A teacher has been suspended for repeatedly referring to a transgender boy as a girl during class. Joshua Sutcliffe, 27, who teaches maths at a state school in Oxford, defended his reluctance to use male pronouns by saying it didn't adhere to his Christian faith and accused the school of having a "liberal Leftish agenda".
The school opened an investigation into Sutcliffe, who is also a pastor at an Evangelical church and has previously been accused of homophobia, after the boy's parents complained about how their son had been treated. Sutcliffe admitted to saying "well done girls" to the student and his friend when he saw them working, and could be sacked.
The boy's parents alleged that it wasn't an isolated incident – they claimed Sutcliffe was picking on their son, had misgendered him several times and that he had inappropriately raised religious issues in his maths lessons, the Mail on Sunday reported.
Sutcliffe claims to have apologised for the "well done girls" comment but has described the investigation as "political correctness gone mad". His personal belief, he told the investigation, is that he was right to refer to someone who was assigned female at birth as a girl, even if they have transitioned.
“I have been shocked and saddened by the actions of the school, which, in my opinion, reflect an increasing trend of Christians being marginalised in the public square, and unpopular beliefs silenced," he told the Mail on Sunday, adding that "the suggestion that gender is fluid conflicts sharply with [his] Christian beliefs".
This wasn't the only big story pertaining to transgender rights this week – not all of which have indicated the same level of social progress as the Oxford school's decision. A similarly enlightened development was the Church of England's announcement today that it is updating the bullying guidance issued to its schools. It said primary school children should be free to "explore who they might be" by being allowed to wear tiaras or superhero cloaks without comment from teachers or fellow pupils, a move that LGBT charity Stonewall says could help prevent bullying in Church schools.
However, if you need evidence of how far British society still is from accepting trans people, you only have to look to The Times this weekend. Columnist Janice Turner wrote an inflammatory transphobic column in which she described a parent's decision to allow their child to transition as akin to child abuse and implied that children were undergoing invasive and irreversible medical treatments to adhere to a trend that is being pushed on them by a lobby of older trans women looking for converts.