UK teacher faces disciplinary action for misidentifying transgender student

UK teacher faces disciplinary action for misidentifying transgender student
A teacher in England faces disciplinary action after misidentifying a transgender student. The school says it takes equality and discrimination seriously. (Derek R. Henkle/Getty Images)

A teacher in England who misidentified a transgender student earlier this month is facing disciplinary action.

“Well done girls,” Joshua Sutcliffe said on Nov. 2 when he addressed a group of students that included a transgender girl who identifies as a boy, BBC News reported.

What’s the story?

Following a weeklong investigation, the teacher admitted the incident happened, but he calls it a “slip of the tongue.”

Sutcliffe, who is also a Christian pastor at Christ Revelation Church in Oxford, said he tries to avoid using gender-specific pronouns in his classroom in an effort to balance his beliefs with showing sensitivity to the student. The state academy math teacher said he generally refers to his students by name.

“While the suggestion that gender is fluid conflicts sharply with my Christian beliefs … I have never looked to impose my convictions on others,” Sutcliffe told BBC News.

Sutcliffe said he apologized to the student.

The school declined to comment, saying it would be “inappropriate.”

However, a spokesperson for the school told BBC News that it takes equality and discrimination seriously, adding there is a range of governor-approved policies in place to ensure it acts lawfully.

Sutcliffe’s hearing is set for Wednesday, BBC News reported.

What’s the rate of transgender youth in the U.K.?

More than 2,000 young people between the ages of 3 and 18 sought help with gender identity in 2016-17 through the National Health Service in England

The number of transgender youth has increased annually since 2010, according to the Gender Identity Development Service.

There is no single explanation for the increase in transgender youth, Polly Carmichael, a consultant clinical psychologist and director of GIDS, told BBC News, adding that there’s “significant progress toward the acceptance and recognition of transgender and gender diverse people in our society.”

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