Fired Physician Assistant Claims DEI Director Called Her Evil For Not Using Preferred Pronouns | Michigan

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(The Center Square) – A physician assistant at a University of Michigan hospital in West Michigan claims she was told she was evil and was responsible for the suicides of transgender people by the director of diversity in the healthcare system and was later fired because she refused to recognize patients’ preferred pronouns.

The First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit legal organization, set out Valerie Kloosterman’s grievances against the University of Michigan Health-West Hospital System in a Sept. letter which demands that Kloosterman be rehired. First Liberty says Kloosterman’s religious rights were violated.

The letter claims that Kloosterman refused to use transgender people’s preferred pronouns and instead referred to them by their first names. She was also unwilling to refer patients for sex reassignment surgery, citing her Christian faith.

The letter claims that the hospital held a meeting in July 2021 with the director of human resources and other officials, including Thomas Pierce, the director of the diversity program, to respond to Kloosterman’s refusal to identify transgender patients by their favorite pronouns.

Kloosterman said she couldn’t because of her religious beliefs and independent medical judgment, but used the patients’ first names.

The letter read: “Thomas Pierce became hostile, visibly angry with clenched fists and red demeanor, and attacked his religious beliefs. Among other things, he told Mrs. Kloosterman that she could not take the Bible or her religious beliefs to work with her, literally or figuratively; that given her religious beliefs against pronouns based on gender identity and “gender reassignment surgery”, she was responsible for transgender suicides; and that she was ‘evil’ and abused her power as a health care provider.”

Kloosterman said she was fired on Aug. 24, 2021, for failing to use preferred pronouns and referring patients for gender transition procedures.

A voicemail message left with the hospital system’s media relations team was not immediately returned on Tuesday.

Pierce did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Peter VanLaan, associate general counsel for the healthcare system, told The Center Square: “University of Michigan Health-West is committed to providing appropriate medical treatment to all patients and respects the religious beliefs of its employees. Our organization does not discuss personnel issues and as such has no further comment.”

Earlier this year, the University of Michigan Health-West was named a top performer in LGBTQ+ healthcare equality by the Human Rights Campaign.

“Delivering on its promise that ‘You Belong Here,’ University of Michigan Health-West has earned national recognition for its commitment to equity and inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gay people,” the health system said. in his Press release.

In that press release, Pierce said, “If someone comes along and they have a flawed experience, we’ve set the accountability bar for ourselves. LGBTQIA+ patients just want to be able to access a doctor, be able to walk through the front door, and not be mistreated, misnamed, embarrassed, or discriminated against — or asked to leave.

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