UK

Trades Union Congress vows to fight anti-trans LGB Alliance in near-unanimous vote

Josh Milton July 2, 2022
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Protesters march with placards and trades union banners as part of a Trade Union Congress (TUC) demo

Members of countless trade unions have voted to back trans rights. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has voted overwhelmingly to lobby against the LGB Alliance’s controversial charitable status.

The TUC, which represents 5.5 million workers across 48 trade unions, held a vote on the LGB Alliance at its annual LGBTQ+ Conference at London’s Congress House on Thursday (30 June).

Members of unions, from healthcare to teaching, united to condemn the anti-trans pressure group’s charitable status, awarded in 2021 by the Charity Commission.

The proposed motion said: “This conference condemns any transphobic organisation who are awarded charity status by the Charity Commission. Charity status enables them to apply for grant funding, claim tax relief and be recognised as a force for social good.”

The LGB Alliance, which campaigns against trans rights reforms, gender-affirming care for young trans people and trans people’s access to single-sex spaces, among other things, denies it is transphobic.

The motion called on the TUC LGBT+ Committee, which advises the TUC general council, to lobby MPs and campaign to prevent an anti-trans group from being registered charity status ever again.

“Organisations whose sole aim is to divide the LGBT+ community and ostracise trans and non-binary people are not for the greater good,” it read.

The motion passed with 200 votes with just a single member opposing.

David Braniff-Herbert, the lead organiser for LGBTQ+ educators for the National Education Union, was among the majority of TUC members who voted against the LGB Alliance’s charitable status.

“It’s obvious that the LGB Alliance is a front group for the ‘gender critical’ movement — its own data suggests that not many LGB people are part of it. So whose alliance is it anyway?” he tells PinkNews.

“Unions represent over six million workers in this country and who does the LGB Alliance represent? Just a gaggle of tired people who spout hate and are rarely LGB themselves.

“It really does seem their supporters are simply just a crew of Twitter trolls who enact bizarre pile-ons.”

When Braniff-Herbert tweeted the result of the vote, he says he was almost immediately targeted by anti-trans Twitter users in a pile-on similar to those that routinely meet pro-trans gay journalists, mental health charities and the United Nations Women.

The morning following the vote, he received mail sent to the National Education Union which included “homosexual information” warning of the “advance of transgender agenda” and “how gender ideology harms children”.

One document included a hand-written message, reading: “‘Biologically impossible’ to change your sex.”

The sender referred to two Bible passages, including Galatians 6:7: “God is not mocked. Whatsoever a person sows that also shall they reap.”

For “those that lead young people astray”, the author quoted Matt 28:16: “Better for them that millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

David Braniff-Herbert says he received transphobic hate mail following the vote. (David Braniff-Herbert)

Trades Union Congress votes to stand with Stonewall

In a second moment of solidarity, union members also overwhelmingly approved a motion for unions across the nation to do what they can to protect Stonewall.

The LGBTQ+ charity has faced what it describes as a “coordinated attack” from the government and the right-wing press for siding with trans people. At the urging of equalities minister Liz Truss, several government departments dropped out of a Stonewall diversity scheme for employers.

The BBC, which similarly quit Stonewall’s scheme, published a controversial “investigation” into the charity that was met with intense criticism from lawmakers and activists alike.

The Communication Workers Union, which represents call centre and postal delivery workers, proposed a motion which read: “We stand in solidary with Stonewall who remain at the forefront of the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights as well as for collectivism and we, as a movement, need to step up as allies with trans and non-binary people.”

Congress House erupted with thunderous applause when the motion was passed.

TUC vowed to pressure the government to rejoin Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme and to use unions like a buffer to prevent more companies from dropping out. 

TUC delegates also passed motions calling for greater support for trans and non-binary workers, challenging the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to be “trans-inclusive” and to form a multi-union alliance for trans rights.

The LGB Alliance is one of Britain’s most high-decibel anti-trans groups. It has faced backlash for refusing to denounce its neo-Nazi supporters and for its founder saying schools should not have LGBTQ+ clubs because of “predatory gay teachers“.

In 2021, the Charity Commission awarded the pressure group charity status, a move met with shock and anger from LGBTQ+ groups.

The agency, which registers and regulates charities in England and Wales, said the LGB Alliance does not advocate for the “denigration of the rights of transgender people“. It is facing an appeal against the decision.

More: lgb alliance, trades union congress

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