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Mermaids Press

An appeal by Mermaids, supported by Good Law Project and LGBT+ Consortium, along with other leading UK LGBTQIA+ charities, against the decision to award charity status to the LGB Alliance, has had its timetable to trial set out.

The directions order from the Tribunal sets out the next steps for the case to trial. The key points in the order are that:

  • LGB Alliance is now a respondent to the appeal, along with the Charity Commission.
  • The hearing is to take place between March and May 2022 (date to be confirmed).

The decision earlier this year by the Charity Commission to award the controversial group charitable status was met with anger from the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond.

To be registered as a charity, an organisation must be established exclusively for charitable purposes, as recognised in law, and pursue them in a manner which gives rise to tangible benefits and which outweigh any associated harms. 

LGB Alliance’s behaviour does not fit these criteria and they are not who they say they are. It is our belief that they do not stand for LGB rights, but exist to divide our community and denigrate those who support trans people. 

That is why, with the support of leading charities LGBT+ Consortium, Gendered Intelligence, LGBT Foundation and TransActual, Mermaids lodged an appeal, crowdfunded by Good Law Project, on the grounds that LGB Alliance is not a charity. 

Charity exists for public good and LGBA doesn’t offer this

Lui Asquith, Director of Legal and Policy

Lui Asquith, Director of Legal and Policy at Mermaids, said: “Young trans people and children are facing unprecedented scrutiny and scepticism. Much of it is and has been fuelled by an anti-gender movement that is sweeping around the globe, which has money and a platform and insists on pushing an erroneous hierarchy of rights. By its nature it rejects the rights – and in some cases, existence – of trans people.

“LGB Alliance purports to be an organisation that supports lesbian, gay and bisexual people, but it doesn’t. Many trans people are LGB and LGBA actively work to oppose the advancement of rights of trans individuals. 

“It pushes transphobic messages – through the frame of being a ‘LGB support organisation’ – to people in power; they are contributing to the horrendous cultivation of fear-mongering in respect of trans people in this country as well as creating a harmful and incorrect idea that cis-women’s rights are at odds with trans people.

“Mermaids, together with LGBT+ organisations, believe it is not fair on the public to have their donations used to carry out such cruel work – many people who donate to them may not even know their anti-trans rights activity. They are saying one thing and doing another. That isn’t fair.

“It is our view that their work is not only actively hurting LGBT+ people, but people as a whole. Biological essentialism limits everyone – it demands social expectations and denies the freedom to be who you are. 

“We are taking this action to ensure we do not regress as a country – make no mistake, the LGBA registration was a regression – and we are taking this action to show that the LGBT+ community will not be divided. 

“We as a collective will do what we can to ensure organisations that have other motives do not attain the credibility of being a charity. 

“Charity exists for public good and LGBA doesn’t offer this.”

A spokesperson for LGBT+ Consortium said: “Registered charities are an important institution for creating positive social and cultural change. It is vital that inclusive LGBT+ organisations can highlight the damaging effect registering those with non-charitable aims can have on real people’s lives.

“We are grateful to Mermaids for being at the forefront of this case. Consortium will continue to support and stand alongside them at every stage of this crucial case when it is heard by the Tribunal.”

A spokesperson for LGBT Foundation said: “LGBT Foundation is one of many LGBTQ+ charities that celebrate our diverse community with integrity and respect. We exist to promote unity and help people live safer and happier lives.

“We cannot emphasise enough the impact that trans and non-binary people have made on LGBT equality. LGBT Foundation oppose rhetoric and ideologies that encourage separation, discrimination and elicit long-term injustice to people in our community.

“We are indebted to Mermaids for their leadership in this case and look forward to it going to the Tribunal.”

The next significant milestone in the case will be 8 October 2021, the date by which LGB Alliance, as a respondent, is required to set out its legal case in full. Mermaids and the Commission will then have the opportunity to make further submissions in response. 

We will keep you updated as the case progresses. Your support in the meantime is much appreciated.

Notes to editors

2. Mermaids is a UK-wide charity (registered charity number 1160575) working to support transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people, their families and the professionals who support them. Our goal is to create a world where gender-diverse children and young people can be themselves and thrive. Services include a helpline, web chat and online forums for parents and young people, as well as face-to-face meet-ups for peer support. We also provide training into organisations and advocate for a fairer society for trans young people.

3. LGBT+ Consortium is the national umbrella body for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans+ voluntary and community organisations in the UK. It has a membership of over 500 diverse LGBT+ organisations and they work to support a proactively collaborative LGBT+ sector that benefits the diverse communities it serves. 

4. Good Law Project is a not for profit that uses the law for a better world. We fight cases that protect the interests of the public. We had a primary role in overturning the prorogation of Parliament two years ago and more recently have been shining a bright light on Government’s award of PPE contracts and jobs to their friends and associates. 

5. LGBT Foundation is a national charity delivering advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. With a history dating back to 1975, they campaign for a fair and equal society where all LGBT people can achieve their full potential. Through their services, they reduce isolation amongst LGBT communities, help people feel more confident and in control of their lives and enable people to flourish. Together with LGBT communities and their supporters, LGBT Foundation is working to secure a safe, healthy and equal future for all LGBT people.

6. This appeal is being crowdfunded.