Doctor ‘Dismissed’ After Saying He Wouldn’t Call ‘Any 6ft Bearded Man Madam’

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14: A doctor at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham does his rounds on the wards on June 14, 2006 in Birmingham, England. Senior managers of the NHS have said that the organisation needs to become more open in the future. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Christopher Furlong/Getty

A  Christian doctor has said that he was allegedly dismissed from his job at a government office because he refused to call “any six-foot-tall bearded man ‘madam’,” an employment tribunal has heard.

Dr David Mackereth, 56, told a hearing in Birmingham on Wednesday that he had been dismissed from his role as a health and disability assessor at Birmingham Fiveways assessment centre, part of the Department for Work and Pensions, after refusing in theory to use a transgender person’s preferred personal pronoun, the BBC reports.

Dr Mackereth, an experienced emergency department medic, told the tribunal that shortly after his appointment in May 2018, he was asked by his line manager, James Owen: “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 gave his answer that he would not because it was against his religion. The medic alleged that Owen told him he was “overwhelmingly likely” to lose his job unless he changed his convictions, and in June 2018, the doctor alleged that he was dismissed.

The DWP say that Dr Mackereth left the role after receiving a letter where he was instructed to follow the “process as discussed in your training”, to which the doctor replied: “I am a Christian and in good conscience cannot do what the DWP is requiring of me.” The father of four maintains that he was dismissed and is a victim of harassment and discrimination.

The Christian told the tribunal on Wednesday that he was dismissed “not because of any realistic concerns over the rights and sensitivities of transgender individuals, but because of my refusal to make an abstract ideological pledge”.

“In truth, the argument between us arose not because of any realistic concerns over the rights and sensitivities of transgender individuals, but because of my refusal to make an abstract ideological pledge to call any six-feet tall bearded man ‘madam’ on his whim.

“Throughout this process I kept stressing that my objection to that misuse of pronouns was based on my Christian beliefs and conscience.”

Concluding his opening statement, Dr Mackereth, who now works as an emergency doctor in Shropshire said: “What I object to is being forced to do violence to language and common sense, in a ritual denial of an obvious truth, for the sake of an ideology which I disbelieve and detest.

“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.”

Dr Mackereth also said that the recognition of transgenderism as “normal” and that “such delusional beliefs” being “accepted at face value” was not the result of “scientific evidence” but “political pressure”.

His case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, whose chief executive Andrea Williams described the doctor as “a Christian hero who chose to sacrifice his distinguished professional career rather than compromise on the Bible and his conscience”.

The tribunal is ongoing.

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