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Education

LGB Alliance Ireland launch insidious email campaign encouraging schools to pull out of vital anti-LGBT+ bullying initiative

Patrick Kelleher November 17, 2020
LGB Alliance logo

The anti-trans campaign group LGB Alliance has launched an Irish branch

The anti-trans pressure group LGB Alliance Ireland has urged schools to ignore a vital anti-LGBT+ bullying campaign, claiming it raises “safeguarding” concerns.

The Irish branch of the group was set up in October, with organisers claiming to represent lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Ireland – however, the LGB Alliance Ireland has mostly concerned itself with rolling back trans rights.

Now, the group – which, as of now is just a Twitter account and not an established organisation – has written to schools urging them to ignore a campaign instigated to wipe out anti-LGBT+ bullying in schools.

The campaign, called Stand Up Awareness Week, runs each year in Ireland and was set up by LGBT+ youth charity BeLonG To. As part of the campaign, BeLonG To distributes packs to schools across the country that draw attention to the violence, discrimination and bullying LGBT+ young people often face in school.

The pack helps school staff better understand LGBT+ identities while also offering advice on how they can stamp out anti-LGBT+ bullying.

In an email sent to schools, the LGB Alliance described itself as “an organisation that has been established to support lesbian, gay and bisexual people”.

Despite this claim, the group offered no advice on how staff could wipe out targeted discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual students, and instead dedicated its email to criticising BeLonG To for acknowledging trans identities.

“We are taking the unusual step of writing to schools regarding the BeLongTo/Stand Up Awareness Week education packs,” the group wrote.

“These packs have been adopted by some schools in Ireland and purport to cover LGBTI+ issues. Schools have undoubtedly adopted these packs with the best intentions. However, the materials raise safeguarding and other concerns.”

The LGB Alliance Ireland said the anti-bullying packs should not be used “as the basis of policy, or as educational materials for pupils”. The group went on to argue that the packs make “inappropriate” references to suicide – despite the fact that LGBT+ youth are disproportionately affected by suicide.

The group went on to claim that the packs are “completely unbalanced in favour of trans issues” and criticised the charity for mentioning the word “trans” more than “gay” or “lesbian” in its guidance.

The LGB Alliance Ireland also criticised BeLonG To for not including the word “homosexual” in its information, bizarrely suggesting that using the word “gay” instead would prevent students from understanding their legal protections under Ireland’s Equal Status Act.

The group criticised BeLonG To for urging schools to allow trans students to use facilities such as toilets and locker rooms, baselessly claiming that such a move would jeopardise the safety of cisgender girls.

Finally, the LGB Alliance argued, without any evidence, that BeLonG To’s anti-bullying packs “undermine the entire concept of biological sex” and would “confuse” cisgender children by making them believe they are trans.

The LGB Alliance Ireland was branded ‘an infamous hate group’ after it urged schools to ignore an anti-bullying pack.

The letter was shared on Twitter by Irish artist Robert Bohan, who branded the LGB Alliance Ireland “an infamous hate group masquerading as a gay rights organisation”.

He hit out at the group for sending “transphobic and mendacious emails to many Republic of Ireland school principals” over the weekend in an attempt to “undermine diversity in our education system”.

“This attempt to smear BeLonG To is unacceptable and vile,” he added.

LGBT+ people in Ireland expressed their shock and dismay at the emails, with one trans person saying they owe their life to BeLonG To’s work.

Another Twitter user wrote: “I’d hope that school principals and the Department of Education would have sense and continue liaising with experts in working with LGBTQIA+ youth like BeLonG To as opposed to these unknown entities.”

The LGB Alliance has been roundly criticised by LGBT+ people and allies on social media, with some branding them “a transphobic hate group”.

PinkNews has contacted the LGB Alliance Ireland for comment.

The group was firmly rejected by the country’s LGBT+ community.

The LGB Alliance Ireland launched in October to a resounding rejection from the country’s LGBT+ community.

Following its launch, the LGB Alliance claimed that it was set up in an effort to roll back Ireland’s progressive Gender Recognition Act, which allows trans people over the age of 18 to self-identify as their correct gender.

Éirénne Carroll, CEO of the Transgender Equality Network of Ireland (TENI), told PinkNews in October that the LGB Alliance Ireland was contributing to “negative mental health outcomes for transgender people”.

“We are saddened that debunked science, and outdated ideologies are coming to the forefront and that fellow members of the queer community would take aim at a marginalised group, especially during a global pandemic that has contributed to negative mental health outcomes for transgender people,” Carroll said after the LGB Alliance Ireland was launched.

“We believe as always that trans people are vital parts of the LGBTI+ community. Our lives are worth dignity, respect and protection. We hope that this organisation will see how harmful their views are as they share and give credence to those that would seek to harass and remove transgender people from society.”

TENI added: “Transgender people seek to live a life that is safe, included, and affirmed. It is disheartening to see fellow Irish residents, and international residents choose to malign lives and remove rights from anyone.”

 

 

More: anti-lgbt bullying, BeLong To, department of education, lgb alliance, LGB Alliance Ireland, schools, trans kids

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