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LGBT Foundation Responds to Judgement in the Maya Forstater Appeal

Published: 10 June 2021 Tags: By LGBT Foundation

We stand firmly with our trans and non-binary siblings today with the news of the Maya Forstater appeal. We join our colleagues at Mermaids and Stonewall to stress that this judgement is not an unreserved victory for those wishing to deny trans rights and dignity:

“This judgment does not mean that those with gender-critical beliefs can ‘misgender’ trans persons with impunity…The Claimant, like everyone else, will continue to be subject to the prohibitions on discrimination and harassment under the Equality Act 2010.”

We must highlight that the judgement has explicitly condemned misgendering trans people, any harassment of trans people, and the potential use of this decision to further transphobia. We are also encouraged by the active acknowledgement of the protection of gender reassignment under the Equality Act 2010, the specific climate of transphobia and trans-antagonism in the present time, and the necessary evolution of trans-affirming language.

However, we must also take time to reflect on how the ruling has still caused significant distress and trauma to the community. Despite the repeated and explicit references to trans dignity and respect, we are keenly aware that the current narrative around trans rights will, incorrectly, frame this decision as a right to hold harmful beliefs without consequences.

It is extremely likely that there will be an uptick in transphobia and discrimination which needs to be rebutted with action and not just words. As seen in research like the Galop Transphobic Hate Crime Report 2020, public discourse and media coverage of trans rights always has a disproportionately negative impact on the emotional and physical wellbeing of the community.

Part of this issue is the ambiguity about what constitutes harm to the community. For instance, while it is stated that this decision “does not mean, however, those with gender-critical beliefs can indiscriminately and gratuitously refer to trans persons in terms other than they would wish”, the transphobic statements cited within the judgement have, at least implicitly, been given a pass. Such contradictions undermine the inclusive spirit that the judgement aims to foster.

To reiterate, trans women ARE women, trans men ARE men, non-binary people ARE non-binary, and the only ones who can truly determine what is discriminatory should be the community itself. We recommit our love and solidarity to our trans and non-binary siblings, whose voices we will continue to uplift and defend.