The National Health Service in the United Kingdom fired a Christian doctor who refused to identify transgender patients by their chosen pronouns.
David Mackereth, who worked for the NHS for 26 years, told the Telegraph that the British government denied him his rights to freedom of speech based on his faith.
Mackereth had been training to become a health and disability assessor for the Department for Work and Pensions when the instructor stated that all clients and patients interviewed and reported on must be addressed by their preferred gender.
“I said that I had a problem with this. I believe that gender is defined by biology and genetics. And that as a Christian the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female. I could have kept my mouth shut. But it was the right time to raise it," Mackereth told the Telegraph. “The tutor took me aside and said he had passed my comments up the chain to the DWP.”
The father of four from Dudley in the West Midlands said he believes gender is determined at birth.
“I’m not attacking the transgender movement. But, I’m defending my right to freedom of speech, and freedom of belief," Mackareth said. “I don’t believe I should be compelled to use a specific pronoun. I am not setting out to upset anyone. But, if upsetting someone can lead to doctors being sacked then, as a society we have to examine where we are going.”
What did the government say?
Mackereth received an email from his employer, Advanced Personnel Management, that offered him an opportunity to have training regarding its transgender policy, the Telegraph reported.
It said that noncompliance with the policy toward transgender persons “could be considered to be harassment as defined by the 2010 Equality Act."
The doctor said he could not conform to the rule "in good conscience."
What else did the doctor say?
Mackereth told the Telegraph that he's concerned other professionals could lose their jobs based on their religious beliefs.
Firstly, we are not allowed to say what we believe. Secondly, as my case shows, we are not allowed to think what we believe. Finally, we are not allowed to defend what we believe.
By stating what has been believed by mankind for centuries — namely that gender and sex are determined at birth — you can come under ferocious attack.
If we are no longer allowed to say that you believe sex and gender are the same and are determined at birth, everyone who holds my views can be sacked on the spot under this Act. I’m not an isolated case.
What did the DWP say?
The Equality Act states that it is against the law to discriminate against someone for a “protected characteristic,” such as gender reassignment, a DWP spokeswoman told the Telegraph.
“We expect all assessors to handle assessments sensitively and adhere to the Equality Act 2010,” she said.
APM declined the Telegraph's request for comment.