“You Are a Girl” – Maths Teacher’s Dismissal Sparks Debate Over Enforcing Gender-Identity in Schools

In a contentious tribunal, a maths teacher’s dismissal for refusing to use a student’s preferred pronouns ignites debate over inclusivity, belief, and institutional policy. Here’s the full story.

Transgender Rights

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

The issue of transgender rights has become a fiercely fought battle in the United Kingdom, with the current government weaponizing the issue as part of the culture war. 

Wedge Issue

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ink Drop

With no clear policy accomplishments or direction, the Conservative government has used the issue as a wedge to differentiate itself from the opposition, with little to no care given to the lives that will be affected in the process. 

“TERF Island”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Lomb

This top-down discrimination against trans people has led to the UK being given the moniker “TERF Island,” in reference to the Trans Exclusionary Reactionary Feminism movement, which stresses the importance of biological sex over gender identity. 

Leaking Out

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rachael Warriner

This discourse has, predictably, leaked out into the wider public, with the issue of trans rights becoming a hot topic up and down the country. 

Employment Tribunal

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vitalii Vodolazskyi

This was on display recently in an employment tribunal at the Bristol Civil Justice Centre, with the dismissal of Kevin Lister, a mathematics teacher at New College Swindon. 

Preferred Pronouns

Image Credit: Shutterstock / yanishevska

Lister’s termination stemmed from his refusal to adhere to a college policy regarding a student’s preferred pronouns. 

Ongoing Backlash

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Shawn Goldberg

The whole unfortunate saga has shed light on the complexities of gender identity in educational settings in the context of the ongoing backlash against trans rights. 

Gross Misconduct

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Drazen Zigic

Lister, a 60-year-old teacher, faced allegations of gross misconduct after declining to use the preferred name and he/him pronouns of a 17-year-old student undergoing social transitioning, identified only as student A. 

Reluctance to Comply

Image Credit: Shutterstock / chayanuphol

Lister’s reluctance to comply with the students’ wishes led to his subsequent dismissal in September 2022, sparking a legal battle over claims of unfair treatment and discrimination.

“Compelled Speech”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Microgen

During the tribunal, Lister argued that acquiescing to Student A’s preferred pronouns amounted to “compelled speech,” infringing upon his and other students’ beliefs. 

Pressuring Educators

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

He contended that the college’s policy pressured educators to endorse students’ gender transitions irrespective of personal convictions, thereby overstepping the boundaries of professional obligations.

“The Demand On Me”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / GarethWilley

Lister explained his reasoning to the hearing at the Bristol Civil Justice Centre, stating, “I took issue with the demand on me to socially transition children who are unable to make an informed decision. That is the intention of the policy – to encourage children to socially transition and to push them towards transgender lobby groups.”

“Not Allowed to Question”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / A Stock Studio

He continued, “Why are we not allowed to question why a student is presenting in the opposite sex? It is not the role of a maths teacher to confirm the gender transition and social transition of a student.”

Legality of College Policies

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Zerbor

Lister raised concerns about the legality of college policies, alleging violations of the Equality Act by enforcing practices that, in his view, undermined academic integrity and disregarded dissenting perspectives. 

Coercing Conformity

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ryanzo W. Perez

He posited that such policies could coerce conformity rather than foster genuine inclusivity, leading to potential clashes between institutional guidelines and individual rights.

Refuting Claims

Image Credit: Shutterstock / create jobs 51

Representing the college, Jude Shepherd refuted Lister’s claims, asserting that policy directives promoting inclusivity did not impede staff members’ freedom to hold gender-critical beliefs. 

“Treating People With Respect”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Billion Photos

Shepherd argued that Lister’s beliefs did not stop him, or other staff members with similar beliefs, from being “inclusive and treating people with respect.”

Classroom Interactions

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff

Testimonies at the hearing revealed the peculiar way Lister navigated classroom interactions, which conflicted with his beliefs. 

Resorting to Gestures

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

Instead of using Student A’s preferred pronouns, Lister resorted to gestures, such as merely pointing at the student. 

“I Was Pointing”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Elnur

Lister attempted to explain his behaviour, stating, “I gestured. Some people would say I was pointing. I didn’t want to use her dead name, but I didn’t want to assist with her social transitioning.”

Not Clear

Image Credit: Shutterstock / AimPix

It was not clear why Lister felt it was his responsibility as a maths teacher to decide to interfere in how one of his students wanted to be addressed.

“You Are a Girl”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

Another notable exchange occurred when Student A expressed interest in participating in a girl’s math’s competition. Lister replied, “Of course, you can enter because you are a girl.”

Discomfort and Discordance

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kotin

Lister’s unwillingness to endorse the student’s self-identification underscored the discomfort and discordance in the classroom environment.

“That Was a Factual Response”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

When Shepard suggested that such a response was insensitive, Lister defended himself by saying, “No, that was a factual response. Student A is trying to subject me to compelled speech and the rest of the class to compelled speech.

“It Was Upsetting”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff

He continued, “It was upsetting for the rest of the class to be subjected to that. The rest of the class didn’t look happy – some of the students rolled their eyes.”

“Dead Name”

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Erik AJV

This incident, along with others, such as using Student A’s “dead name,” the name by which they were previously known, on the whiteboard, elicited scrutiny regarding Lister’s intentions and the ensuing impact on student well-being. 

Sensitivity and Appropriateness

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Miljan Zivkovic

While Lister claimed pragmatic reasoning for his actions, questions arose about the sensitivity and appropriateness of his responses, particularly in light of Student A’s vulnerability and emotional distress.

Weaponization of Trans Rights

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Luis Yanez

As the tribunal continues, the effect of the weaponization of trans rights is becoming all the more apparent, with gender-critical ideas flowing out into the country from the government. 

Accommodating Diverse Perspectives

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sophon Nawit

Without respect for individuals’ identities, accommodating diverse perspectives in educational settings becomes meaningless. 

Individual Rights

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tero Vesalainen

In a society that upholds individual rights as sacrosanct, it is strange that individual rights have become an issue on which the right, in particular, takes such offence. 

More Articles Like This…

Broken Britain: 12 Reasons Behind the UK’s Decline

Say the Unsayable: 10 Occasions When Farage Spoke His Mind About Britain

The post “You Are a Girl” – Maths Teacher’s Dismissal Sparks Debate Over Enforcing Gender-Identity in Schools first appeared on Edge Media.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / New Africa.

Grant Gallacher is a seasoned writer with expertise in politics and impactful daily news. His work, deeply rooted in addressing issues that resonate with a wide audience, showcases an unwavering commitment to bringing forth the stories that matter. He is also known for satirical writing and stand up comedy.

Leave a Comment