Magical gender critical belief fairy

Rachel Saunders
3 min readNov 13, 2023
Photo by Tú Nguyễn:

Have you heard the fairy tale of how Maya Forstater went to court to defend her views, and the judge agreed that her gender critical views were beliefs on par with religion? You would think that many of her followers on Twitter would be aware of this fact, because in the UK at least being gender critical is a belief system, whereas being trans is grounded in medical science. This is doubly ironic because many exclusionary feminists call out gender ideology as a cult, when the reality is that it is their views that are a belief system.

Now, I know that many of you stopped believing in fairies right around the same time as Santa, so framing gender critical beliefs as fairy tales is cheap shot at a serious attack on trans rights. As with all things dark satire is a useful tool in defanging pompous folk who get too big for their britches. Maya Forstater, Helen Joyce et al all strive to be taken seriously, yet in establishing that their views are a belief system they set themselves up for an Empress’s new clothes walk. When you scratch beneath the surface their views are rooted in hatred of trans folk, demonising a minority in a desperate search for relevance and power.

I remember reading through the Forstater appeal decision lamenting the fact that Maya won, yet there was a distinct sliver lining: all belief systems are there to be sent up and lampooned to show their inherent hollowness. By all means Maya et al are fully entitled to hold whatever beliefs they wish, but none of them are sacred cows free from critique and scrutiny. Indeed, it is the job of all reasonable folk to hold them to account first time, every time and not accept any hatred thrown at the trans community.

There is nothing inherently valuable in being gender critical, merely a deeply reactionary desire to hold all women to a biological destiny. Anyone who holds gender critical beliefs buys into this conservative world view, whereby all human experiences are fixed at the moment of conception. This is the very thing that first wave feminists fought against, the thing that all feminists fight against in protests and comedy. A woman’s body is not her prison or determined path in life, and a trans woman’s path to womanhood does not exclude her from womanhood just because a gender critical gatekeeper throws banal bromides at her.