Christian teacher in UK appeals ban from profession for 'misgendering' student

'It's the greatest honor of my life to serve God'

Christian teacher Joshua Sutcliffe, above, appealed to the U.K.'s High Court last week over a ban from the country's Teaching Regulation Authority from last year.
Christian teacher Joshua Sutcliffe, above, appealed to the U.K.'s High Court last week over a ban from the country's Teaching Regulation Authority from last year. | Screenshot/YouTube/Christian Concern

A Christian teacher in the United Kingdom who has been banned from his profession for allegedly misgendering a trans-identifying student in 2017 said that God has sustained him through his ordeal and that he remains hopeful.

Joshua Sutcliffe, 32, told The Christian Post that he faced a hearing before his country's High Court last week over his appeal of the ban that the U.K.'s Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA) slapped on him in May 2023.

The Professional Conduct Panel of the TRA, which regulates the teaching profession in the U.K., recommended that Sutcliffe be banned from teaching for at least two years for "bringing the profession into disrepute," according to his legal counsel at the London-based nonprofit Christian Concern, which has represented many high-profile religious liberty cases in the U.K.

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Sutcliffe, whose outspoken Christian beliefs include opposition to Islam, homosexuality, pornography and abortion, said a former colleague first reported him to the TRA because of his open-air street preaching, footage of which remains on his website.

When he requested a reference from his former employer, he was reportedly referred to the U.K.'s counterterrorism watchdog Prevent, which has policed similar situations such as that of the Rev. Bernard Randall, a Church of England minister and teacher who was reported to Prevent in 2022 for telling his students that they are allowed to make up their own minds about the claims of LGBT activists.

Throughout the TRA's investigation of him last year, Sutcliffe said the focus shifted to his alleged misgendering of a trans-identifying female pupil at an Oxford school in 2017, which he said made him a "marked man."

Sutcliffe, who explained in a video that he avoided using pronouns altogether when dealing with the pupil involved, said the incident became the major topic of discussion during his week-long hearing with the authority last year before they ultimately recommended the ban.

Sutcliffe's lawyers argued in his appeal that compelling him to use the pupil's self-declared pronouns was an unjustified interference with his constitutional rights under the Common Law and the European Convention of Human Rights.

Other points of contention that led to accusations of professional misconduct against Sutcliffe included his denunciation of Muhammad as a false prophet and his showing of a PragerU video titled "Make Men Masculine Again."

"It's just nuts the fact that they've taken that action," Sutcliffe said of the government authority.

Sutcliffe said that God has sustained him and the Scriptures regarding affliction have "come to life" for him, noting that his relationship with the Lord has been "the most precious thing from the very beginning" of his ordeal.

"The thing I've clung on to is that God knows the beginning from the end," he said. "All the things that have happened couldn't have happened by chance. God has called me according to His purpose, and it's such an honor. It's the greatest honor of my life to serve God, to love Him and declare His praises."

"And hopefully, in some small way, people have seen the hope of the Gospel and the hope of Christ through what's happened to me."

Sutcliffe, who expressed concern that his country has drifted from its Christian roots to become "consumed with the things of the world," said he nonetheless remains optimistic regarding his case, which he believes could be a landmark one, especially since authorities in the U.K. are backtracking on affirming trans identities for minors in the wake of the Cass Report.

The Cass Report, which was released last month, prompted the National Health Services (NHS) to advise gender clinics to implement a pause on first appointments for those younger than 18.

"In recent months in the U.K., there's been movements in secular and political culture toward actually [realizing] this is harmful for children and we shouldn't be affirming them down a path of surgery and puberty blockers and all the rest of it," Sutcliffe said. "So I'm hoping common sense will prevail."

The U.K. government also revised its guidance for schools in December to advise a more cautious approach toward social transitioning, affirming that "no one should be expected to use preferred pronouns and they should not be sanctioned for making honest mistakes."

"I'm hoping my Christian freedoms will be upheld," Sutcliffe said. "I think it's an important case because it doesn't just affect Christians, it affects everyone. In a free society, Christians should be able to express their views. We're not under the rule of Stalin. It's supposed to be a free country."

"And for that reason, I'm happy to fight the case," he added. "I'm hoping that it becomes a benchmark for other people in teaching and other professions: that yes, they are free to share their convictions — and particularly Christians, because I want the Gospel to be heard."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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