Major UK LGBTQ+ groups and charity organisations have launched an appeal with the Charity Commission following the decision to award charity status to a group described by Mermaids as seeking to “restrict the legal rights and protections afforded to transgender people.”
Mermaids – a UK charity that supports trans and gender diverse children – joined other groups including Stonewall, Gendered Intelligence, the Good Law Project, Trans Actual, LGBT+ Consortium and LGBT Foundation in calling on the Commission to overturn their decision.
Mermaids CEO Susie Green stated, “The work of the LGB Alliance is clearly designed to divide the LGBTQ+ community in an attempt to undermine and isolate trans people. Mermaids is proud to stand up for the rights of trans people in court, with the unbreakable support of our LGBTQ+ charity family.”
Jolyon Maugham, director of the Good Law Project, added, “Charitable status is for those who serve the public good. Denigrating trans people, attacking those who speak for them, and campaigning to remove legal protections from them is the very opposite of a public good. We do not believe they meet the threshold tests to be registered as a charity.”
The Charity Commission made their decision despite a petition signed by over 44000 people calling for the refusal of charity status. Helen Belcher, chair of TransActual, stated, “The idea that an organisation who wants trans people to be second class citizens should be recognised as a charity brings the whole system into disrepute.”
In a crowdfunded appeal, Mermaids state, “To be registered as a charity, an organisation must be established exclusively for purposes which the law recognises as charitable, and it must pursue them in a way which gives rise to tangible benefits that outweigh any associated harms.”
They continue, “Whatever sweet nothings the so-called ‘LGB Alliance’ whispered into the ear of the Charity Commission the truth was set out in a speech by LGB Alliance director Bev Jackson on 9 March 2020. She described their real goal as follows: ‘We’re applying for charitable status and building an organization to challenge the dominance of those who promote the damaging theory of gender identity.'”
The charity has ben called a “hate group” by many, including actor David Paisley, the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights and the LGBT+ Lib Dems amongst others. The co-founder of the charity in question has stated that schools should not have LGBT+ clubs due to “predatory gay teachers“.
Following their decision, the Charities Commission stated, “It is not the commission’s role to make value judgements 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.”
© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.