UK

LGBT+ charities launch urgent appeal over decision to register anti-trans LGB Alliance as charity

Vic Parsons June 2, 2021
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LGB Alliance officially recognised as a charity – what does it mean?

The LGB Alliance's logo.

Trans kids charity Mermaids is appealing the Charity Commission’s decision to register the notorious pressure group LGB Alliance as a charity in England and Wales.

The crowdfunded appeal is backed by the Good Law Project, trans groups Gendered Intelligence and TransActual, and LGBT+ charities LGBT+ Consortium and LGBT Foundation.

“The work of the LGB Alliance is clearly designed to divide the LGBTQ+ community in an attempt to undermine and isolate trans people,” said Mermaids CEO Susie Green. “Mermaids is proud to stand up for the rights of trans people in court, with the unbreakable support of our LGBTQ+ charity family.”

The Charity Commission approved the LGB Alliance for entrance onto the register of public charities on 20 April, more than a year after the group applied for charitable status.

Nearly 35,000 people had signed a petition urging the Charity Commission to reject the LGB Alliance’s application to be registered as a charity on the grounds that it is an “anti-trans hate group”.

“Charitable status is for those who serve the public good,” said Jolyon Maugham, director of the Good Law Project.

“Denigrating trans people, attacking those who speak for them, and campaigning to remove legal protections from them is the very opposite of a public good. We do not believe they meet the threshold tests to be registered as a charity.”

The LGB Alliance claimed to the Charity Commission that its purposes are the protection of human rights and the promotion of equality for LGB people.

But in a March 2020 speech, LGB Alliance director Bev Jackson said: “We’re applying for charitable status and building an organisation to challenge the dominance of those who promote the damaging theory of gender identity.”

In its grounds of appeal, Mermaids says the Charity Commission “should have refused to register LGB Alliance on the ground that it is not a charity” and that the LGB Alliance is a political organisation seeking to “restrict the legal rights and protections afforded to transgender people”, demonstrated by its lobbying of government bodies and opposition to legal reforms.

The LGB Alliance believes trans people should be treated according to their “biological sex”, meaning that a trans man should be treated as a woman, and has argued for trans people to be excluded from LGB communities and charities because they are not “same-sex attracted”, the grounds of appeal says.

The LGB Alliance has also tried to “impede” Mermaids’ work and “deprive” it of funding, advocated for “gender critical” or trans-exclusionary views, and spread misinformation about the work of LGBT+ charities with regards to trans legal protections, the legal filing says.

Helen Belcher, chair of TransActual, said they “fully support” Mermaids’ appeal: “The idea that an organisation who wants trans people to be second class citizens should be recognised as a charity brings the whole system into disrepute.”

Since it launched in October 2019, the LGB Alliance, which strongly denies it is transphobic, has been branded a “hate group” by many in the LGBT+ community, including Pride in London, gay SNP MP John Nicolson, the LGBT+ Lib Dems, gay Scottish actor David Paisley and the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights.

The pressure group has also faced heavy criticism for refusing to denounce its neo-Nazi and homophobe supporters, for backing director Malcom Clark’s view that schools should not have LGBT+ clubs because of “predatory gay teachers“, and for standing by co-founder Bev Jackson defending working with the anti-abortion and anti-LGBT+ Heritage Foundation.

In April, the Charity Commission noted that there was opposition to giving LGB Alliance charity status, and said: “The commission looked at whether LGB Alliance’s purpose inevitably involves the denigration of the rights of transgender people and considered that it did not.”

Related topics: charity commission, Good Law Project, lgb alliance, mermaids

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