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UK

Legal group that wants to ban trans kids from bathrooms claims UK government is ‘biased’ for championing diversity

Lily Wakefield November 1, 2020
government diversity champions

The Safe Schools Alliance insists government agencies cannot act impartially if they champion diversity in the workplace. (Tristan Fewings/Getty)

An anti-trans rights legal group has claimed that UK government agencies who are members of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme cannot be “impartial”.

The Safe School Alliance (SSA UK) is an organisation that has been behind several recent legal attacks on trans youth and trans rights in the UK.

The group was vocal in its criticism of trans model Munroe Bergdorf’s appointment as Childline’s first LGBT+ ambassador, supported rules to stop trans school pupils from using the bathrooms that match their gender identity, and this year opposed a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) LGBT+ bullying and hate crimes schools pack, insisting that protecting trans kids from bullying “made female students feel unsafe in schools”.

In its latest crusade, SSA UK has claimed that government agencies who are members of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme are unable to be “impartial”.

The programme helps organisations to create LGBT-inclusive workplaces, by offering training, resources and networking with other inclusive organisations.

The Diversity Champions programme also assists organisations in reviewing their policies to make sure they are as inclusive as possible, for example making trans employees feel safe and supported by allowing them to use the toilets and changing rooms which match their gender identities.

The Telegraph, which described trans-inclusive policies as “controversial”, reported that the list of Diversity Champions members include GCHQ, MI5, the Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office, the Department for Education and the Ministry of Justice.

It also includes “57 local authorities, 47 emergency service providers, including almost 30 police forces, and more than 50 NHS organisations”.

But SSA UK has insisted that government organisations which want to improve diversity and LGBT+ inclusion cannot be “impartial”.

Tracy Shaw, a spokesperson for SSA UK, said: “There is a duty on public bodies to remain impartial, objective and balanced and that could be compromised by membership of a lobby group.

“How can you be impartial when you are part of a champion programme which compels you to do certain things and behave in a certain way that contravenes women and girls rights to safe spaces?

“No public body should align themselves with a lobby group, especially one that has been so open in their desire to remove single sex exemptions which are there to protect women and girls.

“Public bodies should be free to talk to lobby groups, but not work with them in a way which means that a group has an influence or asks them to sign up to a code of conduct.”

SSA UK has even supported a teenager to apply for a judicial review of the CPS’s Diversity Champions membership.

But Nancy Kelley, the chief executive of Stonewall, told The Telegraph: “All employers, including public authorities, have a legal duty to reduce inequalities and ensure lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are free from discrimination at work.

“Our industry-leading Diversity Champions programme supports organisations to make their workplaces more inclusive of LGBT people.

“This work is absolutely vital as more than a third of LGBT+ staff (35 percent) hide who they are at work, while one in five (18 per cent) have been the target of bullying because they’re LGBT+.

“The programme covers everything from policy and procedure, to staff networks and monitoring, to culture and well-being to help organisation create truly inclusive workplaces.”

A CPS spokesperson added: “Our status as a Stonewall champion plays no part in our decision making. It is to show that the CPS is an employer that welcomes and respects our LGBT+ staff.”

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