After almost two years of litigation and deliberation, a tribunal ruled that the law does not allow transgender children’s charity Mermaids to challenge the charitable status of the LGB Alliance (LGBA), the ‘gender critical’ gay rights organisation set up to represent gay, lesbian and bisexual people on the issue of gender identity.
The ruling was described variously as a “seminal moment for pluralism” (Times), a “lesson in tolerance for the toxic trans lobby” (Mail), a victory for free speech (Spectator), “freedom of thought” (Mail) and “scientific truth” (Spiked).
Mermaids’ appeal against the Charity Commission’s (CC’s) decision to award LGBA charitable status was based on the argument that by publicly criticising Mermaids’ work, the group had caused harm to trans people. It also claimed that LGBA’s opposition to its lobbying “has caused significant interference with our work, consequences for our reputation, and potential financial cost to us”.
From the very first day of LGBA’s existence, the organisation has been exposed to the worst excesses of cancel culture. Some politicians abused parliamentary privilege to make defamatory attacks on the group. Media outlets carried misleading stories about it and refused it a right of reply. Campaigners tried to prevent the organisation from finding space to hold its annual conference. Arts Council England even withdrew a grant to LGBA to make a film about gay life in Britain during the Queen’s reign, with staff at the taxpayer funded quango likening the group to the Ku Klux Klan. And so on and so forth.