A teacher from England appears to have committed a transgression when speaking to an 8-year-old transgender student, as he “misgendered” the pupil and now faces a disciplinary hearing. His offense is referring to a transgender boy as a girl. He says that gender fluidity “conflicts sharply with (his) religious beliefs.” The teacher has already been suspended for six weeks as a result of his alleged “misconduct for misgendering.”
Update (December 2017): Professor Sutcliffe has slapped the Oxfordshire school with a lawsuit, describing its equality policies as “totalitarian,” according to a report from Metro UK. Sutcliffe said in a written statement that, “I regret that our relations have reached this point, but I feel I have no choice but to bring legal proceedings against you without further notice.”
So, how did this pronoun-based offense go down? Look away now if you’re squeamish about obvious microaggressions…
Math teacher Joshua Sutcliffe, 27, is in hot water for saying “well done, girls” to two students, one of which was the transgendered pupil. The incident went down at Oxfordshire secondary school. Sutcliffe has apologized to the student he offended. However, he still faces a disciplinary hearing this week, and may be charged with misconduct for misgendering, according to the Evening Standard.
Sutcliffe also works as a church pastor and says that the idea of “gender fluidity” conflicts with his Christian beliefs. He said in an interview with BBC News that, “While the suggestion that gender is fluid conflicts sharply with my Christian beliefs… I have never looked to impose my convictions on others.”
The mother of the transgendered boy complained to the school about the teacher’s offensive wording. He was suspended for six weeks following her complaint.
According to the Daily Mail, Sutcliffe doesn’t believe it’s wrong or unreasonable to refer to a person by their birth gender.
When approached by reporters, the Oxfordshire school told BBC that it would be “inappropriate” to comment on their investigation into the teacher’s conduct.
According to a BBC report, more than 2,000 children, ages three to 18 were referred to a gender identity specialist in the U.K. last year.
The news of Sutcliffe’s suspension comes after similar stories were revealed in the U.S., relating to in-school offenses against transgendered students. Recently, an 8-year-old transgender student and her parents sued a California school for not allowing the student to expression her gender identity. That student was born a boy and now identifies as a female. Meanwhile, in New York, another set of parents are suing a school for creating a hostile environment for their 5-year-old kid.