LGB Alliance asks Human Rights Watchdog to Investigate ‘Stonewall Law’

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On Tuesday, October 22nd a mixture of lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, and supporters met in Conway Hall. This group – many of them former supporters of Stonewall – gathered for a ‘pre-launch meeting’ of a new LGB rights organization. The LGB Alliance is set to launch in 2020. And they’re now recruiting.

@AllianceLGB: “We had our pre-launch meeting last night. The amount of positive energy and expertise in the room was truly inspiring! Please DM us if you want to join in our efforts. We have a mountain to climb but we will succeed!”

Reporting for the Times, Janice Turner described the gathering as “full of distinguished lesbians and gay men: local government officers, a consultant psychiatrist, psychotherapists, academics, doctors, a BBC producer, film-makers.”

To some, this split might come as a surprise. Stonewall – Britain’s biggest LGBT rights group – have steadfastly ignored criticisms of their approach to gender. Instead of recognizing gender as a system of oppression – a foundation of the radical lesbian and gay organizing that paved the way for Stonewall – they treat it as an innately held identity.

Stonewall only ever acknowledge critics, such as the lesbians who protested Pride in 2018, to condemn dissenting voices as ‘anti-trans.’ This approach has done little to resolve conflict within the LGBT community. Stonewall has watched the rift grow, and taken no direct action to build bridges. By failing to address competing needs and interests within the LGBT community, Stonewall alienated a significant number of LGB people – including their co-founder, Simon Fanshawe, who is a core member of this new Alliance.

Speaking alongside Charlie Evans and Miranda Yardley, Fanshawe outlined the LGB Alliance’s first demand. They ask that the Equality and Human Rights Commission investigates Stonewall’s advice to public bodies, including police forces and local councils. Stonewall is Britain’s best-funded LGBT organization and, in this capacity, must be held accountable to the public. The charity is recipient of £600,000 in government grants per year – no small sum.

The LGB Alliance is of the view that Stonewall’s advice misrepresents the Equality Act, which recognizes sex as a protected characteristic. By replacing biological sex with gender identity, the LGB Alliance argues, Stonewall contravene legislation designed to uphold women’s rights. They describe this position as ‘Stonewall Law’ and fully intend to fight it.

In a move that has come to characterize Stonewall’s approach to issues of sex and gender, they issued a statement claiming that “there is no truth to reports of Stonewall ‘splitting’.” The statement, issued by interim CEO Paul Twocock, did not directly acknowledge the LGB Alliance or engage with the issues that led them to form.

According to journalist Sonia Poulton, the LGB Alliance currently has the following aims:

– Launching in 2020

– Being led by women

– Challenging Stonewall

– Upholding the health and safety of children

– Maintaining free speech

Author and activist Bev Jackson, who co-founded the Alliance, Tweeted that “We are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for our initiative to build an #LGBAlliance. There is so much work to do: we hope that many will join in. Please write to [email protected] and tell us about any special expertise you possess and how you would like to help.”

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