Here’s what’s happening and why it’s important
BY KATE STRONG
Mermaids, a trans youth charity has bought both the Charities Commission and the LGB Alliance (LGBA) to court to argue that the trans excluding charity does not meet the requirements to maintain their charitable status.
If you aren’t familiar with the background of the LGBA, they were founded in 2019 under the guise of standing up for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, however their actions mainly focused on lobbying against transgender rights.
One of the co-founders of the organisation is Allison Bailey, a lesbian and barrister who has recently waged a legal war (and lost) against LGBTQIA charity Stonewall. She has been known to voice her anti-trans opinions on Twitter and has likened chest binding to self-harm and accused AFAB (assigned female at birth) people who identify away from their given gender at birth of misogyny.
Since the groups beginning, it has painted the trans community as a danger to women and children and has relentlessly promoted the High Court case that ruled under 18s could not be prescribed puberty blockers (this case has since been overruled). Their views also accuse trans-rights of erasing people who feel same-sex attraction. In an LGBA speech, co-founder Kate Harris insisted she was “100% sure.” that if she had been taught about different gender identities in school, she would have been “fast-tracked on to puberty blockers, insisted on hormone treatment and no doubt ended up having surgery”, instead of “growing up to become a happy lesbian”
Another LGBA co-founder is former Labour councillor, Ann Sinnott, who in 2018 quit Cambridge council due to trans women being allowed to access female bathrooms. However, she quit her position as a director for LGBA after 18 months.
When LGBA applied for charity status, many LGBTQIA charities came together to appeal against the Charity Commission’s decision to register them. Over 40,000 people had signed a petition asking for the application to be rejected on the grounds they were an anti-trans group. Despite this, they were accepted in April 2021.
This brings us to today, where Mermaids have stepped in to bring both the LGB Alliance and the Charity Commission to court to argue that the alliance does not fulfil the two main criteria points to be classed as a charity under the Charities Act 2011.
Mermaids has argued that LGBA does not meet the charity criteria as an organisation’s objectives “give rise to tangible, legally recognised benefits that outweigh any associated harms” and that they “benefit the public or a sufficient section of the public.”
When it comes to the section of the public they serve, Mermaids argue that they only serve lesbian, gay and bisexual people who share their same trans-exclusive views, which is not a sufficient sector of the public.
LGBA are trying to defend themselves by countering that by solely serving transgender people, Mermaids are operating in the same way as them and have stated “It is therefore hypocritical for Mermaids to suggest LGB Alliance’s objects are illegitimate or too narrow.”
This is an ongoing court case. We will expect to hear more as it continues.
If LGBA are allowed to keep their charity status, it will allow them to keep their voice over anti-trans rights heard. By disguising themselves as a charity, it makes them appear as though they stand for a community, yet they are bringing more harm than good by trying to create a divide between different sets of marginalised identities who otherwise stand together as allies.
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