Recently, we’ve seen the impact that reinforcing and rewarding harmful groups can have on the community when cosmetics company and human rights’ advocate, Lush donated a huge lump sum to anti-trans group, A Woman’s Place UK.
This was met with a huge backlash as customers voiced the hurt and many opted to boycott the company even after an apology. Generally, the feeling was that a group that stands up for human rights should be aware of the groups and charities they’re aiding.
However, we’re now seeing this again but on an industrial scale as the LGB Alliance has been registered as a charity by the Charity Commission in England and Wales.
LGB Alliance also speaks out and campaigns against trans rights and this causes a huge amount of harm and distress to the community. To grant such an organisation charitable status suggests that the group need support, financial or otherwise, to be able to do what their group sets out to do. But no group should be campaigning against trans people. This is why the decision made by the Charity Commission is such a reckless one.
Many trans people are already feeling neglected and marginalised as a result.
The Charity Commission have responded quickly, publishing their response to the concerns expressed saying that LGB Alliance registered as a charity in March 2020 and as it met criteria for charity status, it secured charity status.
The report goes on to say: “The Commission received a number of objections to the registration of LGBA as a charity. It carefully considered these as part of making its decision."
Essentially, the Commission knew about LGB Alliance’s motives and intentions as a group, factored these into the decision process and granted them charitable status regardless.
The report concluded: “A charity can promote the rights of one or more specific groups, but may not do so whilst demeaning or denigrating the rights of others, including on social media – and the Commission will consider taking regulatory action where that occurs.”
This is a disappointing response. However, a guarantee to take action should LGB Alliance speak out against trans people is there for all to see. Just depends whether they are acted on.
This feels like a moment where the room has not been read on an epic scale. Some 36,000 people signed a petition LGB Alliance receiving charitable status last year.
Here are just a few reactions to the Charity Commission’s decision. Stonewall commented it was ‘upsetting’ given that they identified LGB Alliance as being ‘founded to oppose our work towards trans rights’. MP John Nicholson has written to the Charity Commission direct noting: ‘Being on the end of the Alliance’s venom has been unpleasant for me as a politician, but I’m infinitely more concerned about the traumatic effect it activities have on one of the most vulnerable groups in society: trans people.’
Meanwhile LGBT Foundation commented that the decision had ‘caused a lot of pain for trans and non-binary people.’
We only hope the Charity Commission are better at keeping their word than the Government given its flip flopping over banning conversion therapy. The community does not need false promises, but action for equality.
We stand with the trans community, always.