A math teacher has been fired from his job after repeatedly refusing to use a student’s preferred gender pronouns. Kevin Lister, 59, was forced out of his job by a school in Swindon, England after he said he would not refer to a 17-year-old biologically female student using “he” and “him” pronouns without first obtaining her parent’s permission. The math teacher had had taught students for 18 years without any issues is now taking legal action against the school for unfair dismissal. Lister accused his former employers of peddling a “witch hunt” against him and said he was concerned about the student being subjected to a “dangerous transgender ideology”.
As young people are now often encouraged to undergo lifechanging and harmful surgeries and procedures as soon as they exhibit any kind of gender dysphoria, Lister said that he felt the “out of the blue” request by the student to change her pronouns could have meant she was being pushed to undergo radical and irreversible changes.
Lister had refused to comply with the teen’s request to refer to her as a male in his classes and said he wanted to check with her parents before he did so. “I wanted at least to make sure that my student had parental support and was making an informed decision,” he said. “As a parent myself, I would have been furious if my child had taken this step and I hadn’t been told anything.” But Lister was approached by officials at the school who left him “gobsmacked” as they told him that it was against their policy to inform parents about student’s gender identity without obtaining the permission of the teenager in question first.
“I ended up pointing to her as politely as I could to avoid either dead-naming her or supporting transition without parental consent.” The same student who had asked Lister to use male pronouns had wanted to enter a female math competition a few weeks later, prompting her teacher to write her name on the board. “I put the names of the students on the board who wanted to take part and I put her name up on the board as being a female’s name to enter a female math competition.”
Shortly after this, numerous students complained that Lister had been transphobic, and he was suspended and removed from the school. During a disciplinary hearing last month, the school accused the teacher of “transphobic discrimination” and “harassment” for failing to use the teenager’s preferred pronouns. “We acknowledge that you are entitled to your beliefs, however, it is my view that your treatment of [the student] violated his dignity,” said the school.
The case has gained attention from British members of Parliament and has sparked debate on social media. While some suggested that telling the teen’s parents could cause her problems at home, others have argued against allowing children to randomly change their pronouns without mentioning the issue to his or her parents, who could provide their child with vital mental help.
Conservative Party MP for the region, Danny Kruger said “I am very concerned that a school agreed to affirm a child’s transgender identity without parental consent,” while Cons. Home Secretary, Suella Braverman confirmed that children under 18 cannot legally change their identity in Britain and that no law made it compulsory for schools to use ‘preferred’ pronouns.