Irish teacher jailed for indeterminate time for addressing a transitioning student as ‘he’ rather than ‘they’

Irish teacher jailed for indeterminate time for addressing a transitioning student as ‘he’ rather than ‘they’. By Helen Bruce Courts.

A teacher who refused to use gender-neutral pronouns for a transgender student has been sent to Mountjoy prison for contempt of court.

Enoch Burke was arrested yesterday morning for breaching a court order not to teach at his Westmeath school, or be physically present there.

His new home, Mountjoy Prison.

After Judge Michael Quinn made his ruling, Mr Burke said: ‘It is insanity that I will be led from this courtroom to a place of incarceration, but I will not give up my Christian beliefs.’

Counsel for Wilson’s Hospital School’s board of management said it was with a ‘heavy heart’ that it sought Mr Burke’s committal to prison, but she said her client had been left with no choice as Mr Burke continued to attend the school, despite the court order which it had obtained last week.

The dispute began over his refusal to address a transitioning student as ‘they’ rather than ‘he’, as requested by the student and their parents in May, and agreed to by the Church of Ireland school.

This escalated to his suspension on the day before the start of the autumn term, pending the outcome of a disciplinary process.

The Guardian explained the importance of pronouns in 2019 (by Luke Mintz):

Getting somebody’s gender pronouns wrong can have serious consequences, as Caroline Farrow, a Catholic commentator who debates the issue on television, may have discovered this week. The mother-of-five, who has strong religious views, claims she was asked by Surrey Police to attend a taped interview after she was accused of using an incorrect gender pronoun during a discussion on Twitter. …

Couldn’t miss the propaganda at a London Tube station

According to LGBT activists, you can’t always tell what somebody’s gender is just by looking at them. Referring to a stranger as “he” just because they “look like a man” is a surefire way to land yourself in trouble, they say. Instead, it could be a good idea to ask somebody what pronouns they use when you first meet them. …

“Misgendering” a transgender person can be a hugely unpleasant experience, LGBT activists say. The Wisconsin guide says that being referred to with the wrong pronoun can make transgender people “feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, [and] alienated”. They say it can also trigger a person’s gender dysphoria, which is defined by the NHS as the discomfort or distress somebody experiences when their biological sex does not match their gender identity. …

Indeed, “misgendering” is taken seriously by police in the UK. Last February, an unnamed schoolteacher was told by police she may have committed a hate crime after she refused to acknowledge that a transgender pupil in her class identified as a boy, failing to address him as “he” and “him”.

Today, you get called a Nazi for saying a woman doesn’t have a penis. Of course, the world used to be 100% Nazis, even a decade or two ago. Progress, or civilization-ending decadence?

hat-tip Stephen Neil, Dave N.