LGBT charities launch legal battle over 'anti-trans group' becoming charity

A group of LGBT+ charities have launched an appeal against a decision to categorise a controversial organisation as a charity.

The LGB Alliance – seen as anti-trans by a number of key groups – was given the new status in April, when the Charity Commission concluded that the group’s educational and awareness-raising activities on discrimination based on sexual orientation benefitted the public.

But on Tuesday, transgender children’s charity Mermaids appealed the move at the first tier tribunal with support from other organisations including Stonewall, Gendered Intelligence, and the Good Law Project. They claim the group is designed ‘to undermine and isolate trans people’.

The LGB Alliance has previously said there is a conflict between the rights of LGB people and transgender people.

Mermaids will argue that the LGB Alliance does not offer a positive benefit to the public.

The charities also argue 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 and protections.

The appeal says: ‘In reality, LGB Alliance seeks only to operate for the benefit of lesbian and gay people who are both not transgender and share LGBA’s beliefs.’

Susie Green, chief executive of Mermaids, added: ‘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.

‘Mermaids is proud to stand up for the rights of trans people in court, with the unbreakable support of our LGBTQ+ charity family.’

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 continued: ‘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.’

The commission said at the time that it had ‘carefully considered’ objections about registering the group as a charity.

LGB Alliance director Kate Harris said the organisation has ‘confidence’ in the Charity Commission after the appeal was announced.

She continued: ‘It is disappointing to see well-funded groups with a joint annual income of £13.5 million try to remove our charitable status.

‘LGB Alliance is a new charity run entirely by volunteers and funded by hundreds of individual donations. We are committed to advancing the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and are moving ahead with our important work.’

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