Incompatible with human dignity

Kathleen Stock on the judge’s ruling in Maya Forstater’s case:

Today, an UK employment tribunal judge ruled that the belief that biological sex is immutable, and that it is impossible to change one’s sex, is “incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others”.

He writes: “I do not accept the Claimant’s contention that the Gender Recognition Act produces a mere legal fiction. It provides a right, based on the assessment of the various interrelated convention rights, for a person to transition, in certain circumstances, and thereafter to be treated for all purposes as the being of the sex to which they have transitioned.” Please note: all purposes. The judge has therefore apparently ruled that there are no contexts whatsoever in which it may be permissibly denied that a person with a gender recognition certificate is the sex they say they are.

In other words in the UK people are required by law to agree that men are women if they say they are.

This judge has concluded that nothing illegal happened when Maya Forstater lost employment at the Centre for Global Development for stating these beliefs. The precedent is now set, and a message sent to UK employees: don’t express the view that people can’t change sex. Your job will not be protected if you do.

That is, for stating beliefs that contravene the judge’s ruling.

As I say, I am a professor of philosophy and I share Maya’s belief. I think it is perfectly true. My grounds are summarised in this short article. I have also written about why this belief qualifies as a philosophical belief.

I too share the belief that biological sex is immutable and that it is impossible to change it. In addition I believe that humans can’t become giraffes or geckos or hummingbirds. Go ahead, fire me.

Over the past year and a half, I have encountered many academics and public figures who have scornfully dismissed my and others’ claims that women, in particular, are losing their legal capacity to discuss what they see as their distinctive nature and interests, in certain important political contexts. This is happening because of well-funded lobbying groups like Stonewall, and their incredible reach on institutions and employers (including Universities).

We all know it’s the mantra, the mandatory imposed enforced mantra: trans women are women, trans women are women, trans women are women. It’s forbidden to deny or question that, and punishment for doing so is instant and harsh. This is ironic because women have never enjoyed that kind of swift and forceful solidarity, but for men who decide they are women it’s there at the flip of a switch. It’s almost as if men get better treatment than women do, and that remains true even after they decide they are women, it remains true even as they bully women for not agreeing that they are women just as the women they are bullying are, only better. Can you say “entitlement”?

Stonewall explicitly yet tendentiously interpret the Equality Act as saying that organisations should allow transwomen into every single space where women are present, and into every single resource already specially devoted to women.

Because trans women are women, trans women are women, trans women are women. Now do you understand?

Kathleen calls on philosophers to stand up.

I therefore call upon the British Philosophical Association, all learned Philosophical societies in the UK, and all British academic philosophers working in UK departments, to stand up and say out loud — or better, write it down where members of the public can read it: people should be legally permitted to believe that biological sex is immutable and cannot be changed, without fear of losing their jobs. You are philosophers. This is your moment. If not now, then when?

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