A group of LGBT+ charities have launched an appeal against the Charity Commission over its decision to give a controversial lesbian, gay and bisexual group charitable status.
The LGB Alliance was made a charity in April after the commission decided the group benefitted the public through its educational and awareness-raising activities.
On Tuesday transgender children’s charity Mermaids launched a legal appeal against the decision – supported by other groups including Stonewall, Gendered Intelligence and the Good Law Project.
Mermaids has claimed LGB Alliance is a “divisive and polarising anti-trans campaign group” – arguing the group does not merit charitable status since it does not offer a positive benefit to the public.
LGB Alliance has denied it is an “anti-trans” group. “We fully support trans people in their struggle, for dignity, respect and a life lived free from bigotry and fear,” the organisation states on its website.
However, activists have pointed to statements from leading LGB Alliance figures indicating that the group is working against those who promote “gender identity”.
Director Bev Jackson said in a speech last March: “We’re applying for charitable status and building an organisation to challenge the dominance of those who promote the damaging theory of gender identity.”
Co-founder Allison Bailey has also made controversial statements – including the claim that the justice system had allowed “male rapists to self-declare themselves as women”.
In court documents, Mermaids argued that one of the LGB Alliance’s aims is to oppose changes to the law or lobby government bodies to restrict transgender people’s legal rights.
Susie Green, chief executive of Mermaids, said: “Mermaids supports trans young people, children and their families who face overwhelming hostility simply because of who they are.
“The work of the LGB Alliance is clearly designed to divide the LGBTQ+ community in an attempt to undermine and isolate trans people.”
Responding to Mermaids’ appeal announcement, LGB Alliance director Kate Harris said the organisation has “confidence” in the Charity Commission.
She continued: “It is disappointing to see well-funded groups with a joint annual income of £13.5m try to remove our charitable status.”
Following its decision in April, the Charity Commission said the LGB Alliance’s purposes were to “promote equality and diversity and human rights”.
In a statement the body said: “It is not the commission’s role to make value judgments about the aims or ideas put forward by any organisation.
“Instead, its role is to decide whether an organisation’s purposes fall within the legal definition of charity.”
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