Because we’re *still* worthless

November 11, 2008

Because we're worthlessVia James Ledward at Gscene I learn that a former Education, Training and Employment Manager at Brighton & Hove City Council has received a Disciplinary Order from the General Teaching Council for England at a recent hearing of its Professional Conduct Committee, as follows:

Mr Morgan was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct in that whilst employed as an Education, Training and Employment Manager by Brighton & Hove City Council he behaved in a manner which amounted to discrimination, more particularly in that he:

  1. sent a fax to an educational recruitment agency on 19 November 2003 in which he:
    1. referred to a teacher’s change of gender
    2. referred to that teacher’s former name
    3. referred to the teacher variably as “he”, “him”, “she” and “her”
    4. referred to previous proceedings involving this teacher
  2. did not disclose his fax of 19 November 2003 to the teacher
  3. refused to provide the teacher with a second reference
  4. did not hear or appropriately deal with the teacher’s written grievance.

[…]

And on his blog, James offers this additional background information:

In 2003, Philip Morgan had secretly sent a fax to an employment agency that revealed the teacher was transgender, despite a request not to do so. After this had been discovered, he refused to write a new reference. The tribunal heard that the male-to-female teacher had lost the opportunity to find work after Morgan revealed her change of gender. Morgan claimed he was misadvised by the Council’s then head of personnel and lawyer Ian Yonge. The GTC committee found Morgan guilty of six separate counts of discrimination, and said that he had “brought the reputation and standing of the profession into serious disrepute.” He has been ordered to undergo formal equality and diversity-awareness training – although he has now retired.

[…]

In June 2007, Brighton & Hove City Council was ordered to pay the teacher £35,000 after being found guilty of victimising and discriminating against the teacher. The payment was awarded for loss of earnings and injury to feelings. It has been estimated that the council spent more than £100,000 fighting the employment tribunal.

[…]

The Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999> made it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of gender reassignment in employment or vocational training. Only around six cases have been raised. The Equal Opportunities Commission agreed to back the case against Brighton Council, believing it would set a legal precedent on discrimination against transgender people.

And here’s a question which doesn’t seem to have been answered in the published details: Has the teacher been able to find employment since Mr Morgan carried out his apparent hate crimes against her? Because £35,000 seems a pretty small sum if she’s had to live on state benefits for the past five years.

I seem to be saying this a lot recently, but not one single cis person will ever convince me that we are the kind of threat you seem to think we are, a menace which justifies hounding us out of jobs, homes, relationships, you name it.

Trans people are real people too, with real lives and real responsibilities, real hopes and aspirations. Nobody appointed cis people to be judge and jury over our very existence. Nobody.

This case is one more example in a seemingly endless procession of legal cases that members of the trans community have had to bring in the fight for the basic civil right to be trans – and still be afforded what others are afforded.

Tell me, Mr Morgan, why is our existence so very problematic for you that you feel it’s your place to wreck another human’s life so comprehensively? Can you come up with one even remotely defensible, justifiable, logical reason which isn’t grounded in your personal prejudice, bigotry or sheer ignorance?

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