Two commissioners for EHRC are representing LGB Alliance in their court battle to maintain their charity status, which has been challenged by a coalition of LGBTQIA+ groups, led by Mermaids UK.

The trans community have been described as “going to war with the EHRC” and whereas I don’t disagree there is a lot of anger towards them I don’t think it’s by any means unwarranted. Not least given that two commissioners from the EHRC are representing LGB Alliance in court this week.

It’s important to note that they are not doing this in an official capacity as part of the EHRC. They are doing this as part of their own work elsewhere separate to the EHRC. Nonetheless the proximity of transphobic organising to EHRC is something worth talking about.

As we covered already, the lawsuit against LGB Alliance is brought by a coalition of LGBTQIA+ charities led by Mermaids UK. They seek the removal of LGB Alliance’s charity status, a status which many in the LGBTQIA+ community believe is dangerous to give to a group widely described as a hate group.

What we didn’t cover in that article is the fact that two commissioners from EHRC are representing LGB Alliance in this court battle. Akua Reindorf and Karon Monaghan both work for the EHRC and have also cropped up in support of anti-trans activity elsewhere too.

Akua Reindorf in particular is noted from “the Reindorf report” which helped kick-start the campaign against Stonewall’s diversity champions and workplace equality index lists. In a report she wrote she claims that Stonewall are “erroneously applying the law” when they state Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to discriminate against or treat someone
unfairly because of their gender identity or trans status”.

She claims this is an error due to the fact that “trans status” and “gender identity” are not protected characteristics under the law. But as a normal person who isn’t looking desperately to find a loophole in order to give bigots wiggle room; it’s pretty clear this language is used to simplify the actual protected characteristic of “gender reassignment”.

“Gender reassignment” does indeed make discrimination against transgender people mostly unlawful, however no one knows what it means and its phrasing is often misleading. A person is not required to have undergone medical or surgical reassignment of any kind to be protected under “gender reassignment” and a judge has held that it also protects genderfluid and nonbinary people too – so rephrasing this to say “gender identity or trans status” isn’t really the be all and end all Reindorf and her transphobic supporters held it up to be.

This is, nonetheless, a big part of what is known as “Stonewall Law” amongst anti-trans campaigners. Their belief that Stonewall are lying about how the law works has led them to put in work to convince people of that fact. Such as the vexatious use of the Freedom of Information Act by anti-trans campaigners, who sent out hundreds of requests to local authorities and the subsequent attempt and failure to sue Stonewall by Allison Bailey – an LGB Alliance founder.

LGB Alliance was founded in opposition to Stonewall. Specifically in their response to the consultation for GRA reform they state that they formed due to Stonewall’s slogan at the time “no debate” regarding the human rights of people, including the transgender ones. A statement which I, a normal human being not looking to create wiggle room for bigotry read as; “I’m not arguing with you about this, all people deserve human rights”. However appears to be read as “you are not allowed to talk about this ever” by transphobes.

So it can’t be understated that when two commissioners for EHRC are representing LGB Alliance in this against the LGBTQIA+ community; that this is a conflict of interest. This isn’t EHRC’s balancing of rights or impartially applying the law, which was at the time an okay excuse for helping Forstater overturn her loss at tribunal. This is a demonstration of a commitment to support the rights of anti-trans campaigners above the rights of anyone else.

The former head of EHRC stepped down in 2020 stating “My view is that an independent regulator shouldn’t be in a position where the governments of the day can actually influence the appointments of that body to support a particular ideology”. Stonewall have started a petition and campaign to downgrade the EHRC alongside marking it out as “not fit for purpose”.

The EHRC is a completely broken organisation and I hope that by talking about its clear bias in support of anti-trans campaigners and narratives we can do something about it. Because something needs to be done before they do any more harm to trans people’s liberation.