Scout leaders apologise to woman backed by J. K. Rowling who was hounded for two years after inadvertently calling a bearded transgender scout leader ‘he’ on social media
- Maya Forstater inadvertently called transgender scout leader ‘he’ and not ‘they’
- An inquiry found that Miss Forstater had brought the organisation into disrepute
- Miss Forstater said that the complaint by Gregor Murray was ‘vexatious’
- It came after Miss Forstater raised concerns about Scouts’ transgender policy
The Scout Association has apologised to a campaigner after investigating her for two years for ‘misgendering’ someone on Twitter.
Assistant cub scout leader Maya Forstater inadvertently called a bearded transgender scout leader ‘he’ rather than ‘they’ in 2019.
This prompted an inquiry, which found Miss Forstater had brought the organisation into disrepute.
Miss Forstater, who runs the group Sex Matters and who has been praised by JK Rowling, said the complaint by Gregor Murray was ‘vexatious’
Now the Scouts have issued an apology, saying she ‘did not deliberately misgender the complainant in order to cause harm’ and that she ‘did not spread lies about them’.
Miss Forstater, who runs the group Sex Matters and who has been praised by JK Rowling, said the complaint by Gregor Murray was ‘vexatious’.
It came after she raised concerns about the Scouts’ transgender policy.
She added: ‘The whole process has been bullying from start to finish. They didn’t interview me. They ignored my evidence. They made things up I hadn’t done.’
A spokesman for the Scouts said: ‘It is inappropriate for us to comment further on a case that has been closed.’
Assistant cub scout leader Maya Forstater inadvertently called a bearded transgender scout leader ‘he’ rather than ‘they’ in 2019
The investigation dates back to 2019, when Miss Forstater raised concerns on Facebook about the Scouts’ transgender policy, which she said would mean an end to separate spaces, such as sleeping facilities, for girls.
She got into a Twitter conversation with Mr Murray, a scout leader from Dundee, to whom she referred using the pronoun ‘he’ instead of Murray’s preferred ‘they’.
Murray complained to the Scout Association. Miss Forstater responded that the ‘misgendering’ was not intentional, and that the complaint was vexatious and intended to bully her and deter leaders in the Scouts from discussing issues relating to the organisation’s transgender policy.
At the same time, Miss Forstater was going through an employment tribunal case after her contract was not renewed when she claimed people could not change their biological sex.
The original judge used the issue of the Scouts misgendering as part of his judgment that her views were ‘not worthy of respect in a democratic society’.
It was this judgment which led to JK Rowling tweeting in support of Miss Forstater two years ago. This judgment was overturned on appeal over the summer.
The Scout Association finally issued an apology on Friday, saying: ‘The evidence that you provided in response to the complaint, to demonstrate that it was vexatious was not considered at the appropriate time by the Scout Association.
‘If it had been, the complaint may well have been found to have been vexatious.
‘In any case it is clear you did not deliberately misgender the complainant in order to cause harm and did not spread lies and misinformation about them, as alleged in their complaint about you.
‘The Scout Association therefore apologises for the experience you have encountered through this process which has gone on for over two years.’
Miss Forstater said: ‘I am glad this part is over. I loved being a Scout leader but I have left the Scouts because I did not feel proud to wear the uniform anymore after the way they treated me.
‘They allowed Gregor Murray to use their complaints process to bully me for speaking up about safeguarding. It is part of a wider problem that the Scout Association has. I hope they will face up to it.
‘It is hard to believe that the thing people are most concerned about is respecting pronouns when you are talking about whether male people can be allowed to invade the space where women are naked and vulnerable.
‘What about the intimidating, hostile and degrading environment this creates for women and girls?’
She added: ‘JK Rowling has been amazing. Two years ago she shone a light on what happened to me and is happening to thousands of women.
‘Despite all of the threats and harassment she hasn’t wavered. Her public support and bravery led more people to speak up.’
A spokesman for the Scouts said: ‘We are aware of this case. This matter has taken some time to resolve but has now been concluded. It is inappropriate for us to comment further on a case that has been closed.’
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