Anti-trans pressure group the LGB Alliance has been granted charitable status by The Charity Commission, sparking widespread outrage.
The group, which was founded in 2019 purportedly to "advance the interests of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals", has publicly campaigned against reforming the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier for trans people to gain legal recognition and describes the affirmation of transgender children by charities and medical professionals as "a form of conversion therapy."
On its website, the group state they oppose trans women being admitted "into lesbian spaces" as well as trans men being admitted "into gay men's spaces".
The LGB Alliance, which has been denounced as a transphobic hate group by bodies including Pride in London and figures including Labour MPs Angela Raynor, Dawn Butler and Rebecca Long-Bailey, first applied for charitable status in March 2020, prompting more than 36,000 to sign a petition urging The Charity Commission to reject the application.
On Tuesday (20 April), the Charity Commission - the government department dedicated to registering and regulating charities in England and Wales - announced that it had entered the LGB Alliance onto the public register of charities, despite receiving "a number of objections".
Outlining its decision, the body admitted that it had seen evidence of social media activity by the LGB Alliance that "was inflammatory and offensive" and "appeared to involve, at times, demeaning or denigrating the rights (recognised by law) of others."
The Commission added that it had "raised these concerns" with the group, which had subsequently "reviewed and revised its social media policy".
In its report, the Commission stated that it looked at whether the LGB Alliance's stated purpose "inevitably involves the denigration of the rights of transgender people" and concluded that it "did not".
A statement released with the full report reads: "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."
"The Commission received a number of objections to the registration of LGBA as a charity. It carefully considered these as part of making its decision. In handling this application, the Commission has had regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty.
"Registered charities fall under the Commission’s regulation, and their trustees must continuously meet the legal duties and responsibilities set down under charity law.
"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."
The news of LGB Alliance's newly-granted charitable status sparked a fierce backlash online from trans people and allies, many of whom urged the Charity Commission to reconsider their decision.
Among them was actor and former Holby City star David Paisley, who has been a vocal campaigner against the group entering the public register of charities.
Reacting to the news, the 42-year-old took to Twitter to urge people to lodge a complaint about the LGB Alliance directly with The Charity Commission.
Thirdly, organise and send off complaints directly to the charity commission.— David Paisley (@DavidPaisley) April 20, 2021
LGB Alliance are not a legitimate charitable organisation, and their actions in seeking to harm the LGBT+ community should disbar them from charitable status.https://t.co/wFAPrRD235
"LGB Alliance are not a legitimate charitable organisation, and their actions in seeking to harm the LGBT+ community should disbar them from charitable status," Paisley wrote.
LGBTQ author Amanda Jetté Knox added: "A terrible and damaging decision. The entire point of LGB Alliance seems to be the erosion of trans rights. Hatred does not deserve charitable status."
A terrible and damaging decision. The entire point of LGB Alliance seems to be the erosion of trans rights.— Amanda Jetté Knox (@MavenOfMayhem) April 20, 2021
Hatred does not deserve charitable status. https://t.co/aia87rvTn2
RuPaul's Drag Race UK series one star Gothy Kendoll was among those who reshared the original petition opposing LGB Alliance's application for charitable status in the wake of the news.