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Crucial appeal against anti-trans LGB Alliance’s charity status to be heard in 2022

Maggie Baska December 23, 2021
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A Pride In Surrey activist protests outside the first annual conference of the LGB Alliance at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre on 21st October 2021 in London, United Kingdom. Many LGBT+ activists and advocacy groups are opposed to the LGB Alliance, a government-registered charity, which they consider to be a divisive anti-trans campaign group. (photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images)

The Charity Tribunal has agreed to hear a high-profile appeal against the LGB Alliance’s charity status.

Trans youth charity Mermaids said in June that it was appealing the decision to give the anti-trans pressure group charitable status in England and Wales. The crowdfunded appeal is supported by the Good Law Project and several LGBT+ groups including the LGBT+ Consortium, Gendered Intelligence, Trans Actual and the LGBT Foundation.

After months of waiting, Mermaids announced on Wednesday (22 December) that the tribunal had agreed to hear its arguments as to why the LGB Alliance should not have been given charitable status.

The hearing will take place in May 2022.

Since its launch in October 2019, the LGB Alliance – which denies it is transphobic – has been branded a “hate group” by high-profile LGBT+ figures and organisations, including Pride in London, gay SNP MP John Nicolson, the LGBT+ Lib Dems and gay Scottish actor David Paisley.

Labour’s shadow minister for women and equalities, Taiwo Owatemi, has said the group “should be rejected by all those who believe in equality”.

Criticism has also come from LGBT+ figures including Bake Off’s Matt Lucas, It’s a Sin creator Russell T Davies and openly gay Australian footballer Josh Cavallo.

In April, the Charity Commission faced immense backlash when it announced that it had agreed to register the LGB Alliance as a charity in England and Wales.

Mermaids, which is the main claimant in the case, claimed in a press release that the LGB Alliance had wanted a separate hearing to determine whether or not Mermaids had the legal standing to bring the claim at all.

The charity believes this was an attempt to “close the conservation without having to properly explain themselves”. As such, Mermaids argued this “would only have duplicated work in the long-run”, to which the tribunal agreed.

A spokesperson for Mermaids said the group was looking forward to the hearing, where the anti-trans group “will have to explain themselves”.

“To be registered as a charity, an organisation must be established exclusively for charitable purposes,” the spokesperson added. “LGB Alliance does not stand for LGB rights, but exists to divide our community and denigrate trans people and those who support them.”

In its appeal, Mermaids said the Charity Commission “should have refused to register LGB Alliance on the ground that it is not a charity”.

The appeal added that the LGB Alliance is an organisation aiming to “restrict the legal rights and protections afforded to transgender people” as demonstrated by its lobbying of government bodies, opposition to legal reforms and accusations against charities that support the trans community.

Mermaids said in its appeal that it is seeking for the tribunal to overturn the Charity Commission’s decision to register the LGB Alliance as a charity and direct the commission to “rectify the register of charities to remove LGB Alliance”.

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