LGB Alliance co-founder claims lesbian, gay and bisexual children do not exist
LGB Alliance co-founder Kate Harris has said there is no such thing as an LGB child – despite the charity planning a helpline for LGB children.
Harris’ cross-examination began on Wednesday (14 September), and continued on Thursday (15 September), as part of the tribunal to ascertain whether the decision by the Charity Commission to register LGB Alliance as a charity in April 2021 was correct.
The appeal against this decision was brought by trans children’s charity Mermaids, supported by LGBT+ Consortium, Gendered Intelligence, LGBT Foundation, TransActual and Good Law Project, which argues LGB Alliance’s purpose is not to advance the rights of LGB people, but instead to denigrate the rights of trans people.
Giving evidence on Thursday, Harris insisted that the charity’s view on trans rights was: “We have never campaigned against them, and we never will.”
However, she also said: “The word lesbian is taken by us… we will not have it stolen from us. We will not be erased, and we will not have any man with a penis tell us he is a lesbian because he feels he is.”
Later, addressing a meeting between LGB Alliance and the Conservative Party’s former equalities minister Mike Freer in January of this year, Harris said the group had been eager to oppose a conversion therapy ban that covered trans people, and to discuss affirmative healthcare for trans kids, which she described as a “huge conversion therapy operation”.
When Harris was asked by Mermaids counsel Michael Gibbon KC whether LGB Alliance was “seeking to influence the government against Mermaids and trans rights”, she responded: “Yes.”
1./ Conversion Therapy Update. We were delighted yesterday to meet @MinFreerHMG, Baroness Stedman-Scott and the team working on the UK's proposed Ban We believe we made progress in showing how the wrong type of Conversion Therapy Ban could end up harming LGB youth. /1 of 21
— LGB Alliance (@ALLIANCELGB) January 21, 2022
Asking if her reference to a “huge conversion therapy operation” could be understood to mean the belief that Mermaids promoted “transing the gay away”, Harris again responded: “Yes.”
LGB Alliance has argued that Mermaids has no legal standing to file its appeal because it is not affected by its campaigning, but as well as admitting to trying to “influence the government against Mermaids”, Harris also admitted in court to “attacking them and their views”.
“Whether that undermines them, I don’t know,” she added.
The LGB Alliance co-founder spoke at length about the group’s “work” surrounding children, which has included blocking trans-inclusive education and affirmative healthcare for trans youth.
But Harris said that LGB Alliance aimed to “show children that being LGB is a happy thing, not to help LGB children because I don’t believe LGB children exist”.
This morning has been something else.
We have had:
• denial that children can know they’re LGB
• confirmation that LGBA are acting outwith their charitable objects
• confirmed targeting of Mermaids which basically addresses the standing point— A Mere Solicitor (@truesolicitor) September 15, 2022
Strangely – considering Harris doesn’t believe LGB children exist – LGB Alliance has been “working hard” on setting up a helpline aimed at LGB young people between the ages of 13 and 25.
The helpline was addressed by the second witness to be cross-examined on Thursday – LGB Alliance’s chair of trustees, Eileen Gallagher.
Gallagher joined LGB Alliance as chair of trustees in May 2021, when the group was already registered as a charity, and said her role involved “making sure it fulfilled its charitable objects”.
However, when walked through her witness statement by Gibbon, Gallagher gave many reasons for why projects aimed specifically at LGB people – for example the helpline, a film about gay history for Queen Elizabeth II’s 2022 jubilee, and a report of the experiences of LGB NHS workers – had failed to materialise.
These included “we really have no staff and no resources”, and “because we’ve been labelled as a hate group, it’s very hard to get people to give us money”.
“Trust me,” Gallagher added, “we have really good intentions and we will get round to it.”
On the helpline itself, for which LGB Alliance was given a £9,000 grant by the National Lottery Community Fund for “scoping”, Gibbon noted that it was now two-and-a-half years since it was first proposed.
Gallagher said there had been “great strides” in preparations for the helpline, but that LGB Alliance needed more advice on safeguarding.
One document included in Gallagher’s witness statement showed that the Safe Schools Alliance, a group which campaigns against the “adoption of gender identity ideology in schools”, was already on board to help set up and monitor safeguarding procedures for the helpline.
Gibbon noted that a representative for Safe Schools Alliance spoke at the first LGB Alliance conference, on a panel which was initially titled “Erasing the gay: Is gender identity gay conversion or child abuse?” The panel was later renamed to have a different “tone”.
Asked by Gibbon what “kind of conversations [LGB Alliance] would have with a vulnerable young person” via the helpline, Gallagher said she didn’t know, but added: “I’m very involved, I’m sure they’ve had these discussions.”
Thursday was the fifth and final day of evidence in the appeal against LGB Alliance’s charitable status. Although the tribunal was intended to finish on Thursday, it has been extended to include a further two days for submissions.
The tribunal will return to London’s General Regulatory Chamber on 7 and 8 November 2022.
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