Tories blasted for hosting anti-trans LGB Alliance at party conference for second year in a row

LGB Alliance members at a stall at the Conservative Party conference

The Conservative Party is facing criticism after it allowed the LGB Alliance to host a stall at its conference for the second year running.

There was immediate backlash on Sunday (2 October) when LGB Alliance shared a picture of some of its members standing at its Conservative Party conference stall.

A sign at the stall, which was photographed and shared on Twitter, reads: “Hello! We’re the LGB people speaking out about the medicalisation of gay teens. Let’s have a conversation.”

Many social media users criticised both LGB Alliance and the Conservative Party in response, with some asking why the party had allowed the anti-trans pressure group to have a stall for the second time.

However, the feeling from some LGBTQ+ people within the Conservative Party is that LGB Alliance should be allowed to have a stall, even if queer members don’t necessarily agree with their views.

“They had a stand last year,” former equalities minister Mike Freer told PinkNews. “While I don’t agree with their views, they are free to be there and be subject to counter views of LGBTory [LGBT+ Conservatives], other activists, etc.”

He added: “When equalities minister I met with [a] variety of organisations with views I didn’t share. Pushing back on their views is important, rather than giving them free publicity by trying to ban them.”

An activist holds a transgender pride flag at a protest by Transgender Action Block and supporters outside the first annual conference of the LGB Alliance at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre on 21st October 2021.

An activist holds a transgender pride flag at a protest by Transgender Action Block and supporters outside the first annual conference of the LGB Alliance at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre on 21st October 2021. (Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty)

LGBT+ Conservatives, the party’s official LGBTQ+ group, is also at the party conference. One member, who asked not to be named, said LGB Alliance’s charity status makes it difficult for the party to object to their presence.

“Of course, I’d rather the LGB Alliance didn’t have a stall at conference,” the member said.

“But their current status as a registered charity has given them legitimacy, and I don’t believe that the party should be getting into determining which charities are and aren’t allowed to have stalls at conference.

“I know LGBT+ Conservatives remain much more focused on our own work making the case to government for LGBT+ rights in a whole load of policy areas.

“At conference itself that means we’re focused on talking with members on our own stall and our busy programme of events, including our jointly hosted receptions with Terrence Higgins Trust and Stonewall.”

LGB Alliance and Tories are ‘natural bedfellows’

Others were not in favour of LGB Alliance being given a slot – India Willoughby, a trans television presenter, told PinkNews that the decision to grant LGB Alliance a conference slot was “a con”.

“The whole country knows we have an extreme government that is ideologically driven – so the Conservatives and the LGB Alliance make natural bedfellows,” Willoughby said.

“It’s clear what the Tory dream scenario is: get rid of good LGBT+ charities like Mermaids and Stonewall by constant demonisation – and replace them with the black shirts.

“It’s a con – a fraud. They should rename themselves the KGB Alliance – closer to the truth, given they have so much in common with Vlad.”

Countless others criticised both the Tories and LGB Alliance on social media.

LGB Alliance has faced reams of criticism since it was set up in 2019 by Bev Jackson, Kate Harris, Allison Bailey, Malcolm Clark and Ann Sinnott.

Speaking to The Telegraph at the time of the group’s creation, Harris said: “We welcome the support of anyone – gay, straight or trans – as long as they support our commitment to freedom of speech and biological definitions of sex.

“So we are a very broad and accepting group. We will be called transphobic, but we’re not.”

The organisation, which was controversially granted charity status by the Charity Commission, has since campaigned against trans rights and inclusion.

In its short history, LGB Alliance has criticised the census for asking respondents to list their “sex registered at birth”, and it has also been critical of since scrapped plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act (GRA).

Mermaids and other LGBTQ+ organisations are currently spearheading a legal challenge against LGB Alliance’s charity status.

PinkNews has contacted the Conservative Party and LGB Alliance for comment.