A UK doctor who was sacked for refusing to refer to transgender people by their preferred gender pronoun says there is a “climate of fear” in his profession with staff “trained to inform” on one another for breaching discrimination laws.
Dr David Mackereth’s contract as a medical assessor for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) was terminated three weeks ago on the grounds that his refusal to use transgender pronouns could be considered harassment under the 2010 Equality Act.
The 55-year-old said his refusal to comply with the edict from the DWP had effectively ended his career, as he would never be hired for another government or National Health Service job again.
“As a Christian, I believe gender is determined biologically and genetically,” he told The Daily Mail. “I knew it could be the end of my work as a doctor, but I could not live with myself if I didn’t speak up. It would be dishonest — and I didn’t want to live a lie.”
After voicing his objections, Dr Mackereth was called into a meeting with a manager at his employment agency. “He asked, ‘If a man asked him to call you ‘Mrs’, would you do it?’ I said I couldn’t,” he said.
“If somebody has male XY chromosomes and male genitalia I cannot in good conscience call them a woman. We agreed I wouldn’t come into work until the DWP had decided what would happen to me.”
Dr Mackereth said it was “not a question of whether we agree or disagree but whether we are free to say so”.
“I believe with all my heart that God made us male and female and that I should be allowed to believe this,” he said.
“I’m not out to upset anyone. I care deeply about transgender people. But we must be able to say what we think, and defend what we believe in a non-combative way. Otherwise we will turn into a dictatorial state in which we are all enslaved.”
In his entire 26-year career, he said he had only ever treated one genuine transgender patient, but that anyone who questioned the fashionable theory that gender is a social construct risked being “lynched”.
Doctors are now advised by the British Medical Association to refer to pregnant women as “pregnant people” to avoid offending transgender people.
Dr Mackereth said there was a “climate of fear” emerging among doctors about the new protocols.
“There is very little talk between staff these days because none of us knows what the rules are,” he said. “We are trained to inform on another doctor if they are unfit to practise and no one wants to get reported.
“There is a belief we cannot say what we think in case we get accused of harassment. Nurses coming across patients with male genitalia on female wards have whispered to me that the situation is wrong.
“Some of my colleagues — senior doctors — are fired up by what happened to me, but what am I supposed to say to them?
“After all, if they say the same thing as me, will the country start losing much-needed, remarkable surgeons who are no longer considered fit to work because they used the wrong pronoun?”
In 2016, Canadian psychologist Dr Jordan Peterson shot to fame over his opposition to anti-discrimination legislation which made it illegal to refuse to refer to a transgender person by their preferred gender pronoun.
Dr Peterson, author of the best-selling book 12 Rules For Life, has aggressively campaigned against so-called “compelled speech” — being forced by law to say something you don’t believe.
“It’s a demand that the population uses a certain kind of linguistic approach,” he said on a tour of Australia earlier this year. “It’s an appropriation of speech. There’s no excuse for that. That never has happened once in the history of English common law. It’s a barrier that we do not cross.”
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