Why are the police hounding Maya Forstater?

She is facing a criminal investigation for standing up for women’s dignity.

Jo Bartosch

Jo Bartosch

Topics Free Speech Identity Politics UK

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When feminist campaigner Maya Forstater posted a link to an old blog post defending women’s access to single-sex healthcare, little did she know it would soon land her in a London police station.

Back in 2020, Forstater, who is chief executive of Sex Matters, whose newsletter I edit, wrote a blog explaining how the demands of trans-identified staff within the NHS are undermining sex-based rights and safeguards. She gave the example of Kamilla Kamaruddin, a male, trans-identified GP, who at the time was being lauded for his activism. He has spoken and written about his experience as a trans GP in a variety of media outlets, including the Guardian, Newsweek and various trade magazines. He was awarded a prize at the Royal College of General Practitioners’ ‘Inspire’ awards in 2019.

In one of his many media outings, Kamaruddin boasted that after adopting his new identity, patients allowed him to perform ‘more intimate examinations that they did not let me to do when I was a male GP’. He has also claimed that some of his patients ‘did not ask any questions at all because they either thought I was a female GP or it did not bother them at all that I was a transgender doctor’.

Forstater was understandably troubled by these statements. As she pointed out on her blog, Kamaruddin was actually listed as female on his GP surgery’s website and therefore might have been misleading his patients about his sex. She also noted that he once wrote: ‘I had a fear that my patients would treat me differently as they might not agree with my new identity due to prejudice and ignorance.’ In response, she questioned whether his patients really were ‘empowered’ to say no to being intimately examined by him, if their objections would likely be dismissed as ‘prejudiced and ignorant’.

Three years later, in 2023, Forstater posted a link to the blog on X / Twitter. In the accompanying tweet, she said that Kamaruddin ‘enjoys intimately examining female patients without their consent’. This tweet was then reported to the Metropolitan Police. As a result, she has now spent 10 months under police investigation for ‘malicious communications’.

The broader point she was raising is this: no woman feels ‘empowered’ when lying on her back with a doctor prodding about in her vagina. For most, it might be a necessary indignity. But for the large number of women who have been victims of rape and sexual assault, it can be profoundly traumatic. That’s why NHS policy states that patients have the right to request to see a GP of the same sex, and it is advised that a chaperone be present during any intimate examination to protect both doctor and patient. In writing the blog, Forstater gave a voice to the concerns of many female patients who have been ignored by a medical profession in hock to trans activism.

‘[My tweet] was not a threat to anybody’, Forstater told the Daily Mail yesterday. ‘It was not obscene, it was based on facts and [the] quite disturbing fact that a doctor who is male was boasting about examining women who wanted a female doctor, and who were told they were getting a female doctor.’

Indeed, she did not incite violence or display hatred. She was merely standing up for women’s rights and dignity, while refusing to lie about a trans doctor’s biological sex. Yet still she had to endure nearly a year under police investigation with the threat of a malicious-communications charge. She is now considering legal action against the police.

While the police in Britain hound the likes of Forstater for expressing their gender-critical beliefs, a trans identity seems to shield perpetrators from the reach of the law. Sex Matters has collated a long list of the threats and violent acts endured by gender-critical women who have simply tried to speak up for their rights. In most cases, the police have turned a blind eye. Indeed, the day after Forstater tweeted about Kamaruddin, a male trans activist tweeted about Joanna Cherry MP: ‘I’d kill her with my bare hands if I ever saw her.’ The police eventually decided this did not meet the threshold for a crime.

The message from forces across the country is clear: women who speak up for their rights will be investigated. Meanwhile, men who claim to be women will be free to act with impunity. Trans activists have managed to turn the police into their attack dogs, using them to stifle free speech and intimidate women into silence.

On a more positive note, Forstater has won against the might of trans activists before. In 2019, she was fired by her former employer for expressing her gender-critical beliefs. Two years later, in a landmark case, she managed to establish that her views were protected by law. The courts determined that standing up for women’s sex-based rights is not a sackable matter. So how can it be a criminal one?

Those in the Met who are now hounding Maya Forstater would do well to remember her earlier case. In investigating her, they may well find that they are not only barking up the wrong tree – they may have also bitten off more than they can chew.

Jo Bartosch is a journalist campaigning for the rights of women and girls.

Clarification: an earlier version of this article named an activist in relation to the tweet about Joanna Cherry. This name has been removed.

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Topics Free Speech Identity Politics UK


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