Things are looking up for women in the UK.
In a landmark court decision last weekMaya Forstater has won her discrimination case against her former employer who fired her in 2018 for saying gender cannot be changed and biological sex matters.
Welcoming the verdict, the public policy researcher and co-founder of Sex Matterssaid:
“My case matters to anyone who believes in the importance of truth and freedom of expression.
“We are all free to believe what we want. What we are not free to do is coerce others into believing the same thing, silence those who disagree with us, or force others to deny reality.
“Human beings cannot change sex. It is not odious to say that; in fact, it is important to treat everyone fairly and safely. It shouldn’t take courage to say that, and no one should lose their job for it.
She concluded her declaration of victory by saying, “We are tired of being sidelined in language, law, politics and public spaces.” And that, ‘This judgment is further evidence that the tide is turning.’
Forstater’s case caught the world’s attention when JK Rowling – who is now well known for her gendered beliefs – did the following Tweeter in 2019:
“Dress however you like. Call yourself what you want. Sleep with any consenting adult who has you. Live your best life in peace and security. But forcing women out of their jobs for saying sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill.’
After the verdict justifying Forstater, Rowling again tweeted his support:
“Every woman who has been harassed, silenced, bullied, or lost her job because of her sexist beliefs is freer and safer today, thanks to the warrior who is [Maya Forstater].’
On the same day as Forstater’s judgment was delivered, British triathlon became the first British sport to ban transgender athletes over the age of 12 from competing in women’s sporting events at all levels. Their statement confirms that they have updated their transgender policy after a period of consultation “to ensure that it reflects the needs of our sport, protects fairness in competition and serves our desire to make triathlon truly inclusive”.
Under the policy, there will now be two categories: “a female category (for those who are female at birth) and an open category (for all individuals, including men, transgender and non- binaries that were female”. male at birth).
UK Women’s Sport Advocacy Group Fair play for women celebrated the news, Tweeter:
‘Well done British Triathlon. After full consultation – including women – they concluded the issues of equity in sport. Gender-based female category plus open category to include trans people.
Now, following the announcement of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation, several Conservative leadership candidates have signaled their support for biological reality and women’s gender rights.
Former British Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged to incorporate them into his political platform if he becomes the new Prime Minister.
The father of two girls would be “criticism of recent trends aimed at erasing women via the use of awkward and gender-neutral language”, “believes that we must be able to call a mother a mother and talk about breastfeeding”, and “will not support the erosion sexual language in legislation or the public sector”.
He also has previously expressed support for female-only sport and restrooms to protect the rights and safety of women and girls:
“You have to have compassion for those who think about their identity and what it means to them, their families, because they are potentially going through a change and we have to be compassionate and understanding about it.
“And we also have to have respect, especially for the opinions of women who fear that some of the things they fought so hard for and the rights that are important to them are being eroded.
“We have to respect that point of view.
“Biology is critically important as we think through some of these very practical questions.”
In a series of tweets Posted hours before her leadership bid, Trade Secretary Penny Mordaunt sought to clarify her stance (or change her tone?) on trans issues after some Tories dubbed her “a committed warrior for the trans lobby “, apparently referring to his comments from 2018 that “trans women are women and trans men are men”.
In a thread which began with the question, ‘Do I know what a woman is?’, Mordaunt replied:
“I am biologically a woman. If I have a hysterectomy or a mastectomy, I’m still a woman. And I am legally a woman. Some people who were born male and have gone through the gender recognition process are also legally female. This does NOT mean that they are biological women, like me.
“During my tenure at @GEOgovUK I have challenged trans orthodoxy with real and genuine concern, particularly the volume of girls being referred to trans services. I set up this survey.
“On sport, I brought this up years ago. It was important to me because I trained alongside men in the Navy. I support a science-based approach. @uk_sport did a great job as did @sharrond62 @Daley_thompson and others. Biology is extremely important.
“I was the one who changed maternity legislation written in gender neutral language (by another) to use female terms. I have also defended freedom of expression on these issues.
In a meeting last week, Attorney General Suella Braverman, who is also in the running for leadership, said:
“We need to get rid of all this Woke garbage and come back to a country where describing a man and a woman in terms of biology doesn’t mean you’re going to lose your job.”
It comes after she recently clarified that schools are not legally obligated to address transgender students by their preferred pronouns or allow them access to spaces for the opposite sex. She described JK Rowling as one of her “heroines”.
But perhaps the candidate with the most enthusiasm when it comes to exposing gender ideology is the former equality minister and rising star Kemi Badenoch. In the final days of Boris Johnson’s government – despite hostile opposition from officials – she successfully pushed through reforms to ensure that all new public buildings have separate bathrooms for women and men. Her too defended former University of Sussex professor Kathleen Stock when she was canceled by trans activists last year, saying her view that people cannot change their biological sex was likely “in line with the majority of the population”. In an article for the Time as part of her campaign launch, she emphasized “telling people the truth”.
Badenoch has Allison Bailey’s supporter, the lawyer and co-founder of LGB Alliance who sued LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall and its legal chambers for discrimination because of her gender views in 2020.
In a Tweeter of support, she wrote:
“Tory MPs would do well to select @KemiBadenoch as the next Tory leader. She understands the urgency and importance of standing firm on the gender-based rights of women and girls and is quite impressive. She is the Conservatives’ best hope of securing a victory over Labor in the next GE.
Some commentators have unsurprisingly accused Conservative leadership candidates of making their comments to score political points, but the interesting point is that they believe their critical views on gender (whether genuinely held or not) are common enough that people support them. them about it.
In Forstater’s words, “the tide is turning.”
The British are beginning to realize the evils of gender ideology and the fact that women’s rights are inextricably linked to biological reality. It is because of women like Forstater that it is even a problem in the UK leadership bid, and that individuals and organizations are now more comfortable speaking up. His case was capital. As a commenter notedin ‘[ensuring] gender beliefs are protected by law, [her case] played a role in creating a space for these discussions to take place”.
We watch with hope these developments in the UK as women like Maya Forstater, JK RowlingAllison Bailey, Keira Bell, Kathleen Stock, Julie Bindel, Suzanne Moore, Helen Joyce, Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch and so many others (!) continue – despite a continuous barrage of threats and abuse – to defend the biological reality and the rights of women based on sex. And we look to some of the incredible women who are fighting the same good fight in Australia, knowing that it’s only a matter of time before the dominoes start falling here too.
Rachael Wong is the CEO of Women’s Forum Australia
Do you have something to add ? Join the discussion and comment below.