Campaigners called the decision a victory for free speech, while the accused claimed police were being used to ‘enforce a political ideology’.
The hearing at Basildon Magistrates’ Court in Essex last Friday brought into sharp focus the complex and often rancorous divisions within the transgender community.
On one side was Yardley, an accountant, who describes himself as a transsexual and identifies as a man, even though he underwent gender reassignment to become a woman ten years ago.
Despite his own experience, his contention is that individuals cannot change sex – and this has drawn fierce criticism on social media.
Giving evidence via video link was his accuser, Helen Islan, who is married with children and works with the trans advocacy group Mermaids, which campaigns for children who want to change gender.