Labour MP Marsha de Cordova joins JK Rowling in celebrating ‘gender-critical’ campaigner’s legal win

A side by side image of Labour MP Marsha de Cordova wearing a dark top with her hair in braids and Harry Potter author JK Rowling wearing a blue dress with sequins along the seems and a matching cape with her hair styled in an updo

Labour MP Marsha de Cordova has joined JK Rowling in commending “gender-critical” campaigner Maya Forstater for her employment tribunal win.

Tax researcher Maya Forstater won tribunal claims for direct discrimination and victimisation over her “gender-critical” views on Wednesday (6 July).

She made a complaint against the Center for Global Development’s (CGD), where she worked as a contractor, after it declined to offer her an employment contract or renew her visiting fellowship following complaints about her anti-trans tweets.

The London Central Employment Tribunal unanimously upheld Forstater’s complaint of direct discrimination in respect to this. The judgement also ruled in favour of Forstater’s claim of victimisation over her profile being removed from the Center for Global Development’s (CGD) website.

Other claims of harassment and indirect discrimination were dismissed alongside another complaint of victimisation because the organisation withdrew an offer to engage with her as a consultant. 

Gender-critical activists celebrated the ruling were joined by Labour MP Marsha de Cordova, a former shadow equalities secretary, who simply wrote “Congratulations Maya x”.

JK Rowling, whose previous tweets about Forstater’s case catapulted it into the national conscience, described Forstater as a “warrior” and said other people who hold “gender critical beliefs” are “freer and safer” after the tribunal ruling.

“Every woman who’s been harassed, silenced, bullied or lost employment because of her gender critical beliefs is freer and safer today, thanks to the warrior that is [Maya Forstater],” Rowling wrote. 

The Harry Potter author has long supported Forstater’s fight for anti-trans, gender-critical beliefs to be protected by equalities law. They were even pictured hugging each other at a boozy lunch

De Cordova’s support came as more of a surprise. Many called her out on Twitter noting that she has vocally supported the LGBTQ+ community in the past, even recently sharing a Pride message.

The Labour MP quit her role on the opposition frontbench as shadow women and equalities minister in September 2021. She wrote on Twitter that the decision was made with “much sadness” as it had been her “immense privilege”.

While in the role, she said that Tory equalities secretary Liz Truss “disgracefully let the transgender community down” by failing to reform the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), the benchmark of gender recognition law in Britain.

She also insisted that the Labour Party remained firmly committed to rolling out self-ID for trans people – though her support for the matter has been spotty.

Responding to the tribunal ruling, Maya Forstater claimed her tribunal win matters for people who believe in the “importance of truth and free speech” as well as her so-called “gender-critical” views.

“We are all free to believe whatever we wish,” Forstater wrote. “What we are not free to do is compel others to believe the same thing, to silence those who disagree with us or to force others to deny reality.”

Amanda Glassman, CEO of CGD Europe and executive vice president of CGD, said the thinktank is “reviewing” the employment tribunal’s judgement and is considering its “next steps”. 

“CGD’s primary aim has always been to uphold our values and maintain a workplace and an environment that is welcoming, safe, and inclusive to all, including trans people,” Glassman wrote.

Remedies will be determined at a later date.