UK Employment Tribunal: Calling Trans People ‘Wankers’ is Discrimination Because Insult Not ‘Gender Neutral’

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An employment tribunal in the UK has suggested that gender-specific insults against a transgender person, such as using the common British insult “wanker,” could be a breach of equality laws because the insult is not ‘gender neutral.’

The comments came after a trans bus driver sued London United Busways, the company where he had been working, for gender reassignment discrimination.

Bus driver Amanda Fischer accused his former employer of anti-trans discrimination after co-workers insulted him claiming an employee called him a “wanker.”

He was subsequently fired by the company and filed a lawsuit alleging the firing was connected to the complaint about his treatment.

The employment tribunal ultimately found he had not been discriminated against because the alleged abuse, and claimed insult, did not take place.

But the tribunal did not wasted an opportunity to police language.

Judge Kathryn Ramsden suggested that, if the word wanker had been used, the claim would have been successful because the term is not traditionally used to insult women.

Ramsden argued, “The panel members’ own experiences of [the] use of that term is that it is applied to men, and that there are equivalent but different swear words that are specifically used in common parlance to insult women.”

She continued, “[T]he tribunal does not consider the insult ‘w—-r’ to be a gender-neutral term.”

The Telegraph UK reports:

Calling a trans woman a ‘w—-r’ is discriminatory because the insult is commonly used in reference to men, an employment tribunal has suggested.

The swear word is not a gender-neutral term and so using it against someone who has transitioned would constitute a breach of equality laws, a panel concluded.

To insult a trans woman without being discriminatory, female-specific slurs should be used instead, the tribunal suggested.


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