LGB Alliance says trans women can’t be lesbians in ‘demeaning’ anti-trans newspaper ad

The LGB Alliance has a new full-page advert about 'what makes a lesbian'

The anti-trans charity LGB Alliance has taken out a full-page advert in Scottish newspaper The Herald ahead of tomorrow’s election, urging people not to vote for candidates who believe trans women are women.

“What is a lesbian?” is the headline of the advert, which also carried the group’s logo and a cartoon of a ballot paper going into a box labelled “vote”.

“It may seem obvious,” the advert continues. “Surely everyone knows the answer.”

It goes on to make several dubious claims, including that trans women who are yet to undergo gender reassignment are not women – despite the Equality Act 2010 protecting trans people who intend to undergo gender reassignment – that women are being removed from dating apps because they state they are only attracted to “biological women”, and that lesbians are being accused of being transphobic for not wanting to date trans women.

The LGB Alliance was last month granted official charity status by the Charity Commission, a government body, and entered onto the register of charities in England and Wales. At the time the status was granted, the Scottish branch of the LGB Alliance had yet to apply for charitable status.

There were “a number of objections to the registration of LGBA as a charity”, the commission said in its decision about registering the LGB Alliance. 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.

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.”

Asked today whether the advert in The Herald breached the Charity Commission’s code of conduct for charities, a Charity Commission spokesperson said: “We will assess the issues raised to determine whether they fall within our regulatory remit.”

It’s the third time the LGB Alliance has paid for full-page newspaper adverts, after a December 2020 “letter” to Boris Johnson urging him to talk to the group about trans women in sport ran in two Scottish papers, and a January 2020 advert that, also in two papers, lobbied against Gender Recognition Act reform.

The watchdog Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received hundreds of complaints about LGB Alliance’s previous adverts, and warned it about “potentially misleading” claims in its January 2020 advert about the GRA.

The LGB Alliance advert said that GRA reform would create a “gender free-for-all” and is “a law that could be exploited by predatory men who wish to hurt women and girls”.

“We contacted the advertiser to make them aware of the potential misleadingness in their advertising with reference to the claims of what the implications of the legislation will be, because the legislation it refers to is still under consultation,” the ASA told PinkNews at the time.

The ASA and LGB Alliance has been contacted for comment.