United Kingdom

Mother sues Lib Dems after she was banned from standing as an MP after being labelled transphobic

A mother of two is suing the Liberal Democrats after she was barred from running for Parliament for saying transgender women are not women. 

Natalie Bird, 40, was banned from the party office for 10 years after a complaint about her wearing a T-shirt saying 'Woman: Adult, Human, Female'.

Ms Bird, who escaped an abusive partner, previously faced allegations of transphobia in 2018 when trans woman Zoe O'Connell allegedly complained about her suggesting women refuges should be segregated based on biological sex rather than chosen gender.

A disciplinary hearing found no evidence of transphobia at the time but she lost her position as chairwoman of the Radical Association after a vote of no confidence.

And a second probe has now seen her banned from standing as an MP in Wakefield, Yorkshire, after she wore the T-shirt.

Natalie Bird is suing the Liberal Democrats after she was barred from running for Parliament in Wakefield, Yorkshire, for saying transgender women are not women

Ms Bird, 40, was banned from the party office for 10 years after a complaint about her wearing a T-shirt saying 'Woman: Adult, Human, Female'. Ms Bird previously faced allegations of transphobia in 2018 when trans woman Zoe O'Connell (left) allegedly complained about her suggesting women refuges should be segregated based on biological sex rather than chosen gender

Her accusers said she was 'disseminating transphobic material over a prolonged time' and she was banned from seeking office for a decade.

Now she has launched legal action against the party for discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, claiming she was 'hounded' by trans activists.

Ms Bird told The Telegraph: 'There has been a witch hunt against me because I've got these viewpoints, it is rather sinister.

Mother-of-two law student, 29, is cleared of misconduct by university after saying 'women have vaginas' during seminar on transgender issues 

A mother-of-two law student who was investigated by university chiefs after saying 'women have vaginas' has today been cleared of misconduct.

Mature student Lisa Keogh, 29, was hauled before a disciplinary panel at the University of Abertay in Dundee after her comments made during a seminar on transgender issues were reported to tutors by her classmates. 

But after a two month probe, which took place while she underwent her final year exams, the university's disciplinary board has decided not to uphold the misconduct charge against her. 

Today Ms Keogh hit out at the university for subjecting her to what she described as  a 'cruel modern day witch hunt' due to her 'gender critical views'.

The university deny Ms Keogh was put through the disciplinary procedure because of her 'personal opinions'.

In a comment, sent to MailOnline, a 'victorious' Ms Keogh said: 'As overjoyed as I am about this decision, I am saddened that I went through this at such a critical time in my university career. 

'The very end of my period at Abertay is now tarnished with these bad memories.

'I know the university has a duty to investigate all complaints, but to draw this process out for two months while I was taking my final exams was needlessly cruel.

'I always knew the complaints made against me were groundless and now the Student Disciplinary Board has confirmed that. 

'I was targeted because of my gender critical views – it was a modern day witch hunt.'

She said during the seminar that women were born with female genitals and the difference in physical strength between men and women 'was a fact'.  

'Within day to day life I've got trans friends, and if you've got somebody who wants to be treated as a woman socially, I believe everybody should do that, be polite and give them their preferred name. 

'But that does not automatically mean that you become a woman.'

The Liberal Democrats said: 'The party is currently carrying out multiple internal investigations involving Natalie Bird. 

'As such, we cannot comment further until the investigations are complete.' 

She said the complaint against her in 2018 was a smear by Ms O'Connel. Ms O’Connell denied all knowledge of the case and that she was the complainant at the time. 

Ms Bird told The Times: 'Their tactics seems to be the same as those used by abusive men: they play the victim publicly then privately try to do everything they can to control how others see you. 

'They try to take away your voice and self-worth and then if that doesn't work, threaten suicide. They built a smear campaign against me, shutting me out of Facebook groups, no-platforming me and silencing my concerns.

'Standing up for the rights of vulnerable women is nothing I should be ashamed of. The lack of freedom of speech and freedom of thought on this issue is frankly terrifying.'

Ms Bird has received backing from a tax expert who lost her job after claiming people cannot change their biological sex won her appeal against an employment tribunal.

Maya Forstater's contract was not renewed in March 2019 after she posted Tweets opposing government proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act to allow people to identify as the opposite sex.

The Central London Employment Tribunal had originally upheld the dismissal following the posts.

In March, Ms Forstater Tweeted: 'Natalie Bird was suspended from the Lib Dems for refusing to recite the Trans Women are Women Credo. 

'Help her take her case to court.'

But on Thursday a High Court judge said the original tribunal had 'erred in law', but added: 'This judgment does not mean that those with gender-critical beliefs can 'misgender' trans persons with impunity.'

Finding in favour of Ms Forstater, Mr Justice Choudhury said her views 'may well be profoundly offensive and even distressing', but said they 'must be tolerated in a pluralist society'.

Ms Forstater, 47, who worked as a tax expert at the Centre for Global Development (CGD), an international think tank that campaigns against poverty and inequality, took her case to an employment tribunal on the grounds that her dismissal constituted discrimination against her beliefs. 

Reacting to the landmark judgement, Ms Forstater said she was 'incredibly proud' and insisted the ruling will protect women's rights in the workplace.

Amanda Glassman, Chief Executive Officer of CGDE and Executive Vice President of CGD, said: 'The decision is disappointing and surprising because we believe Judge Tayler got it right when he found this type of offensive speech causes harm to trans people, and therefore could not be protected under the Equality Act.

'Today's decision is a step backwards for inclusivity and equality for all. We're currently considering the various paths forward with our lawyers.'

The employment tribunal had upheld the dismissal after judge James Tayler described her beliefs as 'not worthy of respect in a democratic society'.

Her case gained national attention after Harry Potter author JK Rowling voiced her support, and said she disagreed with the tribunal's decision to throw out her discrimination claim.

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