JK Rowling Accused of Transphobia for Supporting Woman Who Was Fired Over 'Gender-Critical' Tweet
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"Tweetus deletus," one fan suggested.

JK Rowling found herself at the center of a fiery Twitter debate on gender identification on Thursday.

The Harry Potter came under heavy fire from people accusing her of transphobia, after she tweeted her support for a woman who was sacked for posting a gender-critical tweet.

Maya Forstater, 45, was fired from the Centre for Global Development — a London/Washington-based think tank that campaigns against poverty — after claiming that "men cannot change into women" on her personal twitter account.

She took her case to an employment tribunal, which ruled against her on Thursday, prompting the controversial post from Rowling.

"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," wrote Rowling. "But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill."

The response on twitter was instant, and equally divided, as "JK Rowling is a TERF" — Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist — began trending.

The debate was as explosive as the Battle of Hogwarts. Some, such as "Father Ted" creator Graham Linehan applauded her for what he insisted was standing up for women's rights.

But many of her fans expressed dismay and outrage at what they deemed was an anti-transgender stance. The Human Rights Campaign specifically called out Rowling with its Twitter response.

Forstater originally posted her opinion in response in reaction to UK government plans to allow people to self-identify as another gender.

On September 30th, amid a Twitter discussion, she posted: "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)".

When the Centre for Global Development decided not to renew her contract, she took the case to the employment tribunal, which became a test case on whether such "gender-critical" views — that there are only two biologically-defined sexes — were a protected philosophical belief under the UK's 2010 Equality Act.

Judge James Tayler did not think so.

In his ruling, he said that Forstater had been involved in a "very bitter" dispute with a transgender co-worker, Gregor Murray, who had accused her of misgendering them.

"Rather than seeking to accommodate Gregor Murray's legitimate wishes she stated: 'I had simply forgotten that this man demands to be referred to by the plural pronouns 'they' and 'them', Murray also calls it 'transphobic' that I recognize a man when I see one. I Disagree. In reality Murray is a man. It is Murray's right to believe that Murray is not a man, but Murray cannot compel others to believe this.'"

Judge Tayler also pointed out she said: "I reserve the right to use the pronouns 'he' and 'him' to refer to male people. While I may chose to use alternative pronouns as a courtesy, no one has the right to compel others to make statements they do not believe."

The judge went on: "If a person has transitioned from male to female and has a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), that person is legally a woman. That is not something Ms Forstater is entitled to ignore. Ms Forstater's position is that even if a trans woman has a GRC, she cannot honestly describe herself as a woman."

Judge Tayler concluded: "The claimant is absolutionist in her view of sex and it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment. The approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society."

In a statement following the ruling, Forstater expressed her shock and disbelief, which she insisted "will be shared by the vast majority of people who are familiar with my case."

"This judgment removes women's rights and the right to freedom of belief and speech. It gives judicial license for women and men who speak up for objective truth and clear debate to be subject to aggression, bullying, no-platforming and economic punishment," she said, per The Independent.

Her lawyers claimed that had she been successful, she would have established legal protection for people to express their beliefs in the workplace — on either side of the debate — without being discriminated against.

Forstater stood by her sentiments: "I accept everybody's gender identity, I just do not believe it overrides their sex. I refuse to believe human beings can change their sex," she said at the tribunal.

She added in a blog post: "I am perfectly happy to use preferred pronouns and accept everyone's humanity and right to free expression. Transwomen are transwomen. That's great. But enforcing the dogma that transwomen are women is totalitarian."

Back in March 2018, Rowling came under fire for liking a tweet calling trans women 'men in dresses'; a rep later said she accidentally liked it while holding her phone incorrectly.

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