The United Kingdom’s General Medical Council (GMC) has vindicated Dr. David Mackereth, who was fired in 2019 after saying in a training session that he could not in good conscience identify clients by their chosen gender identity rather than their biological sex.
Mackereth, 60, worked as a disability assessor for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). One day, according to news reports at the time, Mackereth’s manager posed the question: “If you have a man 6 feet tall with a beard who says he wants to be addressed as ‘she’ and ‘Mrs.,’ would you do that?”
Mackereth considered the question and responded that as a Christian, he was not able to refer to a biological man as a woman.
In an email exchange with his managers, Mackereth was told to comply and use transgender pronouns, or lose his job as a doctor.
“I am a Christian and in good conscience cannot do what the DWP is requiring of me,” he replied. He was fired, and he took the DWP to court, arguing that he had been discriminated against due to his Christian beliefs and that his rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion had been breached.
The Birmingham Employment Tribunal ruled against him, stating: “A 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.”
In what was described as a “confusing and muddled judgment,” an appeals court in 2022 said that although Mackereth is entitled to his beliefs, he could not express those beliefs in the workplace. With his legal options exhausted within the U.K., Mackereth has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Mackereth also referred his case to the GMC, the regulatory body for doctors in the U.K. The GMC’s official response states that the council sees no need to restrict Mackereth’s medical registration because of his views. “Although your views might be considered contentious,” the GMC said, “we haven’t seen evidence to suggest that patient safety is at risk from the information provided nor that your fitness to practice is impaired.”
Although the GMC’s finding does not overrule his firing or the appeals court’s decision, it could have an impact at the ECHR. The Christian Legal Centre, which is representing Mackereth, told Decision that they hope to include the GMC’s conclusion when they argue the case at that court.
Franklin Graham commented on Facebook that Mackereth is “100% right” in objecting to using pronouns that do not match biological sex. “In medicine,” he said, “if we begin to ignore the truth, this hurts everyone regardless of race, sexual orientation or religion. [Mackereth] makes the point that affirming truth is our only way forward. I hope the authorities see, understand, and respect this.”
Photo: Courtesy of Christian Concern