Christian printer refuses to print business cards for 'gobsmacked' transgender woman

Joanne Lockwood, who has been living as a trans woman since January, sought the business cards for her equality and diversity consultancy firm.Twitter

A Christian printer refused to produce business cards for a transgender 'diversity consultant' who was left 'gobsmacked' by the decision, according to reports.

Joanne Lockwood reportedly sought the promotional material for her consultancy SEE Change Happen, which offers companies advice on equality, diversity and inclusion for transgender staff, in an email to printer Nigel Williams after meeting him at a business conference.

But Williams allegedly refused to take the work at his company based in Southampton, Hampshire on the grounds that it would 'make pressure worse' for Christians whom he believes are being forced to accept trans people in society, the Sunday Times reported.

The campaign group Christian Institute has defended Williams, insisting he should not have to promote causes that are 'flatly contrary to their own deeply held views'.

In his response to Lockwood's email, Williams said: 'The new model of diversity is used (or misused) to marginalise (or indeed discriminate against) Christians in their workplaces and other parts of society if they do not subscribe to it.

'Although I'm quite sure you have no intention of marginalising Christians, it would weigh heavily upon me if through my own work I was to make pressure worse for fellow Christians.'

Lockwood, who has been living as a trans woman since January, said: 'I was not expecting a lecture. I disbelieved this could happen in 2017. I have been distraught and cried and my wife consoled me.'

She added: 'I think a point of principle is at stake. He wanted to make a point to me deliberately for his own motives. I have been the victim of some discrimination.'

Christian Institute said that the row over the business cards was 'chilling and unnecessary'.

It added: 'It is a fundamental tenet of free speech and freedom of belief that people should not be forced to help promote causes flatly contrary to their own deeply held views.'

The case comes a year after the same Christian campaign group supported a Christian family in Northern Ireland who refused to make a cake in their bakery for a same-sex wedding.

In October 2016, a court of appeal upheld a ruling which found that Ashers Bakery in Co Antrim had discriminated against a gay couple who wanted the cake for their marriage.

Christian Today has attempted to contact Williams for further comment.