A Swindon teacher who said he was wrongfully dismissed after refusing to use a transgender student's pronouns has had his claim dismissed by an employment tribunal. 

Kevin Lister, 60, made the claim against New College Swindon after being dismissed for gross misconduct by them in September 2022 following complaints by two students.

He argued that he had been unfairly sacked because of his gender-critical beliefs and that he had been attempting to protect the student. 

But the tribunal concluded that Mr Lister "had manifested his beliefs in an objectionable manner which ought to have been prohibited to ensure the protection of others."

It added: "The [college's] decision to dismiss had not fallen outside a range of decisions open to a reasonable employer in the circumstances, particularly since [Mr Lister] indicated that he was not prepared to modify his conduct going forward."

The teacher at the further education college refused to refer to a biologically female student, aged 17, by their preferred male name and he/him pronouns in A-level maths lessons.

The tribunal heard that the pupil, named Student A, asked Mr Lister make the change in September 2021.

Swindon Advertiser: Kevin ListerKevin Lister (Image: YouTube)

But Mr Lister said he started to gesture to the student rather than use their birth name or preferred name which he said was a  “gender-neutral communication style” but accepted the student found it upsetting.

At the end of that month the pupil asked whether he was eligible for an all-female maths competition and the tribunal heard Mr Lister wrote the student’s female birth name on whiteboard in front of the class and said she could (enter the competition) because she was a girl”.

Student A spoke to Mr Lister after the lesson, who reportedly told him “taking testosterone is likely to cause long-term medical problems and she would be reliant on the NHS, and the services could not be guaranteed for the future”.

The student was upset, which Mr Lister accepted, and he attempted to console him by calling him an “excellent young lady”, the tribunal was told.

Summarising his views presented during the hearing, the panel said: “Mr Lister considered that (New College Swindon) required staff and students to celebrate “students who had been persuaded to take wrong sex hormones” and likened the social transitioning of a child to the illegal act of performing FGM (female genital mutilation)."

He also drew on historic references to Dr (Josef) Mengele’s experiments and cited the 10–point Nuremberg Code on human experimentation.

In its judgment, it said Mr Lister was dismissed due to his conduct and expressing his beliefs in an “objectionable” manner.

It found the student was not at risk from using hormones and that Mr Lister had not adhered to the school’s gender reassignment policy, which was intended to protect students from harassment and discrimination under the Equality Act.

Other matters, including his social media posts, were investigated but not included in its ruling.

A month after Student A asked the teacher to adopt male pronouns, Mr Lister posted on X, formerly Twitter: “I am not going to call my #transgender students by their preferred name.

“To do so, (is to) support them killing the person they were.

Swindon Advertiser: New College SwindonNew College Swindon (Image: Newsquest)

“To call them by their preferred name is like telling a potential #suicide victim to jump off a cliff”.

The panel referred to his other social media posts, and said they argued “sexual orientation was a choice, like whether one might want to play golf”, and that “gay relationships were not ‘as valid’ as straight ones ‘by definition'”.

He has since been banned by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) from participating in regulated activities with children.

Mr Lister reacted to his loss on social media, with a thread on X. 

In it, he said: "Very bad news for the teaching profession and the thousands of families that have been destroyed by this ideology in schools. I lost.

"I represented myself because I had to, not because I wanted to. The NEU withdrew their support. My insurance company would not pay. And I didn't want to draw down on anyone else.

"I do not know what to say to all the teachers who are horrified about having to support this terrible ideology, and have left the profession over it, nor to the families that have been torn apart by it."

A spokesperson for New College Swindon said: "It is our responsibility to provide a safe and respectful learning environment for everyone, free from harassment or judgement. 

"This is a sensitive issue, and individuals are entitled to their personal beliefs. However, in any situation where a member of staff repeatedly fails to exercise their duty of care, the college must take measures to safeguard all students, as it did in this case. 

"A thorough investigation resulted in Mr Lister being dismissed for actions that were deemed discriminatory, causing significant upset and potential harm to a student, amounting to gross misconduct, and not simply for holding gender critical beliefs.  

"We work closely with the parents of our 16–18-year-olds and a mother’s complaint regarding Mr Lister’s treatment of her child and her support for her child’s situation, refutes any claims that the College was acting without the knowledge or support of the parents. 

"We are grateful for the care and professionalism our staff have shown throughout this process. In contrast, the behaviour demonstrated by Mr Lister in this case is not representative of the inclusive culture we work hard to foster at New College Swindon."