The New Crime of "Misgendering"

Losing Our Minds (and Jobs) Over Transgender Pronouns

Last year a Christian doctor in the UK was forced to leave his job for refusing to call transgender clients by their preferred pronouns.  In his own words, his refusal was based on the fact that he believes “gender is defined by biology and genetics” and that “the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female.”  

He took his case to an employment tribunal, asserting that using transgender pronouns would be a violation of his Christian faith.  His attorney specifically pointed to Dr. Mackereth’s belief in the truth of Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  He argued that belief in that verse leads to the understanding that “every person is created by God as either male or female. A person cannot change their sex/gender at will.”

Not only has the tribunal ruled against the doctor, they declared his beliefs “incompatible with human dignity.” 

This is from the tribunal’s decision, which was made in July but was only made public last week:

“[B]elief in Geneses 1:27, lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism in our judgment are incompatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others, specifically here, transgender individuals.”

In a similar case, a Virginia teacher has been fired for refusing to call a female student who was “transitioning” to male by masculine pronouns.  Peter Vlaming had promised to use only the student’s name and avoid pronouns entirely, citing his religious beliefs. But last year, as his students wore virtual-reality goggles while walking around the classroom, it seemed that the transgender student was about to crash.  Vlaming shouted, “Don’t let her hit the wall!”  

The student withdrew from Vlaming’s class, the school suspended him, and the school board eventually fired him.

Last week Vlaming filed a lawsuit against the school district for allegedly violating his right to speak freely and exercise his religious beliefs, among other claims.  The lawsuit says that “Vlaming’s conscience and religious practice prevents him from intentionally lying and he sincerely believes that referring to a female as a male by using an objectively male pronoun is telling a lie.”  His lawsuit also seeks an injunction against the school for punishing other teachers who refer to students based on their biological sex.

Adults aren’t the only ones finding themselves in trouble for the offense of “misgendering.”

In Ohio, a sixth-grade boy was reprimanded for referring to a male classmate who is “transitioning” to female as a boy and for using male pronouns.  While other students observed that “taking girl hormones” and eventually having his “male private parts removed” would turn the transitioning child into a girl, John “disagreed as a factual matter” and declared that he is “a boy, not a girl.”  The art teacher who overheard the conversation reported it to the assistant principal, who called John into her office the next day. She reportedly warned him that “there might be consequences” for calling the transitioning child a boy. Liberty Counsel has taken up the case, saying that to punish John is to “turn classrooms into enclaves of totalitarianism” that censor the “commonly-held, mainstream, factual view” that sex if biologically determined.


is the author of the newly-released book, Don’t Let the Culture Raise Your Kids, published by Our Sunday Visitor.  She has been covering family issues for twenty-five years, as a producer for CBS News, a contributor to National Catholic Register, and a Senior Editor for Salvo magazine.  She has written for, First Things, WORLD magazine, and Touchstone.

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