Once upon a time an organisation was established to campaign for gay and lesbian rights. They faced opposition from the outset. They were widely condemned, even called out as a hate group when they talked about same-sex attraction. When they sought charitable status, a petition was launched, urging the Charities Commission to reject the application. Tens of thousands of people signed it.
But this was not the dark days of the 1980s, when Section 28 stopped councils and schools ‘promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’. This is now.
LGB Alliance was formed in 2019 to promote the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. It also sought to advance education and raise awareness in equality and diversity in respect of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Its founders Bev Jackson and Kate Harris were veteran lesbian campaigners. They were joined by filmmaker Malcolm Clark and barrister Allison Bailey, and supported by Simon Fanshawe, a founding member of Stonewall UK thirty years earlier. These are good people with noble aims.
Yet the Alliance’s application for charitable status in March 2020 provoked an outrageous petition. 40,000 people have put their names to the attempt to ‘Stop LGB Alliance Gaining Charity Status’.
There is no fire behind all that smoke, though; it is all hot air. The petition is nonsense. It says that ‘LGB Alliance believe(s) in the concept of ‘adult human female’ which disregards trans people.’ But isn’t ‘adult human female’ a concept that almost everyone outside the trans rights mob recognises?
Thankfully, the Charity Commission has seen sense. This week, it confirmed that the LGB Alliance should be entered on to the register of charities. The reaction from some of the usual suspects was apoplectic. Celebrities led the mob. Holby City actor David Paisley tweeted the Charity Commission with the tags ‘#LBGAlliance’ and ‘#HateGroup’. Derry Girl Siobhán McSweeney was similarly blunt: ‘LGB Alliance is a hate group,’ she wrote.
But if hate is anywhere, it is in the words of those who are trying to tear down the LGB Alliance. The accusation that this organisation and the people behind it are ‘anti-trans’ or ‘trans-excusionary’ is nonsense. How do I know? Because I watched in the audience at their launch event when a transsexual person spoke to the crowd.
This isn’t enough, however, for those who have hounded those involved with the LGB Alliance from the start. Instead, misrepresentations about this charity have been repeated over and over again. To be ‘widely regarded as a hate group’, as some claim, means no more than there is a vicious and organised campaign to smear them as a hate group. But, as Lenin once said, a lie told often enough becomes the truth.
I know most of the founders of the Alliance personally. They are not anti-trans bigots, and they have every right to campaign for LGB people in the same way some transgender organisations support the T. They also have my support when they call out transgender ideology – the dangerous idea that men and women are defined, not by their biology, but by thoughts and feelings. This abuse comes at a cost. Allison Bailey’s career has suffered severely because of her work with the LGB Alliance.
But despite the fury, the LGB Alliance is undaunted. Its co-founder Bev Jackson told me:
‘We welcome the Charity Commission’s decision and we are keen to get on with our charitable aims of advancing the interests of LGB people. We are profoundly grateful to all the lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, trans and straight people who write constant messages of support and encouragement, and to our hundreds of donors. We are looking forward to a structured, fact-based public debate on sex and gender in which we can exchange views in an atmosphere of mutual respect.’Bev Jackson, LGB Alliance
Now is surely the time for people to forget their differences and come together. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people need an organisation that campaigns for them and with them. In times gone by, Stonewall would have fulfilled such a role, but no longer.
Now Stonewall defines homosexuality as an orientation ‘towards someone of the same gender’, and gender as something ‘culturally determined’ and ‘often expressed in terms of masculinity and femininity.’ Many gay people would disagree with this view of same sex attraction. Thankfully, now in the form of LGB Alliance, they have a voice that will speak up for them.
Debbie Hayton is a teacher and journalist.