Kevin Lister, a teacher from Swindon, was fired and is now taking legal action against his former school. He was fired regarding his treatment of a transgender student.

Kevin Lister was fired from his position teaching maths after he refused to “affirm the pupil’s gender change”, according to a story in the Daily Mail.

The teacher admits a refusal to use the transgender student’s name or pronouns instead opting to just point at him in class which the student reports he felt uncomfortable about.

Kevin Lister also admits wanting to breach basic safeguarding recommendations from the school’s safeguarding team by seeking parental consent to the gender change. This is warned against as teachers can not know if the parent will be accepting of their LGBTQIA+ child nor can they really do anything to protect the child if the parents are abusive.

The Albert Kennedy Trust report that 77% of homeless LGBTQIA+ youth report that coming out to their parents was a main factor in their homelessness.

Kevin Lister goes on to claim that he is the victim of a “witch-hunt” for challenging “dangerous transgender ideology” – a dogwhistle for transphobia that is barely even a dogwhistle at all.

In an attempt to justify this behaviour the Daily Mail story references comments by MPs such as Suella Bravermen – the UK’s attorney general at the time – saying that “the law is clear that under-18s can not legally change their gender”. However the law says no such thing, the protected characteristic of “gender reassignment” in the Equality Act 2010 does not have an age limit.

The law states that under 18s cannot obtain a GRC, but a GRC is not required to be protected from anti-trans discrimination.

Further, the law also states that 16 year olds can change their own names whenever they damn well please. If your 16 year old student decides they want to be called something else you have no legal grounds to object. In my (I am not a lawyer) opinion objection due to the fact that their name change is transgender related is textbook discrimination on the basis of gender reassignment.

It does not seem that this man has any real chance of winning his case, if the sympathetic coverage in the Daily Mail is to be believed anyway. This appears to be the same with other stories surrounding teachers mistreating transgender pupils and facing consequences for it.

Enoch Burke, another teacher, was given a court order to stay away from his school. He breached said court order and was subsequently jailed. This was widely reported in the press as “teacher jailed for misgendering student” or something to that effect despite it very provably not being true.

Schools and children are steadily becoming the focal point of the culture war against LGBTQIA+ equality, with social media users like Libs of Tik Tok and Gays Against Groomers specifically making it a huge part of their anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric. Children’s hospitals have received bomb threats, doctors have been stalked and harassed, and a drag queen reading kids a book requires a police presence now.

This is happening while the UK rewards anti-trans activists who target trans youth specifically with honours and other support. So sadly I don’t see it improving all that quickly without a lot of work from our already stretched thin community. If you’ve ever said “protect trans youth” now is really the time to step up!

Ultimately the story with Kevin Lister boils down to him admitting to mistreating a 17 year old student who has protection from discrimination and the legal right to choose his own name. I do not expect it will go far in the courts, but the right-wing and anti-trans media circles are already eating it up and using it to fuel further hatred against us.

Be safe out there.