UK artist seeks legal redress for mistreatment over transgender views

By Chris Eyte |
Victoria Culf was stunned that her private comments on transgenderism triggered a police investigation.
Victoria Culf was stunned that her private comments on transgenderism triggered a police investigation. | (Screenshot from interview on YouTube)

An artist in the U.K. has taken legal action against a local council for banning her art exhibit and reporting a “hate crime” to police after she said in a private conversation that sex transition harms children.

Victoria Culf, 43, talked about transgender ideology over a cup of tea on June 6 with an employee of the Watford Museum, where she had set up a self-funded exhibition, according to a press statement form advocacy group Christian Concern.  

The employee told Culf that her child was “socially transitioning” and that she had tried to obtain puberty blockers from Tavistock Gender Identity Clinic. Referencing her Christian faith and her experience working with youths, Culf replied that transitioning is harmful.

“I wouldn’t be being true to myself if I agreed with you,” Culf reportedly said. 

The artist also told the employee that the human brain develops until the age of 24, and so “children are too young to properly assess risk.” She also pointed out that the Tavistock clinic had closed because of various scandals.

Culf thought the conversation ended well, but the council worker later tweeted on X (formerly Twitter) that the artist “subjected” her to a “transphobic rant,” noted Christian Concern. 

Watford Borough Council then contacted Culf to inform her of “harassment” allegations and banned her from entering her own exhibition without giving 24 hours’ notice. The council alleged the ban “safeguarded” the offended council worker, according to Christian Concern. 

At the same time, Culf discovered that her artwork in the museum appeared to be damaged as a result of vandalism. Christian Concern’s Tom Allen told Christian Daily International that “it is quite a coincidence.” 

Police launched an initial investigation against Culf for an alleged hate crime, and the council said she needed to prepare a statement.

“When I received the call to tell me that the police were investigating me, I was so shocked,” Culf said. “I was afraid that the police were going to turn up on my doorstep at any moment and arrest me in front of my children.”

The council told her that she needed to prepare a statement because the police were involved.

“They also told me that I was not allowed into the exhibition as they had to ‘safeguard,’” she said.

Police initially recorded a “non-crime hate incident” against Culf without her knowledge, according to The Free Speech Union, citing what police reported to The Times. Officers later decided against the “hate incident” filing, however, because the complaint did not meet the legal threshold for it. 

“We are seeking to establish how the police handled the ‘hate crime’ report,” Allen of Christian Concern told Christian Daily International. “The police initially said they had recorded it as a ‘non-crime hate incident,’ and then later said it had not met the threshold after being told that recording such incidents are now illegal in light of Miller v. College of Policing.”

Harry Miller is a former police officer accused of transphobic gender-critical tweets between November 2018 and January 2019 on X (formerly Twitter). Humberside Police recorded it as a “non-crime hate incident,” but Miller successfully challenged this under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act relating to freedom of expression. The case is now seen as a legal benchmark to guide police in similar incidents. 

Culf’s involvement in a community art project also stopped after the council ban. BEEE Creative, a private company, terminated her contract. 

The Christian Legal Centre is now supporting Culf’s legal action against the Watford Borough Council on grounds of breach of contract, discrimination, harassment, misfeasance in public office, negligence, intimidation, defamation, conspiracy and malicious falsehood.

The artist called the situation “complete madness.” She said she believed that the conversation with the council worker was civil and calm.  

“During my work and life experience, I have experienced children and young people regretting all sorts of decisions, and continually changing their minds as they grow and develop,” said Culf. “The trouble with medical transitioning is it’s permanent. My conscience and Christian beliefs will not allow me to lie over something that I believe to be very harmful. Are we supposed to be silent and allow the harm to continue unchecked?”

The artist said a dangerous cultural shift has taken place if opposing transgender ideology risks being reported to police. 

“At first what happened really knocked my confidence and made me doubt myself and my sense of reality. I was depressed and, as an artist, struggled to motivate myself as the strength of the attack made me feel unqualified,” she said. “My faith has kept me going, and I cannot waiver from what I know to be the truth.

Culf said she is determined to fight for justice and to speak about what has happened to her.

“I believe there are probably many other Christian artists, and artists from all walks of life, who have been treated similarly and have had to suffer in silence,” she said.

The council refused a request by Culf via a Data Subject Access Request to receive documents, correspondence and WhatsApp messages to show why action was taken against her. 

The artist wants damages, a written formal apology and restrictions lifted against her entry to the museum, according to Christian Concern, whose press statement added: “She will also seek a retraction of the allegations made to be given to all parties, and a commitment by the council that nothing like this will happen again.”

Her ordeal happened not long after the National Health Service (NHS) issued a ban on puberty blockers for children

“Victoria has the courage to speak into her colleague’s situation because of her love for Jesus and love for her colleague and their child,” said Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre. “It is a disturbing trend in society when Victoria, who was motivated by kindness and compassion, is subjected to such extreme punishment merely for expressing Christian truth.”

Puberty blockers are harmful to children, according to Williams. She said the case showed the “trans lobby” to be “pervasive and tyrannical.”

“We cannot allow this trans tyranny in our culture to trample over beliefs that are protected in law, backed by expert evidence and which truly safeguard vulnerable children,” Williams said. “Sanity must prevail. The fear that professionals feel over speaking truth on these must end.”