LGB Alliance warned by advertising watchdog over ‘potentially misleading’ claims about gender recognition laws
The LGB Alliance has been warned by the UK’s advertising watchdog over “potentially misleading” claims in two paid-for newspaper adverts in Scotland.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it received a number of complaints about the newspaper advert, called ‘Press Pause on the Gender Recognition Bill’.
The ASA said the anti-trans group’s advert was “potentially misleading” because “the legislation it refers to is still under consultation”.
The advert appeared in The Herald (18 January) and Scotland on Sunday (19 January) as part of the group’s campaign against the Scottish government’s plan to reform the Gender Recognition Act, which is currently under public consultation.
The GRA reforms will simplify the way that trans people update the gender on their birth certificate, demedicalising the process and lowering the age at which trans people can access the service from 18 to 16.
“We contacted the advertiser to make them aware of the potential misleadingness in their advertising with reference to the claims of what the implications of the legislation will be, because the legislation it refers to is still under consultation,” the ASA told PinkNews.
“We dealt with this case through an ‘Advice Notice’. We issue Advice Notices where we consider there are potential problems under our advertising rules but do not consider the issues raised are so significant as to warrant a full formal investigation.”
Because the issue was not judged serious enough for a full formal investigation, details of the case won’t be published online.
— Allison Bailey (@BluskyeAllison) January 17, 2020
LGB Alliance claim GRA reform ‘pushed through’ despite first consultation being held almost three years ago.
The LGB Alliance advert said that GRA reform would create a “gender free-for-all” and is “a law that could be exploited by predatory men who wish to hurt women and girls”.
In documents published alongside the draft bill, the Scottish government flatly rejected claims that gender recognition reform would impact women’s rights or present a risk to single-sex spaces.
The advert also claimed that GRA reform was being “pushed through in haste”, despite the first public consultation on the changes being held in 2017.
More than 15,000 people responded to that consultation, with 65 per cent of Scottish respondents supporting the government’s plans to introduce a self-declaratory system for legal gender recognition.
Group’s advert ‘peddled same old nonsense about GRA reforms’.
One person who had complained to the ASA about the adverts told PinkNews that it was a “shame” the case won’t be taken further.
“I’m glad that the ASA has spoken to the LGB Alliance but it seems a shame that this has not been taken further – especially in a climate when so many people are spreading misinformation and downright lies about the GRA reforms and trans people,” said the person, whose identity is being withheld by PinkNews due to fears of retaliation.
The person added: “The advert peddled the same old nonsense about the GRA reforms that transphobes have been spreading for years.
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“Therefore the advert was little more than straw man scaremongering – if there was a problem it would exist now. The fact that any organisation would spread this type of stuff does make you wonder about their agenda.
“No wonder only around 20 or so were present at the Alliance’s much-heralded Scotland launch recently.
“They have no support from any LGBT+ people I know and the saddest thing of all is that you suspect many of those hoping it succeeds are those with an agenda against all LGBT+ people who merely see it as a useful wedge to try and split the community.”
The ASA said it will keep the complaints it received about the LGB Alliance advert on file so that it can “respond as appropriate” in case there are similar complaints in future, should the group choose to pay for advertising again.
PinkNews has contacted the LGB Alliance for comment.