Dr. Kelvin Wright, a now-former colonel in the British Army’s reserve forces, has said he was forced out of the military for saying “men cannot be women” on Facebook.
In May, Wright, 54, shared a post on his private Facebook account from British women’s rights organization Fair Play for Women. The group largely campaigns for the rights of biological women in sports.
The post included a quote from feminist author Helen Joyce, which simply stated that “if women cannot stand in a public place and say ‘men cannot be women’, then we do not have women’s rights at all.” Wright did not add any further comment to the post when he shared it on his profile.
Following the post, Wright was first warned by a junior officer that sharing the quote may have clashed with the Ministry of Defense’s policy on transgender inclusivity. A dossier was then allegedly created by the Army’s “LGBT Champions,” featuring seven pages describing Wright’s “substandard behavior” that he was not allowed to see, before a formal investigation against him was opened.
Given that the investigation may have resulted in being formally dismissed or censured, Wright, who had served without fault for 14 years in the army, felt that he had no choice but to retire, slashing his pension in the process.
“This attack on my honour made my position completely untenable. I could no longer remain in an Army which treated its officers with such disrespect,” Wright told The Telegraph in a statement.
“What message does it send to women in the Army, that merely for noting the existence of women and women’s rights even a colonel can be placed under investigation? I therefore feel there is no other choice but to make this matter public,” Wright added. “It makes you wonder who is running the Army: the Chief of the Defense Staff, or Stonewall?”
Wright claimed that many of the higher ups within the British military “all love the idea of getting onto Stonewall’s list of top employers,” with some not being able to “see two sides to an argument.”
He continued: “This is about freedom of speech and protection of women. There is nothing that ever says I have been anti-trans or anti-LGBT at all,” adding that he was “taking the gloves off” to stand up for his rights.
The Free Speech Union, run by commentator Toby Young, is taking on Wright’s case, and has appointed him an employment barrister.
“The way in which Dr. Wright has been treated is absolutely disgraceful,” said Young in a statement. “The freedom to express your views in the public square is a fundamental human right that the British Army is supposed to be defending, not attacking. Continuing to hound him following his resignation just adds insult to injury. The Army should apologize, thank him for his service and close the case.”
A spokesman for the British Army noted that they were “aware of a post shared by a service person to their own personal social media account which may have caused offence,” but that they would not comment any further.