Update: Landmark Case Bans Christian Teacher for Misgendering a Transgender Pupil

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: May 23, 2023

On May 23rd, a ruling by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) in the UK banned Christian Joshua Sutcliffe from teaching altogether, after he failed to treat his pupils "with dignity and respect" by misgendering a transgender boy. This case is the first of its kind in the UK and has become international news. It goes back to 2017, when the former maths teacher at the Cherwell School in Oxford, said "well done girls" to a group of girls, where one was a transgender boy - and he later apologized. Sutcliffe was later also accused of inappropriately sharing his Christian beliefs.

Mr Sutcliffe (33), taught at The Cherwell School in Oxford, where he failed to use the preferred pronoun in class back in 2017 - he said this was unintentional and apologised.

The TRA has held a number of allegations, including that Sutcliffe showed pupils at an Islington school a video about masculinity that claimed men in today's society were not masculine enough. Other claims were made that he encouraged pupils at another school to watch a video about false prophets, but these were "not proven". The TRA also claims that Mr Sutcliffe "expressed views to pupils on the wrongfulness of equal marriage and/or homosexuality".

He was also accused for his appearance on ITV's This Morning TV Show in 2017, where he discussed the issue with the transgender student. The TRA said, although he did not use the child's name, other pupils at the school could have known who he was referring "where this was not previously common knowledge".

Mr Sutcliffe is an evangelical Christian, he defended himself by saying that the misgendering was unintentional and he apologized, and that the comments he had made about homosexuality had been during Bible class. Mr Sutcliffe's lawyer argued "that Pupil A did not have the protected characteristic of gender reassignment, and that there is no legal requirement to use preferred pronouns". Sutcliffe has said he will appeal to the ruling.

After the verdict, Sutcliffe said he was devastated and added: "I believe affirming children in gender confusion in the classroom is psychologically damaging for them. I refuse to go against my conscience and cause a child harm and refuse to apologise for that."


Sources: Daily MailExpress UK, TelegraphBBCOIDAC Europe (2021)GOV RulingLBC

Picture from Christian Concern