Maya Forstater (born 3 July 1973) is a British business studies and international development researcher who is the claimant in Maya Forstater v Centre for Global Development Europe. The case established that gender critical views are protected as a belief under the Equality Act 2010, while stating that the judgment does not permit misgendering transgender people with impunity. The appeal tribunal did not examine the substantive merits of Forstater's dismissal, and a full merits hearing on the claim that she lost her employment as a result of these beliefs was heard in March 2022. The decision of the second tribunal, delivered in July 2022, was that she had been discriminated against because of her gender-critical beliefs. In October 2020, she became a founding officer of the lobby group Sex Matters, which describes itself as having "a singular mission: to reestablish that sex matters in rules, laws, policies, language and culture."
- What I am so surprised at is that smart people who I admire, who are absolutely pro-science in other areas, and champion human rights & womens rights are tying themselves in knots to avoid saying the truth that men cannot change into women (because that might hurt mens feelings).
- Tweet (30 September 2018), cited in "Maya Forstater: Who is woman in employment tribunal over transgender comments?", The Independent (27 April 2021).
- It's not a huge thing to ask. It’s only the most egregious, violent, dangerous beliefs that are not protected, such as saying you are a Nazi or you are wanting to overthrow government by violent revolution or that you are a Holocaust denier. Ultimately, what it comes down to is an attack on my right to free speech. Can you really compare what I believe in – that sex is a biological reality – to the truly evil beliefs of the Nazis?
- Speaking before her appeal, cited in "Maya Forstater: 'I am fighting for the right to say men can never be women'" The Telegraph (10 June 2021)
- This comes with an extraordinary state-sponsored invisibility cloak. It will be a crime to reveal information about a “person’s gender before it became the acquired gender”. This means their sex becomes a secret — or at least an open, unmentionable secret. The invisibility cloak starts working not at the point when a person receives a gender recognition certificate, but when they apply for it.
And there is nothing to stop a person repeating the process: returning to their biological sex, with a new identity that has no public link to either of their previous identities. The opportunity for this personal shell scheme to facilitate financial or sexual abuse should not be dismissed. Undermining the organisational record-keeping systems which underpin safeguarding and "safer recruitment" of staff to work with children and vulnerable people is just one area of concern.
- "Gender self-ID will offer a dangerous 'invisibility cloak'" The Times (18 May 2022)
- On the proposals in the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.
- I do feel vindicated. The tribunal found that I was a victim of discrimination, and not a perpetrator, which is the story that has been told about me for the past three years. But it is weird, too. This case took on a life of its own a long time ago. It is both about me, and not about me. The implications of the judgment are going to have a huge impact. The most important thing I ever did, it seems, was to lose my job.
- After an employment tribunal found Forstater had experienced direct discrimination in her sacking from the Centre for Global Development (CGD), cited by Rachel Cooke in "'Now other women are free to say what they believe': researcher who lost her job over transgender tweets" The Observer (10 July 2022)
- The Scottish Bill tears up the UK’s criteria for awarding a gender recognition certificate based on medical assessment, and allows anyone to get a GRC based on a declaration, with no medical treatments or safeguards.
This means there will be many more people able to get a certificate, and organisations will never be able to feel confident excluding someone who is clearly male from female-only spaces and services.
A key question for the UK Government is whether they will accept people who have been through the Scottish system but were born in England and Wales to change the sex on their birth certificate. Scotland would in effect act like a 'haven' of light regulation that would then spill out across the UK.
For schools there would be huge problems. Single-sex schools are allowed by law, but now schools would face having to admit a child of the opposite sex, and would be threatened with criminal penalties if teachers and staff 'disclose' the child’s actual sex to other staff, pupils or parents.
The UK Government does not have to accept this outcome. It should refer the Bill to the Supreme Court and make sure that the Scottish Parliament only legislates within its own domain, and does not ignore women’s rights and child safeguarding.
- On the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill cited in "Nicola Sturgeon’s trans law will hurt English women’s rights, Government fears" The Telegraph (7 January 2023).
- This is a rapist who lied about raping these two women and who was found to have lied about it in court. So I don’t think we can rule out that he might be lying about his feelings of being a woman. But in any case, that is what the policy allows. The policy allows a man who feels like he is a woman or thinks he is a woman to apply to be housed in the women’s prison. So it’s inviting that kind of gaming.
- As cited in "Minister defiant over trans rapist Isla Bryson" The Times (26 January 2023)
- An untransitioned trans women Isla Bryson (born Adam Graham) was convicted in Glasgow of raping two women (at the time of the crimes, the offender was unquestionably male), but began to identify as a woman after being charged.
- Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?
- J. K. Rowling Tweet (19 December 2019) in support of Forstater, cited in "Maya Forstater: Who is woman in employment tribunal over transgender comments?" The Independent (27 April 2021)