A doctor in the United Kingdom, David Mackereth, was allegedly sacked by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) for refusing to address transgender people by their preferred pronouns. He has now taken the government to an Employment Tribunal claiming that his religious beliefs were discriminated against.
The Doctor, a devout Christian, claims that he was sacked after a dispute arose with his manager over “my refusal to make an abstract ideological pledge to call any six-feet tall bearded man ‘madam’ on his whim.” He stated further, “Throughout this process, I kept stressing that my objection to that misuse of pronouns was based on my Christian beliefs and conscience.”
Mackereth told the Tribunal that his manager, James Owen, asked him in May 2018, “If you have a man six foot tall with a beard who says he wants to be addressed as ‘she’ and ‘Mrs’, would you do that?” The trained theologian and “unashamed” evangelical Christian answered the question in the negative following which he was told that it was “overwhelmingly likely” he would lose his job if he doesn’t change his beliefs. He was sacked the next month.
In a statement, he told the Court, “The very fact a doctor can be pulled off the shop floor for an urgent interrogation about his beliefs on gender fluidity is both absurd and very sinister, even more so if it results in a dismissal. If something like that happened in a church setting — people being pulled out of a pew, questioned, and then excommunicated — that would be seen as an outrageous example of religious intolerance and bigotry.”
Mackereth further stated, “I appreciate that in the present political climate, some people, including some of those who believe they are transgender, may find my beliefs to be offensive. However, in a free society, this is not a good enough reason to censor my beliefs and coerce me to act contrary to my conscience. Moreover, as a doctor, my responsibility is always to act in good conscience in the best interest of the patients – not to adopt various fancies, prejudices, or delusions, to avoid offence at all cost.”
The DWP maintains that Mackereth was in violation of the Equity Act for his failure to take into account the patient’s preferences. Therefore, he was sacked from his job as Health and Disability Assessor.