The “LGB Alliance” and charitable status

LGB All Liars, the campaign group against trans rights, has applied for charitable status, which would entitle them to apply for grants. I went digging. What is a charity? How can trans people oppose the claim of a hate group to be a “charity”?

To oppose the application successfully, trans people have to provide evidence of public detriment arising from All Liars’ activities.

In the UK, a charity should be established for particular purposes, such as the relief of poverty; the advancement of education, religion, the arts, culture, heritage or science; or the advancement of human rights. LGB All Liars works to reduce trans rights and recognition, but states its objectives positively: it is for lesbian rights, it claims, which it says are threatened by recognition of trans lesbians, and it is for children’s rights not to be afflicted by gender stereotypes- a good objective- but against them receiving medical assessment or treatment for gender dysphoria. Most of its campaigning is around the medical treatment, and around the stereotypes when particularly related to trans children transitioning, rather than to children generally.

If I were making an application for them to be registered as a charity, I would claim the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity. Their articles of association (see below) claim that is their purpose, though their actions are to increase conflict. To oppose this, we could consider what they actually do, from their twitter feed and the adverts they have paid for in the press, and their website. Human rights are not a zero sum game. They campaign for trans people to be excluded from women’s space.

A charity needs to have a public benefit. This is the Charity Commission’s analysis of what that means. If the purposes also have a detriment, for example to trans rights, that should be weighed against the alleged benefit. For example, in 1948 the National Anti-vivisection Society was found not to be a charity because society benefits from vivisection, but as this is a matter of evidence, the decision might be different now, especially if the Society focused on alternatives.

An organisation where a direct and principal purpose is political, such as to procure changes to the laws of this country or a foreign country, or to procure a reversal of government policy or decisions of governmental bodies, is not charitable. To argue this you need evidence: what are they campaigning about? A lot of their recent campaigning has been against the Gender Recognition (Scotland) Bill.

The Commission says, Where the [Equality] Act does not make it unlawful to establish a charity for purposes which discriminate on the ground of a protected characteristic, the Commission considers that it is likely that a purpose which could not be administered in accordance with the provisions of the Act would be held not to be for the public benefit, and hence not a charitable purpose. Many charities give grants to individuals and bodies, and I feel this applies more to such charities rather than campaigning charities; but arguably the Liars’ purposes are against the Equality Act, which allows trans women to use women’s space.

The Charity Commission publish guidance on public benefit. If they decide the organisation’s purpose is not for the public benefit, they would not register it as a charity. If they refuse registration, All Liars can challenge the decision in court. I am not clear what objectors, if any, would have a right to challenge a grant of registration.

It should be possible to “identify and describe” how a charity’s purpose is beneficial. The Liars say they promote women’s and lesbian rights, but their description is inaccurate: instead, they attack trans rights.

Charities Act s36: a person affected by the registration of an institution as a charity may object to it being registered. That includes all trans people.

The Charities Commission do not publish information on objecting to the registration of a charity, only to seeking review once registration has been granted. London Boaters explained how canal boat dwellers could object to the Canal and River Trust being registered as a charity, under old law: email enquiries@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk showing how you will be affected by the registration. It says the Charity Commission has to consider whether you had a right to object: then, if you could be directly affected by the registration.

From facebook, I heard this email address: rauemailteam@charitycommission.gov.uk.

There’s a petition to stop them gaining charitable status. @DavidPaisley has tweeted about why they should not be registered.

All Liars are a limited company, which makes it easier for them to evade debts: they have no assets. At the Companies House website, I found their certificate of incorporation and their Articles of Association: click the link there marked “view pdf”. At p13, they state what their objects are, again lying: they omit to state they are against trans rights. They claim they want to “promote equality and diversity for the public benefit” and “promote human rights”.

If they ever got charitable status, I don’t think a complaint to the Charity Commission would be appropriate: they suggest complaints about “a serious risk of harm to people the charity was set up to help”. They need to be stopped before they get charitable status.

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This is my letter to the Charity Commission:

Madam/Sir,

I hereby object to the application of “LGB Alliance” to register as a charity. I have a right to object because I am a trans woman, and will therefore be adversely affected by their work to reduce trans legal rights in the UK, and societal acceptance of trans people. In particular they campaign against the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill. As I am Scots, that Bill would make it easier for me to get a gender recognition certificate.

Most people using a variant of “LGBT” write LGBT or LGBT+. The name “LGB Alliance” specifically excludes trans people. In their Articles of Association Objects clause, they claim to “promote equality and diversity for the public benefit”, for the benefit of “lesbian, gay and bisexual people”, specifically excluding trans people.

They assert that trans rights adversely affect lesbians, gay men and bisexual people. On their website, they state, “We believe that attempts to introduce confusion between biological sex and the notion of gender are harming LGB people”. https://lgballiance.org.uk/ They therefore campaign against trans recognition, which does not “introduce confusion”- people know what a trans person is- but allows trans people to live our lives in peace.

Of their activity so far, most has been attempting to oppose the Scottish Government’s policy of introducing the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill. They have incited people to respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation and oppose the Bill, they have published adverts in the Scottish press, and they have arranged a small demonstration at the Holyrood Parliament. For example, they advertised in The National newspaper (Scotland) on 6 March under the heading “Self-ID gives predators the green light”. Their principal purpose, judged from their activity, is to campaign against proposals to reform gender recognition, and to change the law so as to make exclusion of trans women from women’s spaces easier. This is a political purpose.

They campaign to reduce the human rights of trans people. That advert compares trans women to sexual predators. While the Equality Act governs whether trans women can use women’s spaces, they falsely allege trans women could gain a place at a women’s refuge in order to attack women. They misrepresent the law on hate crime, which is “intimidation, harassment, damaging property, or violence”- they claim it is a mere objection to seeing a trans woman. They claim the Scottish Government should consult “more fully” despite a three month consultation on the principle of gender recognition, then a further consultation on the proposed Bill.

They claim on their website that “attempts to compel women to believe that male genitals can be female is a form of sexual assault, an attack on the rights of lesbians and a threat to their very existence”. I am a trans woman. For social purposes, I am a woman, under the Equality Act using women’s changing rooms and loos. This means asserting that my body is female, for social purposes. This does not affect women’s rights or lesbian rights. I would rather people did not speculate about my genitals, and campaigning for the right to assert I am male, for all purposes, affects my right to claim I am female for social purposes, which is necessary to my mental health and continued functioning in society.

Please acknowledge this email, and let me know how the claim of the LGB Alliance for charitable status is progressing.

Yours faithfully,

They rejected the email because they would not accept the attachments, so I sent it again. They acknowledged it, writing Thank you for your enquiry, which is now being processed to see if it falls within the Charity Commission’s regulatory remit. If it does, you should hear back from us within 30 working days. Please understand that we cannot provide updates in the meantime due to high volumes of enquiries and limited resources. They have been as badly cut by the Tory government as other services have.

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On 31 March the Charity Commission sent an initial response- in summary, they will decide according to law and evidence, rather than social media campaigns, so evidence of detriment will be particularly useful. They say,

Thank you for your email to the Charity Commission regarding an application to register LGB Alliance as a charity.

In England and Wales, an organisation is a charity if it meets a number of legal tests; namely that it is established for exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit, and if it falls within the jurisdiction of the High Court regarding charities. The Commission, as the independent charity regulator in England and Wales, is responsible for determining whether an institution is charitable and for registering those that are, and which meet the legal threshold for registration. To maintain the integrity of the public register of charities, and because charitable status is a privilege that carries a number of material benefits and is held in high esteem by the public, the Commission robustly assesses applications so that only organisations which meet the legal tests are registered.

I can confirm that we received an application from LGB Alliance earlier this month and the case is now under assessment in the Registration Division. Charitable status carries an important role in our society, and because of this, we take our role as registrar extremely seriously. The assessment of LGB Alliance is not subjective, it will be conducted against the legal framework as defined in the Charites Act 2011 and against court precedent established over a number of years. If required during our assessment of the application, we may respond to you for evidence of the issues you have raised.

As the Head of Registration at the Charity Commission for England and Wales I would also highlight that we are currently prioritising our resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Social Media campaign regarding LGB Alliance and the high volume of correspondence that has been generated as a result of this has been noted by the Commission, but the COVID-19 situation may limit our ability to respond immediately – please by mindful of this impact when contacting the Commission.

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