.

And nobody seems to not only not have a solution, but recognise that this is a massive problem.

Cedar Grove

28th December 2019 at 1:57 pm

I agree. That our political masters insist that we deny biological reality, because it doesn’t support their preferred social attitudes, is truly terrifying.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

23rd December 2019 at 8:22 am

Black people have greater vulnerability to sickle cell anaemia. Does that mean we should treat them as inferiors because of ‘biology’?

Cedar Grove

28th December 2019 at 1:52 pm

No. No judgment of inferiority is stated or implied. Medical diagnoses start with probability.

In the case you posit, it simply means we should recognise that having African ancestry makes it more likely that a person may have sickle cell anaemia. Being of white Northern European descent for several generations makes such a diagnosis far less likely to be correct, because it’s a genetic adaptation that arises in tropical areas where malaria is endemic.

This isn’t like x-raying white pensioners at airports in case they’re suicide bombers, because you don’t want to make the brown-skinned guy with the backpack feel bad. It’s to do with facts, not social attitudes.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

23rd December 2019 at 8:19 am

It’s not what Forstater said that is problematic, it’s her motivation for saying it. Transwomen aren’t women – so what?

David Drumright

23rd December 2019 at 7:33 am

This isn’t likely to change until a “trans woman” suffers from prostate cancer. Since women don’t have prostate glands, the doctor will have to choose. Let the patient die, or violate law and medical ethics by performing surgery on a “nonexistent” organ. My guess is that the patient will die.

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 7:52 am

Not what I meant: Greta Thunberg is perhaps the exception to the rule. Perhaps I’m guilty of double standards here, but I chose this to support Maya Forstater.

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 7:53 am

Meant in reply to Mike Stallard

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 7:54 am

Gynaecologists will face similar difficulties, as predicted in an earlier discussion.

Mike Stallard

23rd December 2019 at 7:17 am

You raise such an important point.
Wrong people are right.
They provide the antithesis to the original thesis. (Hegel) Although hijacked by the Marxists, this works even today.
Only after hearing both sides can we arrive at a synthesis. By denying one side – however “mad” we cannot do this.
And the first casualty is – always – common sense!
PS Female genital mutilation/Thai ladyboys/papal castrati please note.

Jon Hubs

23rd December 2019 at 7:04 am

Maya should self identify as a high court judge and overturn the ruling herself.

Mark Williams

23rd December 2019 at 5:59 am

We’re in the endgame of feminism now: biological sex doesn’t exist; men and women are exactly the same, an androgynous blob of equality.

“Gender” — whatever that word means nowadays from when Money coined it in the ’50s — is a “social construct”: men and women are exactly the same, an androgynous blob… if only we could force — through the power of the government — those pesky social con cultural norms out of young boys and into young girls, utopia would be reached.

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 4:53 am

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”—Benjamin Franklin

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

23rd December 2019 at 8:37 am

You are suppressing the freedom of tg people by your pointless crusade.

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 11:10 am

Nonsense

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 4:46 am

“In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”
― Galileo Galilei

Mike Stallard

23rd December 2019 at 7:18 am

Does that work for Greta Thunberg too? Climate change depends after all on the reasonings of every single scientist in the world.

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 7:47 am

I hope so

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 7:51 am

Not what I meant: Greta Thunberg is perhaps the exception to the rule. Perhaps I’m guilty of double standards here, but I chose this to support Maya Forstater.

Jane 70

23rd December 2019 at 8:06 am

To be fair, and to extricate myself from cognitive bias, it does seem that many scientists are indeed concerned about climate change, although not all.

Recent extreme events in Australia are causing mounting concern, and the floods affecting much of England are becoming ever more frequent.

Perhaps we might accept that Greta Thunberg and ER are very annoying, but that there might be some validity in their claims.

However, to masquerade as female-or male- solely on the basis of self identification, without factual confirmation, and to have this affirmed in a law court, is leading to social chaos.

Wish I had the answers to this madness.

Claire D

23rd December 2019 at 8:22 am

The Equality Act 2010 needs to be either repealed or severely amended. You cannot legislate on discrimination by discriminating. Lumping various identifying characteristics together including ‘women’ and protecting them over others (white men) was asking for trouble, in fact it was stupid.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

23rd December 2019 at 8:20 am

What about compassion for tg people?

Tom Beale

24th December 2019 at 8:26 am

The two things aren’t mutually exclusive. I can have enormous compassion for tg ( and I do ) and at the same time be appalled that somebody can lose their job and be told that their opinion, backed up by science, (whether I agree with it or not) is “not worthy of respect” by the legal system

Jim Lawrie

23rd December 2019 at 1:00 am

When the law pushes people outside of it, that is where they will settle their scores.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

23rd December 2019 at 8:36 am

Are you an angry, violent man, Mr. Lawrie?

cliff resnick

23rd December 2019 at 1:57 pm

better being up for a fight than a passive aggressive psycho

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