The hearing of a Norwegian woman who was fired from her job with an NGO for a tweet critical of teenage girls being allowed to undergo medical sex changes got underway Tuesday.
Rianne Vogels was fired in March 2022 from her position as head of strategy and finance at Papillon, a non-profit organization serving youth from cross-cultural or migrant backgrounds, the very same day that a complaint was made about her tweet questioning child sex changes, reports 4W.
“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,” read Vogels’s tweet.
The next day, her employer received a complaint by email about Vogels’s social media activity and the matter was taken to the organization’s chair. Vogels then received a text message informing her that she was no longer employed at Papillon.
An individual called Ron Scofield had taken it upon himself to raise “concerns” about Vogels’s social media activity, which included the complaint that she “has joined Gettr, a social media platform made by Jason Miller a former Donald Trump aide,” which Scofield said “sadly contains multiple instances of racism, and it is fair to say it has a strong anti-multicultural streak, including hatred of muslims.”
Then came a screenshot of Vogels’s tweet about child sex changes, which Scofield believed was “ridiculing young women.”
“I thought her tweets and social media presence does not reflect well on the social diversity and multicultural message of Papillon,” concluded the email.
Vogels launched legal action against her employer on the grounds of unfair dismissal and the hearing got underway March 28. One witness called by her legal counsel is Maya Forstater, the 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.”
Vogels testified that she began speaking about gender identity ideology as a way to alert her employer of the implications of gender self-identification laws on women’s rights. She also explained that she had joined Gettr in order to find women who had been banned from Twitter for expressing gender critical beliefs.
“I realised that this was one of the harassing emails that those who participate in the debate about gender often receive,” she testified. “And now this is happening to me. They are sent to scare women into shutting up.”
Since Vogels was fired for questioning the practice of performing medical sex changes on teenage girls, Norway has become the fourth country to ban such interventions after a systematic review of the scientific literature revealed that the risks far outweigh any perceived benefit. Sweden, Finland, and England have already pivoted away from affirmation, drugs and surgeries for this vulnerable cohort and reverted back to a more cautious psychotherapeutic approach.
The hearing is still ongoing.