Anti-trans pressure group LGB Alliance officially recognised as a charity

LGB Alliance logo

The notoriously anti-trans pressure group LGB Alliance has today been registered as a charity in England and Wales.

The Charity Commission, a government department that registers and regulates charities in England and Wales, has confirmed that it has approved the LGB Alliance for entrance onto the register of public charities.

There were “a number of objections to the registration of LGBA as a charity”, the commission said. This includes nearly 35,000 people who signed a petition urging the Charity Commission to reject the LGB Alliance’s application to be registered as a charity on the grounds that it is an anti-trans hate group.

“The commission looked at whether LGB Alliance’s purpose inevitably involves the denigration of the rights of transgender people and considered that it did not,” says the Charity Commission’s full decision on the LGB Alliance’s successful application.

“The commission noted that LGB Alliance asserts that it engages constructively and respectfully with representatives of the transgender community, has a number of supporters within the transgender community, invited transgender supporters to attend and speak at the meetings it has held and has spoken publicly about its commitment to equality and respect for transgender people.”

In December 2020, Ofcom boss Melanie Dawes told MPs it’s “entirely inappropriate” to quote the LGB Alliance on trans-related issues, saying it would be akin to quoting racist organisations on issues related to racial equality.

Since it launched in October 2019, the LGB Alliance, which strongly denies it is transphobic, has been branded a “hate group” by many in the LGBT+ community, including Pride in London, gay SNP MP John Nicolson, the LGBT+ Lib Dems, gay Scottish actor David Paisley and the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights.

And the pressure group has faced heavy criticism for refusing to denounce its neo-Nazi and homophobe supporters, for backing director Malcom Clark’s view that schools should not have LGBT+ clubs because of “predatory gay teachers“, and for standing by co-founder Bev Jackson defending working with the anti-abortion and anti-LGBT+ Heritage Foundation.

As a charity, LGB Alliance’s “position will be there are only two sexes and gender is a social construct, and that this perspective should form part of the discussion about these issues,” the Charity Commission said.

“LGB Alliance explains its position on the basis that it seeks to protect women and young people in particular. It argues, for example, that some spaces should be limited to biological women where they are potentially at risk.

“LGB Alliance is also concerned about the support and after care that is provided for young people who are uncertain about their gender identity and when applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate.”

Maya Forstater case considered in charity registration decision

The Charity Commission said it considered the case of Maya Forstater in making its decision.

Forstater is a tax researcher whose job contract at a think-tank was not renewed after she repeatedly stated that trans women are men and vocally opposed trans rights reforms online. Her case became infamous after author JK Rowling tweeted in support of Forstater after she lost an employment tribunal, at which she’d unsuccessfully tried to argue that her “gender critical” beliefs – shared by the LGB Alliance – should be protected by law.

“The tribunal concluded that ‘the totality of the evidence, that [Forstater] is absolutist in her view of sex and it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment’,” the commission noted.

However, it said that “the fact that a particular belief does not attract such protection does not necessarily compel the finding that the promotion of rights, or the education of the public, in accordance with such a belief cannot be charitable”.

LGB Alliance made to ‘review and revise’ social-media policy after Charity Commission flagged ‘inflammatory and offensive’ posts

The Charity Commission also said that in the course of registering the LGB Alliance as a charity – which has taken more than a year – it found “some evidence of social-media activity by LGB Alliance […] may be regarded as inflammatory and offensive”.

“The commission was concerned that, although it promoted the rights of some groups, the activity appeared to involve, at times, demeaning or denigrating the rights (recognised by law) of others,” the commission said.

After these concerns were raised with the LGB Alliance, it “reviewed and revised its social media policy”.

“LGB Alliance stated that it intended to adopt a less defensive and confrontational approach to social media engagement. The revised social media policy places a focus on the language and tone of the social media posts and states that staff must never: unlawfully discriminate; make offensive, abusive or threatening comments or harass or bully other people in any way or breach any laws or ethical standards,” the commission said.

It added: “Registered charities fall under the commission’s regulation and their trustees must continuously meet the legal duties and responsibilities set down under charity law. A charity can promote the rights of one or more specific groups, but may not do so while demeaning or denigrating the rights of others, including on social media – and the commission will consider taking regulatory action where that occurs.”

The LGB Alliance has been entered onto the public register of charities today, but it will not show up on the public register until tomorrow.