NWCI and freedom of speech

 

Sir, – Sandra Adams (Letters, June 14th) draws attention to the fact that Amnesty Ireland signed an open letter written by TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland) calling on politicians and the media to “no longer provide legitimate representation” for people with gender critical views.

People with gender critical views believe that sex is binary and immutable and that transgender ideology is in direct conflict with the rights of women and children.

The irony of Amnesty demanding that people with these views be denied representation is not lost on anybody – but it needs to be put on the record that the National Women’s Council of Ireland also signed the letter in support of silencing gender critical opinion.

Maya Forstater’s case has clarified that her gender critical beliefs are a protected characteristic. Those who hold and express those beliefs are protected from discrimination. Maya Forstater’s solicitor Peter Daly said of the judgment, “It is a comprehensive reminder of the liberal principles of freedom of speech and thought that underpin our democracy.”

The decision of the tribunal will have significant implications for Ireland. Does the NWCI still believe a person who holds gender critical views should be suppressed and denied representation? Or does it agree with the tribunal that confirms a person’s right to express their belief that biology is real? Does it uphold or oppose our rights to freedom of speech and thought?

The women who have been denied both by the NWCI want answers. – Yours, etc,

HELEN POSTMA,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Across the sea in the UK, a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal found that having “gender critical” views is protected in law. This case was brought by a woman, Maya Forstater, as she was defending the view that biological sex is real after losing her job.

After the judgment, Ms Forstater’s solicitor made a statement “institutions that might have been expected to support women’s political organisation have been almost without exception conspicuous either by their absence, or by their active hostility”.

He brought a spotlight on Amnesty Ireland: “Amnesty Ireland went furthest of all by putting its name to a statement calling for people with Gender Critical beliefs to be ‘denied legitimate political representation’. Even typing that sentence feels implausible. Maya Forstater’s success demonstrates the irrelevance of these institutions. They are at risk of redundancy”.

But Amnesty Ireland was not alone in calling for women with gender critical views to have their right to representation removed.

Our very own National Women’s Council of Ireland also signed the letter calling for our rights to be removed, as did many other organisations.

The NWCI is in receipt of State funding. Does a State-funded body really have the right to call for the removal of rights from women who believe in the reality of biological sex?

Does the NWCI really have the right to abandon women because they do not share the same beliefs as the NWCI? – Yours, etc,

SARAH ANDERSON,

Newcastle,

Co Wicklow.