A CHRISTIAN printer refused to produce business cards for a transgender woman who runs an organisation promoting diversity.
Joanne Lockwood went to get the cards printed for SEE Change Happen, which offers advice on equality, diversity and inclusion.
But Nigel Williams, owner of Afford A Print, refused because he did not want to promote a cause that could affect his fellow Christians.
Joanne, from Portsmouth, said: ‘I went to a networking event and met business people in Fareham and I asked for some business cards to be printed by a printing company.
‘I got an email back from the printer saying he had declined to print my order due to a difference in his belief system and mine.
‘I felt quite hurt and shocked that it had occurred and I felt very surprised. It was the first time I had been denied a service because of what I stood for or who I am.’
Joanne reported the incident to the police who marked it as a hate incident. She has asked for further investigations to be carried out.
She added that she did not want to punish the company but to help people have a better understanding.
‘I am keen that whatever happens here, it is used as an example in society to show diversity and inclusion is important,’ Joanne said.
‘There is no way I want the person who declined the print the cards to be vilified in any way.
‘This is about being positive and helping other people see that transgender individuals, or whatever your identity is, they are all valid.’
The News approached Mr Williams, whose business is based in Southampton, for a comment and a spokesman for the Christian Institute, which is providing him with support, said: ‘For years we’ve warned of growing hostility towards people with mainstream Christian views.
‘The terms equality, diversity and tolerance have been twisted out of all recognition in an attempt to marginalise, shame and punish Christian people.
‘Nigel Williams made it crystal clear that he would be prepared to do work for Joanne Lockwood.
‘Indeed, his email said: “I am very happy to print for you”.
‘However, he was not prepared to do work for a business that actively promoted a cause which might impact negatively on those with a Christian faith.
‘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.’