VICTORY: Woman fired for ‘transphobic’ tweets wins unfair dismissal case in Norway

A woman in Norway, who was fired for supposedly transphobic tweets, has won her unfair dismissal case after the court ruled that the statements she made were not transphobic.

Rianne Vogels was fired in March 2022 from her position as head of strategy and finance at a small NGO after her employer received a complaint about her social media activity, which included a tweet critical of experimental child sex changes.

Papillon, a non-profit organization serving youth from cross-cultural or migrant backgrounds, informed Vogels that her statements and perspectives were not “compatible” with the organisation’s “values of diversity, equality, and inclusion,” and that they were considered “harmful” to the work Papillon does. Vogel’s employment was terminated just weeks later.

But in the May 8 ruling, the court declared Vogels’s dismissal to be invalid.

“The court does not find that the statements made by Vogels on Twitter are transphobic,” reads a Google translate version of the ruling.

The judgment went on to acknowledge that some of Vogels’s activity on Twitter could have given the impression that “she is generally negative towards trans people,” but the “court nevertheless finds it clear that the statements made by Vogels on Twitter will, in principle, be well within the framework of freedom of expression.”

“The statements will generally be unproblematic for most employers, and will not constitute a breach of the duty of loyalty towards the employer,” the ruling continued.

Vogels’s was reported to her employer by an individual called Ron Scofield. Scofield informed Papillon that Vogels had joined Gettr, which he described as a “social media platform made by Jason Miller, a former Donald Trump aide and sadly contains multiple instances of racism, and it is fair to say it has a strong anti-multicultural streak, including hatred of Muslims.”

Scofield further accused Vogels of associating “transgender persons with crime and sexual deviancy,” and “ridiculing young women” with a tweet critical of adolescent sex changes.

"Transition gives girls & young women unprecedented opportunities to 'lean in' literally one of the guys, a brand, merch, medications, surgeries just for you. *may lead to sterility, sexual dysfunction, lifelong hormone dependency, + complications, nah not literally," Vogels tweeted on Feb 6, 2022, one day before Scofield reported her.

However, the court did find that tweets referring to transgender people as fetishists were “derogatory,” but still well within the limits of freedom of expression.

“She retweets posts that refer to trans people as fetishists, and writes herself that claims of victimhood are part of the fetish. According to the court's assessment, the mention of trans people, and being a trans person, as a fetish, must be considered derogatory,” reads the ruling.

Autogynephilia is a paraphilia, or fetish, in which a man is aroused by the image of himself as a woman. The term, which literally means “love of oneself as a woman,” was coined by sexologist Ray Blanchard in the 1980s. According to Blanchard, the majority of men seeking medical sex changes are autogynephilic.

The court acknowledged that Papillon could have been negatively affected by Vogels’s social media activity, but did not find that the organisation had sufficiently explained how her behaviour was in conflict with her employer’s interests.

“Overall, it is the court's assessment that it did not appear clear to Vogels that her statements on Twitter were contrary to Papillon's interests, and could be negative for the organisation's work. But the court finds that she should understand that her statements about gender identity could have meaning for Papillon, and that Papillon could easily be identified with her own opinions. In such a context, Vogels should have been more careful with how she expressed herself on Twitter,” said the judgment.

But “the court considers that Vogels' statements were not of such a nature that they constituted lasting damage to Papillon's work.”

Maya Forstater was called as a witness in support of Vogels. Forstater was a British tax consultant who was fired for expressing gender critical beliefs on social media.

Forstater lost her initial 2019 employment tribunal case, but went on to win a landmark ruling at the Court of Appeal in 2021 that enshrined gender critical beliefs as protected in law after the judge found her criticism of gender identity ideology to be “worthy of respect in a democratic society.”

In Canada, the disciplinary hearing of a British Columbia nurse also under investigation for allegedly transphobic off-duty activity is still ongoing. The British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives received two complaints about Amy Hamm's social media activity, one from a trans activist and the other person remains anonymous. Neither complainant was a patient of Hamm's and in her ten years practicing as a nurse, Hamm has never had a complaint lodged against her. There have been ten days of hearings so far and at least a further eight days are scheduled for the autumn. Hamm faces the loss of her nursing license for her participation in the gender debate.

Image: Title: Rianne Vogels