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Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2494

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Christian teacher faces disciplinary action for referring to pupil born female as a ‘girl’


A respected Christian maths teacher at a school in Oxfordshire will appear at a disciplinary hearing to answer allegations that he referred to a pupil born female as a “girl”.
Joshua Sutcliffe, from Oxford, began working at the school in September 2015 and currently teaches children aged 11-18. He has achieved excellent results, with his key-stage 3 students outperforming every parallel class.
According to the Christian Legal Centre, on November 2 a complaint was made that Mr Sutcliffe referred to the pupil as a “girl”, rather than the desired “boy”. The pupil had self-declared as “male”. Mr Sutcliffe had not been given any formal instruction on how to refer to the pupil. An investigation began immediately, during which Joshua was prevented from teaching and forced to spend all his time ‘in isolation’ in the staff room.
Following the week-long investigation, the school found that he had “misgendered” the pupil “demonstrating discriminatory behaviours” and had “[contravened] the school’s equality policy”. The school recommended dealing with the matter of “misconduct” under the disciplinary policy.
Since the pupil started at the school, Mr Sutcliffe has tried to balance his sincerely held Christian belief that biological sex is God-given and defined at birth, with the need to treat sensitively the pupil. He avoided the use of gender-specific pronouns, and instead referred to the pupil by the pupil’s chosen name. He admitted saying, “Well done girls” when he addressed a group of students including the pupil in question. The pupil became irate at this and Joshua sought to diffuse the situation and apologised.
Mr Sutcliffe said: “I have been shocked and saddened by the actions of the school, which, in my opinion, reflect an increasing trend of seeing Christians, people like me, being marginalised in the public square, and our beliefs punished and silenced.
“While the suggestion that gender is fluid conflicts sharply with my Christian beliefs, I recognise my responsibility as a teacher and Christian to treat each of my pupils with respect and dignity.
“I have never looked to impose my convictions on others, I just try to earnestly live out the gospel of peace.
“I have balanced these factors by calling the pupil by the chosen name and although I did not intentionally refer to the pupil as a ‘girl’, I do not believe it is unreasonable to call someone a girl if they were born a girl.
“The aggressive way in which transgender ideology is being imposed is undermining my freedom of belief and conscience, as well as the conscience of many people throughout our nation who believe that gender is assigned at birth.
“I have a deep conviction that we are all made in God’s image, male and female.”The headteacher of the school told the Mail on Sunday that it would be inappropriate to comment on individual cases.
The case comes just a week after well-known genetics expert Professor Lord Winston said that transgender people can end up “badly damaged”.  In an interview on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, he said: “What I’ve been seeing in my fertility clinic is the long-term results of often very unhappy people who are now quite badly damaged.”
Professor Gary Barry, a leading expert in care for transgender children said on the same programme that the effect on fertility was “worrying”.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting the teacher, said: “This case is one of a flood of cases we are encountering where teachers are finding themselves silenced or punished if they refuse to fall in line with the current transgender fad.
“We all know how much we change during our teenage years. It is vital that during those years we help our children to live in the biological sex they were born rather than encouraging them to change ‘gender’. If we encourage them to change gender it is not kind and compassionate; it is cruel.
“What we need is a culture in our schools which gives emotional support to children through puberty without encouraging them to make life-long decisions against their natural born biological sex.
‘If we collude in the transgender delusion we do not serve our children well, we harm them.”

Last year Gabrielle Kuby (pictured), the German Catholic author and sociologist, warned Catholics in England of the spread of the ideology of gender when she visited the Diocese of Shrewsbury and encouraged the faithful to find the courage to resist its imposition.


(Photo of Joshua Sutcliffe courtesy of the Christian Legal Centre)