The Charity Commission has entered the LGB Alliance onto the register of charities, after securing changes to its approach to social media.
LGB Alliance was formed in late 2019 in opposition to Stonewall’s support for transgender policies. In its full decision into the LGB Alliance the Commission noted that its language in the past has been considered “inflammatory”.
The new charity’s purposes are to promote equality and diversity and human rights, and it has four trustees: Beverley Jackson, Katharine Harris, Malcolm Clark and Ann Sinnot.
On its website LGB Alliance describes is mission as to “advance the interests of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals”. It claims “our rights, culture, and history are now under threat from new ideologies conflating biological sex with the notion of gender identity”.
The Commission received a number of objections to registering the LGB Alliance. Since it announced that it had registered the charity, other charities have raised concerns about the decision.
LGB Alliance applied for charity status last March. The regulator received a number of complaints from people concerned that the organisation would hurt transgender people.
In its decision, the Commission said: “The Commission carefully considered the allegations of detriment and the evidence put to it and concluded that the purposes of LGB Alliance, as properly construed in accordance with the legal framework, are charitable and beneficial to the public.
“The Commission concluded that the consequences of furthering those purposes would not necessarily be detrimental to the public.”
Social media policy
The Commission says it has secured changes to the new charity’s social media policy after discovering language that “may be regarded as inflammatory or offensive”.
The Commission’s announcement said: “A charity can promote the rights of one or more specific groups, but may not do so whilst demeaning or denigrating the rights of others, including on social media – and the Commission will consider taking regulatory action where that occurs.”
In its decision statement, it explains: “During the course of the registration case, the Commission noted some evidence of social media activity (information that was posted or re-posted on social media) by LGB Alliance and considered that some of the language used may be regarded as inflammatory and offensive.”
It added that it was “not immediately obvious how some of these postings furthered any of the LGB Alliance’s purposes”.
This meant: “The Commission was concerned that, although it promoted the rights of some groups, the activity appeared to involve, at times, demeaning or denigrating the rights (recognised by law) of others.”
After it raised the concerns with LGB Alliance the organisation changed its social media policy.
“LGB Alliance stated that it intended to adopt a less defensive and confrontational approach to social media engagement,” the Commission said. “The revised social media policy places a focus on the language and tone of the social media posts and states that staff must never: unlawfully discriminate; make offensive, abusive or threatening comments or harass or bully other people in any way or breach any laws or ethical standards.”
LGB Alliance: ‘Charity status changes everything’
On Twitter, LGB Alliance said: “Message to supporters: charity status changes everything. We now focus on promoting our charitable objectives. As soon as we can we will be announcing new structure and plans. We are positive, driven and motivated by your fantastic support. Ignore the doubters and enjoy the progress!”
In response to criticism about the decision to award it charity status, it added: “We are hearing many messages of anger and pain at the responses to our gaining charity status. We understand these feelings but ask everyone to remain calm. Our job is to present facts and encourage dialogue. That’s the only way forward.”
Other charities ‘shocked’, ‘disturbed’ and ‘upset’
Other charities said that they were worried about the implications of registering the LGB Alliance.
Paul Martin, chief executive of the LGBT Foundation, said: “We are shocked that the Charity Commission has registered the self-styled LGB Alliance as we do not believe that any organisation which actively targets and campaigns against trans communities should be granted charitable status.”
LGBT Foundation said it would be raising its concerns with the Commission.
“This decision has caused a lot of pain for trans and non-binary people, a community who already face more stigma and hatred than any other part of our society,” Martin added.
Mermaids, a charity that supports transgender young people and their families, said it was “deeply disturbed” about the decision and that being a charity should be a “shared badge of honour”.
It added: “Giving a divisive and polarising anti-trans campaign group such as the LGB Alliance a supposed mark of legitimacy brings into question the Charity Commission’s processes.”
Elsewhere, Stonewall tweeted: “It is upsetting to see that an organisation who were founded to oppose our work towards trans rights have been granted status as a registered charity.
“However the Charity Commission is clear in its statement that it will not tolerate any demeaning or denigrating of the rights of others, including on social media. All registered charities are regulated and held accountable for their actions by the Charity Commission, and from today, this will include the LGB Alliance.”