JK Rowling has come out in support of a researcher sacked in a landmark case after tweeting transgender people cannot change their biological sex.
Maya Forstater lost her job in March after she posted tweets opposing government proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to identify as the opposite sex.
Ms Forstater, 45, who worked as a tax expert at the Centre for Global Development, an international think tank campaigning against poverty and inequality, took her case to an employment tribunal on the grounds her dismissal was discrimination against her beliefs.
Employment Judge James Tayler dismissed her claim saying her views are “absolutist in her view of sex” and “incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights of others.”
Responding to the ruling, Harry Potter author Rowling tweeted: “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?”
She added the hashtags #IStandWithMaya and #ThisIsNotADrill.
Rowling’s name trended on Twitter prompting debate.
Many people claimed Rowling is a “transphobe”, and the phrase “JK Rowling is a Terf” – referring to the term trans-exclusionary radical feminist – also trended on the platform.
A Terf describes feminists expressing ideas other feminists consider transphobic, including trans women are not women.
However, others welcomed the author’s comment, with many joining her in using the hashtag #IStandWithMaya.
Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Sharron Davies, MBE, tweeted: “The Sex we are Is a biological reality. A scientific fact. Where as Gender today is a social construct, an ideology, a feeling, totally changeable. I believe we cannot change sex but can Live happily expressing ourselves outside of any stereotypes.
Ms Forstater has raised £83,000 via crowdfunding for her legal fees and is considering appealing the judgement.
Judge Tayler concluded Ms Forstater was not entitled to ignore the legal rights of a transgender person and the “enormous pain that can be caused by misgendering a person”.
The dispute was a test case on whether a “gender critical” view – a belief there are only two biological sexes – is a protected “philosophical belief” under the 2010 Equality Act.
Ms Forstater argued “framing the question of transgender inclusion as an argument that male people should be allowed into women’s spaces discounts women’s rights to privacy and is fundamentally illiberal (it is like forcing Jewish people to eat pork)”.