- Battle of the petitions.
Campaigners are fighting to stop a UK anti-trans organisation The LGB Alliance from becoming an official charity.
The LGB Alliance officially launched last year and their main campaign has been to undermine transgender rights.
Now it is trying to achieve charity status which brings various benefits, including tax breaks.
But a petition to stop it has reached over 16,000 signatures in less than a week.
Under British law, charities have to formally register with The Charity Commission. Moreover, the commission can veto them if they don’t meet the rules. These include having a ‘charitable purpose’ under British law and not having a ‘political purpose’ – like promoting a political party.
In fact, the law is highly complex and some would argue nonsensical. Many charities, including LGBT+ ones, do campaign for legal and government policy changes while staying within charity law.
But the pro-trans LGBT+ campaigners say that The LGB Alliance is merely a transphobic hate organization. And they say it only exists to undermine plans to update the UK’s Gender Recognition Act (GRA).
The UK government has long stalled on reforming the GRA. In large part this is due to the chaos of Brexit meaning little government bandwidth was available for anything else.
But the vacuum this has left in the future of transgender rights in the country has allowed or even encouraged transphobia to flourish.
They do not represent my community
The petition against The LGB Alliance was started by Jaime Walker. In the wording of the petition, Walker says:
‘Preventing GRA reform does not further any charitable aim for LGBT+ people.
‘LGB Alliance do not meet the criteria to be considered an official charity and their application must be rejected.
The LGB Alliance has consistently undermined the Equality Act, which is a piece of legislation that protects all LGBT+ people from discrimination.
‘The LGB Alliance does not represent my LGBT+ community. We reject anti-trans rhetoric and support our fellow community members. Trans rights are human rights, they do not conflict with the rights of other members of the LGBT+ community.’
The other petition
However, there is another petition which has garnered less support.
From the outset, The LGB Alliance has aimed to change policy at Stonewall, the UK LGBT campaign organization.
Stonewall’s founders created it as a ‘lesbian, gay and bisexual’ organization in 1989. But in 2015 it finally updated its approach to include transgender rights campaigning.
Many of The LGB Alliance supporters claim to be former backers of Stonewall. Perhaps the most notable is broadcaster turned corporate consultant Simon Fanshawe, a co-founder of Stonewall.
Indeed mainstream newspapers claimed last year the new anti-trans group represents the fact Stonewall’s support base has split. However, these reports were largely exaggerated.
Against this backdrop, The LGB Alliance started a petition in October 2018 which is still running 18 months later.
It calls on Stonewall to rethink it policy of doing transgender rights work.
However, that petition is still struggling to break its 10,000 target – with just 9,869 signatures to date.
Scottish actor and director David Paisley supported the petition against the alliance getting charity status. He tweeted:
‘The anti-trans petition against was featured in the Times and the Telegraph.
‘Our wee petition has only been going three days and it’s already garnered far more support! Amazing.’