A document from 2020 obtained by Trans Writes reveals that the Government Equalities Offices were completely aware of LGB Alliance’s anti-trans lobbying before meeting with them. Jess O’Thomson writes;
The document, addressed to now Minister for Equalities Kemi Badenoch and dated July 2020, outlines the LGB Alliance’s ‘lobbying priorities’ in advance of an introductory meeting. These lobbying priorities include ‘ Relationships and Sex Education guidance in schools, GRA reform, healthcare for young people who are questioning their gender, and diversity of thought on sex and gender identity’. These priorities do not appear to be focused on the advancement of LGB rights and instead are evidence of LGB Alliance’s anti-trans lobbying.
This is particularly significant given the recent concerns over LGB Alliance’s charity status. In a recent case, Mermaids appealed the decision by the Charity Commission to allow LGB Alliance to register with Mermaids arguing that LGBA’s real focus was ‘hostile anti-trans activism’ as opposed to the promotion of lesbian, gay and bisexual rights.
LGB Alliance relied on evidence concerning their work towards the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, one of their charitable aims, in defense. Ultimately, the tribunal did not reach a decision on whether the Charity Commission were correct to register LGB Alliance due to their finding that Mermaids did not have the standing to bring a challenge.
LGB Alliance has been vocally criticised for its failure to advocate for LGB rights. Of course, supporters insist that LGB Alliance’s anti-trans lobbying is done in service of protecting LGB rights. However, LGB Alliance has remained strangely silent on many serious issues affecting the LGB community. Most recently, LGB Alliance has failed to publicly comment on Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s disparaging comments about gay asylum seekers, despite numerous calls on social media for them to do so.
LGB Alliance has also failed to progress pro-LGB projects for which they have recieved funding. Early last year, LGB Alliance was awared £9000 from the National Lottery Community Fund to set-up a helpline for LGB youth. This project was cited by LGB Alliance in defense of their pro-LGB work in response to Mermaids’ legal challenge.
However, there have been no updates on this project since its initial announcement in June 2022.
Despite this and in the meantime, LGB Alliance has continued to issue documents to various stakeholders outlining their opposition to the promotion of ‘gender identity ideology’. Showing how LGB Alliance’s work has focused almost exclusively on anti-trans campaigning.
The briefing note also shows the Government were aware of LGB Alliance’s anti trans lobbying via acknowledging that ‘LGB Alliance say they are critical of the concept of gender identity and believe that it poses a danger to the rights of LGB people and women’. This is concerning from a human rights perspective as it shows LGB Alliance deliberately focusing on campaigning against human rights protection.
The concept of ‘gender identity’ is recognised within international human rights law, and it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of it. Despite this LGB Alliance describes the concept as a threat to others in a way that stigmatises trans identity and suggests it is not a proper basis for affording human rights protection.
This undermines the group’s claim to the protection of ‘gender critical’ beliefs as ‘worthy of respect in a democratic society’, on which they and other anti-trans advocacy groups rely for legal protection as well as public legitimacy. This is important because, in order to warrant such protection, these beliefs ‘must not conflict with the fundamental rights of others’.
Article 17 of the European Convention on Human Rights explicitly denies protection to those who would seek to use the Convention (such as its guarantees of freedom of belief and expression) to destroy the rights and freedoms set forth within it. By framing an important human rights concept as a threat to others, the LGB Alliance veers dangerously close to this.
This would position the organisation as campaigning outside of human rights frameworks and relevant legal protection. It is worrying that although LGB Alliance’s anti-trans lobbying was acknowledged by the Government Equalities Office, they proceeded to meet with the group regardless.
Trans Writes reached out to the government for comment on our findings, but did not receive a response.
This article was funded by LGBT+ Futures: Equity Fund is a two-year £786,000 partnership between Consortium and The National Lottery Community Fund, designed to help community-led and grassroot organisations supporting some of the most under-represented and marginalised LGBT+ communities. Read more here.