James Esses, a trainee therapist who was removed from his master’s degree in psychotherapy and lost his membership of the council after expressing his concerns about transgender treatment for young people has won an important victory in the UK.
He was expelled from Metanoia University in 2021 for setting up a petition to protect children after stating there are only two sexes and holding the view that children should not undergo gender affirmation therapies.
The UK Council for Psychotherapy has conceded that his beliefs are protected under law and that “it was a ‘valid’ professional opinion that children questioning their gender should receive counselling rather than being put on a pathway to medical treatment.”
Mr Esses had told the council of his concern about the ‘lack of balance in the discussion and debate around treatment of gender dysphoria, particularly for children’ and also had his trainee membership of the professional body terminated.
He launched an employment tribunal case against both organisations, arguing that he was discriminated against for beliefs that are protected under the Equality Act.
Now 31, Mr Esses has reached a settlement – the details of which are confidential – with the council.
It said in a statement published on Monday: ‘UKCP recognises that gender-critical beliefs (that sex is both binary and immutable) are protected under the Equality Act 2010.
‘UKCP also recognises the validity of the professional belief that children suffering from gender dysphoria should be treated with explorative therapy, rather than being affirmed towards irreversible and potentially damaging medical intervention.
‘Psychotherapists and counsellors accredited by UKCP are fully entitled to hold such beliefs and any discrimination against them on this basis, including by UKCP-accredited training organisations, is unlawful.’ However, Mr Esses’s case against Metanoia is still ongoing and due to be heard in full next year.
This is a very encouraging development.
Science and truth should underpin studies and qualifications for medical practitioners, not ideological views.
There must be vigorous and critical debates in universities to ensure the best outcomes for potential patients. It is dangerous for only one view to be permitted, a view that is rooted in feelings and politics. It is essential students, lecturers, and practitioners be free to explore, question and analyse the data without fear of expulsion or penalty.
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