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Lush admits donating thousands to anti-trans pressure group Woman’s Place UK

Nick Duffy December 1, 2020
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Cosmetics brand Lush admitted giving money to the group

Cosmetics brand Lush admitted giving money to the group (John Keeble/Getty)

Cosmetics brand Lush has admitted it gave a grant to anti-trans pressure group Woman’s Place UK.

In a financial statement published on its website published over the weekend, Woman’s Place UK said it has received £3,000 from the cosmetics brand for “events organisation”.

The money is reported to have come from Lush’s “charity pot”, despite Woman’s Place UK belonging to a network of organisations set up in opposition to transgender rights.

Though the group sometimes claims to represent wider women’s issues, the bulk of its campaigning efforts are focussed on anti-trans measures, with four of its “five demands” focussed on transgender issues – asserting that “the principle of women-only spaces” should be “upheld and where necessary extended”.

Speakers at Woman’s Place UK meetings in the past have referred to transgender people as “horrible, hateful misogynistic bastards” and demanded trans women’s exclusion from all women’s spaces, including refuges, toilets, locker rooms, prisons and hospital wards.

Lush says trans rights ‘are not a threat to women’s rights’

In a statement to PinkNews, Lush said it has a policy of not funding “campaigning work, discussion or lobbying on the specifics of the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act” but that the grant “predated our awareness of how toxic discussion around this issue had become and before we put rules in place around this subject”.

It is unclear why Lush, which did not include Woman’s Place UK on its own public list of grant recipients, deemed the group eligible for funding, given its guidelines make clear that it would not fund groups who “harbour racism or prejudice”, “deny the human rights of others” or “judge others on anything other than their actions”.

The company, which did not offer any apology to trans people, added: “To make our stance clear, we do not believe that trans rights are a threat to women’s rights.

“Our belief is that a decent society should be able to structure itself to give rights and protection to all who need it.

“Those who are on the margins should not have to fight other marginalised groups to get the protections they deserve and have a right to – we should all be fighting together for a world free from discrimination of any kind, where all people can live their life to its fullest potential in peace and free from fear.

“We hope our charity pot grants will always continue to contribute towards this vision.”

Cosmetics brand Lush is facing criticism over its donations to Woman's Place UK
Cosmetics brand Lush is facing criticism over its donations to Woman’s Place UK (Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

The company’s lack of apology comes despite its vocal approach to social justice issues, previously launching extensive campaigns during Pride month.

Just this year, a branch of Lush had put up signs warning people not to enter “with signs of COVID-19, racism, homophobia, sexism or transphobia.”

Mystery donors pour thousands into Woman’s Place UK

In the financial statement published on its website, Woman’s Place UK reported a sizeable income of £127,434 since its founding in 2018.

The self-published report, which holds no statutory purpose and does not carry the same weight as officially-vetted accounts, reports £52,017.63 was raised from donations, with an “average donation per individual” of £77.02, in addition to two “large donations” of £5,000 each from unnamed individuals.

Shockingly, the group suggested it was unaware of the identity of one of the donors, and that the funding was “currently quarantined pending verification”.

The group says it raised a further £42,430.83 through event ticket sales and £23,250 through “grants and fees.”

In addition to the £3,000 grant from Lush “towards events organisation”, the group lists a £20,000 “University of Oxford project consultancy fee”, though Woman’s Place UK does not publicly advertise any consultancy services.

The University of Oxford did not return a request for comment from PinkNews.

Related topics: lush, transphobia, Woman's Place UK

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