Conservative police commissioner claims Stonewall’s work poses ‘a threat to women’

Lisa Townsend speaks in a YouTube video

Stonewall has said it is “proud” of its diversity champions programme after a police commissioner said the charity poses “a threat to women”.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Conservative Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend accused the trailblazing LGBT+ rights charity of pushing a “dangerous ideology” because it supports trans rights.

Among the many initiatives run by Stonewall is the diversity champions programme, which sees the charity work with more than 900 external organisations to empower LGBT+ staff.

Townsend is now demanding Surrey police bow out of the diversity champions programme, claiming Stonewall “risks putting feminism back 50 years”.

“Police forces, in an attempt to correct many of the wrongs committed against minorities in the past, are being naive if they believe that Stonewall are anything but a well-funded lobby group for a dangerous ideology that threatens the safety of our women and girls,” Townsend told the newspaper.

She went on to say she was once “proud to support Stonewall”, but claimed the charity’s pioneering efforts to advance trans people’s rights in the UK has made it misogynistic.

“Stonewall, which has drifted so far from its original mission is now a threat to women and risks putting feminism back 50 years,” she said.

Elsewhere in her interview, Townsend railed against self-identification for trans people – a reform that would streamline and de-medicalise legal gender recognition – and claimed women’s refuges are “terrified” they will be forced to “admit males”.

Stonewall says it helps organisations empower LGBT+ staff

Responding to Townsend’s comments, a Stonewall spokesperson told PinkNews its diversity champions programme operates in line with the Equality Act 2010, adding that the charity’s work helps create “inclusive working environments”.

“Our diversity champions programme provides advice, support and resources to organisations on meeting their statutory requirements under the Equality Act 2010,” the spokesperson said.

“In 2021, it’s unacceptable that LGBTQ+ people are still held back because of who we are and our research shows that more than a third (35 per cent) of LGBTQ+ people have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination.

“Every employer needs to ensure that their staff, including LGBTQ+ staff, are free from discrimination and prejudice at work, and our diversity champions programme is one way for organisations to be supported to meet this requirement.

“We’re very proud of our work with over 900 organisations to help them create inclusive working environments where LGBTQ+ staff can thrive as themselves.”

Townsend’s comments come less than 24 hours after Conservative MP Crispin Blunt and trans Tory Sue Pascoe hit out at the British media for driving a “moral panic” over trans kids.

In an article for Conservative Home, Blunt and Pascoe said some factions of the UK’s national media are “misreporting” facts about trans children to stoke controversy.

“The media are creating moral panic just as was done in the run up to Section 28 being enacted,” Blunt and Pascoe wrote.

They went on to say that history “is being repeated”, arguing that the media commentary surrounding trans people is the same as the “debate” that took place in the 1980s.