UK

Queer community ‘shocked’ after LGB Alliance handed National Lottery grant

Lily Wakefield June 12, 2022
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An activist holds a transgender pride flag at a protest by Transgender Action Block and supporters outside the first annual conference of the LGB Alliance at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre on 21st October 2021.

An activist holds a transgender Pride flag at a protest by Transgender Action Block outside the first conference of the LGB Alliance on 21 October 2021. (Getty/ Mark Kerrison)

The queer community has been left “shocked” after LGB Alliance announced that it had been handed a National Lottery grant to set up a helpline for young people.

In a statement released on Friday (10 June), the group said: “LGB Alliance has been successful in its application for a gran from the National Lottery Community Fund to plan and scope a helpline for young lesbian, gay and bisexual people and their families and friends.”

LGB Alliance said the proposed helpline, which would operate online and by phone, would “serve young people aged between 13 and 25” and is “anticipated to have the capacity to respond to up to 60,000” calls per year.

It continued: “Currently there is no dedicated national service of this type for young LGB people in the UK and we are delighted that our proposed helpline will fill this gap in existing provision.

“We will use this grant to make an accurate assessment of need and to plan a robust and appropriate response, designed to support as wide a range of young LGB people, and their loved ones, as possible.”

The queer community immediately expressed concern at the idea of LGB Alliance, which campaigns against “the damaging theory of gender identity”, giving advice to young people.

LGBT+ Glitterati, an LGBTQ+ community organisation, tweeted: “This is a very worrying development. LGB Alliance, an organisation that compared the LGBTQ+ community to bestiality and claims openly that “there is no LGBT+ community”, has been given lottery funding to set up a phone line to talk to vulnerable young people. A shocking decision.”

The organisation encouraged the queer community to contact the National Lottery Community Fund to “query how an organisation with a track record as contentious and controversial as the LGB Alliance, which exists specifically to exclude trans and non-binary people, and campaigned against banning conversion therapy, has been awarded funding”.

Responding to the helpline funding, Rob McDowall, chair of Welfare Scotland and former grants officer for the National Lottery Community Fund’s predecessor, tweeted: “As a former Grants Officer at the BIG Lottery Fund (the predecessor agency), I’ll be raising my concerns with the fund. I don’t see how this award to this organisation has come about.”

The LGB Alliance has campaigned against a legislative ban on conversion therapy in the UK,  and claims that gender-affirming healthcare for young people is itself conversion therapy, although it continues to deny being transphobic.

The group is currently facing a high-profile appeal against the Charity Commission’s decision to register the group as a charity, and a tribunal hearing is expected later this year.

In April, funding by Arts Council England’s Let’s Create Jubilee Fund, which awarded National Lottery funds for creative projects to mark the platinum jubilee, was withdrawn from the LGB Alliance.

PinkNews has approached the National Lottery Community Fund for comment.

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