The Chilling Case of Dr. Mackereth

Oct 10, 2019 by

by Madeleine Kearns, National Review:

David Mackereth, M.D., has worked for the British National Health Service for nearly 30 years and has never had a single complaint from a transgender patient. That might be because Mackereth treats his patients respectfully and according to their medical needs — as he ought. But when Mackereth applied for a job as a disability assessor in a medical center run by the British government’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), he ran into serious trouble.

[…]  When I contacted the DWP spokesperson for comment, he provided me with their generic statement also given to the BBC: “We acted to protect claimants from behavior that would have failed to treat them with dignity, so we welcome this ruling. We expect all assessors to approach their work sensitively.”

I wanted to ask him how, exactly, the DWP was defining “dignity,” since Mackereth has a competing definition — one that’s been around much longer. However the DWP is defining “dignity,”  it’s clearly not giving any of it to Mackereth, whose rights have been trampled into dust. I also wanted to ask the DWP which “claimants” they were hoping to “protect,” since — again — this was an entirely hypothetical situation. But the spokesman explained that he would be issuing no further comment.

More remarkable still, the judges have concluded this case without demonstrating that they themselves are confident about what language ought to be used when describing transgender people. They adopt the term “transgender” while admitting inconsistent usage with the earlier term “transsexual” found in the Equality Act. And at one point they confuse “birth sex” with identified sex.

It would be easy to dismiss this as sloppiness — just some badly decided judgement in a small city in a small country that is of little consequence. But it is not so. The judges in question (smart people) spent three months trying to write this judgement as carefully as they could, trying to interpret legal case law, and they still managed to butcher it.

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