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The LGB Alliance, a trans-exclusionary charity sharing the same Tufton Street address as organisations operating within the right-wing Westminster think tank ecosystem, has posted its annual returns for the year ending November 2022. What they show is a huge surge in donations for the group.
The latest filing for LGB Alliance (LGBA), incorporated in 2019, shows that for the last calendar year, the organisation received £419,000 in combined restricted and unrestricted funds through outside donations. Previous annual returns for the years 2020 and 2021 show just over £116,000 and £92,700 in donations and legacies respectively.
However, in 2022 the organisation received unrestricted donations (which can be used for any purpose aligning with the objectives of the organisation) of £333,348 and a further £85,710 in restricted funds (where a restriction is defined by the donor); a combined 350% increase on the previous year. At the same time, it raised just over £35,000 from its charitable and trading activities. The returns also show expenditures of £276,000, with nearly £230,000 of this accounted for under “charitable activities”, an increase of nearly 125% on figures from 2021. Of the charitable expenses, legal fees alone account for over £120,000.
The increase in funds and legal expenditure follows an appeal launched in 2021 by the charity Mermaids, which supports the rights of trans, non-binary and gender-diverse children, against the decision to award charitable status to the LGBA. The LGBA initiated a crowdfunder to defend against the challenge, active since 2021, which has so far raised just over £210,000, and offers an explanation for part of the increase. Even if one were to take the whole of this figure into account, the organisation has still received nearly £116,000 more in donations than it did over the previous year.
The case, brought by a coalition of LGTBQ+ charities, sought to repeal the status of the group arguing that rather than fulfilling its stated aim of supporting the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people, its “real purpose is the denigration of trans people and the destruction of organisations that support them”.
The court heard from LGBA co-founders that the group was founded to “prevent the dissemination of the lie of gender identity”, also defending accusations that the charity was primarily focused on anti-trans political lobbying. The case was dismissed on technical grounds, with the judge ruling that Mermaids did not have legal standing to bring the challenge, though the tribunal did not rule on whether or not the actions of the LGBA were charitable or not.
The legitimacy of the LGBA’s charitable status was further brought into question last year, when it was revealed that the group was renting office space at 55 Tufton Street, which along with No.57 Tufton Street houses many of Britain’s interconnected network of influential right-wing think tanks which advise and guide government policy. The revelations came via an FOI release which listed their alternative offices.
In response, the group released a statement to say that they have no link to the other residents at Tufton, and that while “our detractors will seek to draw conspiratorial conclusions from our address. I can tell you that the office was chosen because it’s handy, flexible, and that it became available at the right time”.
Speaking to Open Democracy, a spokesperson for the Trans Safety Network said “The fact that the other organisations working from this building are highly networked raises questions about the relationship of this supposedly neutral charity to these politically motivated actors – questions that ought to be thoroughly investigated by the Charity Commission to determine whether or not the LGBA is itself a lobby group”.
There is no current indication that the group gets its money from the same sources as others in Tufton’s orbit, which have received millions in funding from opaque sources in the US.
The LGB Alliance didn’t respond to a request for comment on the nature of its funding, but its website states that it relies “on donations to do our work and every single contribution makes a difference”, adding “Your donation will help us to support more people, to change more minds, to shape more policies and to have more impact”.
For example, the most recent accounts for the Global Warming Policy Foundation show that it received £345,703 from donations and only £33,831 from other sources. The GWPF, which campaigns heavily against Net Zero pledges, was itself last year subject to a complaint relating to its charitable status after it emerged the group took thousands in donations from a foundation linked to fossil fuel interests. A letter to the charity commission described the outfit as “not a charity, but a fossil fuel lobby group”.
The LGB Alliance describes itself as a charity which “exists to provide support, advice, information and community to men and women who are same-sex attracted”, but the group has repeatedly been criticised by members of the communities it claims to represent for seemingly devoting its attention overwhelmingly to lobbying efforts undermining the rights of trans people.
During its launch in 2019, the organisation laid out five key aims which included a campaign to “press pause” on gender recognition in Scotland, which it was claimed would create a “gender free-for-all”, and to halt an inclusive LGBTQ+ school curriculum from Stonewall. The group has also opposed puberty blockers for trans children and opposed a ban on conversion therapy for trans people.
When applying for charitable status, LGBA co-founder Bev Jackson stated she was “building an organisation to challenge the dominance of those who promote the damaging theory of gender identity”. Speaking at the time, the SNP MP John Nicolson said that “under no circumstances” should the LGBA achieve charitable status, and that it was “milking the gullible for cash by claiming it is championing gay rights”.
Regarding the lobbying efforts of the LGBA, the group has made no secret of its attempts to sway politicians, which is reflected in the annual returns. They outline how “this year, we continued to meet with politicians, academics, artists, journalists and healthcare professionals to make them fully aware of our work and we campaigned on a range of issues, including our continued work on the proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, and proposals to ban two different kinds of conversion therapy”.
The LGBA have said that while they welcome a ban on gay conversion therapy, this does not extend to the trans community, arguing instead that ending “transgender conversion” could mean “thousands of children, most of whom would have gone on to become LGB, having their puberty blocked by experimental drugs and pushed into life-long medical treatment.”
While the ban was being discussed, it was reported that the LGBA had met with government ministers Mike Freer and Baroness Stedman-Scott to discuss “concerns” about outlawing the process, shortly before the government announced that the ban would not extend to the trans community. Currently, the mooted plans are said to cover both sexual orientation and gender identity once more, though the ban itself has been delayed, prompting anger from MPs who’ve dubbed the failure to produce it as a “moral failing”.
The LGBA also previously met with UK Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, in what was described as an “introductory meeting” between them, shortly after Ofcom Chief Executive Dame Melanie Dawes said that quoting the LGBA on trans issues would be ‘extremely inappropriate’, and compared allowing them to continue to offer counter-points on trans rights on the BBC to an overtly racist organisation commenting on a report on racism.
Byline Times‘ freedom of information requests for the meeting minutes between the LGBA and Badenoch have now been delayed four times, the last being in July, under section 35(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act – which ‘relates to the development or formulation of government policy’. A final response, accounting for these delays, is now overdue.
Alongside the plans for a ban on conversion practices, the government is currently poised to issue new guidance to schools, forcing teachers to tell parents if their child is questioning their gender. In January, the Sunak administration blocked legislation passed by the Scottish government, which would have made it the first part of the UK to allow self-identification for people who want to change gender.
The LGB Alliance was part-formed in opposition to the trans-inclusive policies of LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall, after gender-critical members accused the organisation of having “undermined women’s sex-based rights and protections”. LGBA members have said that lesbians have been particularly affected by trans-inclusive policies, that women risk being “erased”, and that the definitions of lesbian, gay, and bisexual should be separate from the issue of trans rights.
Critics however claim that the work of “gender critical” activists like those at the LGBA is part of a wider campaign to split the lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities from supporting trans people, which statistically they overwhelmingly do, with cisgender lesbians being the most supportive of all LGBTQ+ demographics. Recent YouGov polling shows that 84% of cisgender lesbians, 84% of cis bisexual women, and 75% of cisgender LGBTQ+ Britons have a positive view of the trans community.
Speaking to Byline Times, a representative from the Trans Safety Network said “The LGB Alliance has had ties from their earliest founding to lobbyists involved with global anti-rights groups based in the United States. Since their founding, they have engaged in numerous hateful anti-trans campaigns, including presenting reforms for trans rights as a green light for predators, and campaigned against banning conversion therapy for trans people.”
“Despite their efforts to present trans and LGB interests as opposed to each other, polling in the last week shows the LGB community in the UK is overwhelmingly more supportive of trans people than any other segment of the population. It’s worrying that this unrepresentative and vehemently anti-trans organisation has received a massive expansion in funding.”
The LGB Alliance were approached for comment.