When Labour’s leadership and deputy leadership candidates signed a pledge labelling Woman’s Place UK and the LGB Alliance transphobic hate groups, we published this piece in defence of Woman’s Place UK. Several readers got in touch asking why we hadn’t mentioned the LGB Alliance and the answer was simple: we didn’t know much about them, hadn’t spoken to them and had never attended any meetings so were not in a position to comment.
The argument about trans rights continues to rage and we vehemently believe that shutting down debate and “no-platforming” is counter-productive. We know that it’s only through engagement and at least trying to understand the points of view of others that we can strive to eliminate the toxic division which has marred our communities for so long.
That’s why we sent our editor, Rob Harkavy, to interview Kate Harris and Bev Jackson from the LGB Alliance. It’s fair to say that Kate and Bev hold firm opinions that many of you won’t agree with but we live in a society where free speech, within the bounds of the law, is paramount.
It’s in this spirit that we invite you to read on.
Can you explain why you set up the LGB Alliance?
In 2015, Stonewall decided to adopt an agenda promoting gender identity theory and set up their Trans Advisory Group. This meant abandoning its original mission to promote the rights of LGB people. According to gender identity theory, everyone has a gender identity (a feeling) that should take priority over biological sex – including in law making. In addition, Stonewall says that anyone should be able to change their sex simply by making a legal declaration, and that legislation giving women and girls their own sex-protected places should be repealed. Children should be taught that they may have been “born in the wrong body” if they differ in any way from 1950’s gender stereotypes. These ideas are not only controversial but harmful, yet all requests to discuss them are banned as Stonewall describes any questioning as “transphobic”.
We tried for two years to engage Stonewall in discussion, including a petition launched in October 2018, which received almost 10,000 signatures. Our request was simply that Stonewall would talk to us. Many other groups and individuals wrote to Stonewall expressing serious concern about the direction they had chosen to take – all were brushed aside. Since Stonewall refused to talk to us we had no choice but to set up as a separate group.
What are your key objectives?
- To advance the interests of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals at a time when we are under threat from concerted attempts to introduce confusion between biological sex and the notion of gender.
- To amplify the voices of lesbians and to highlight the dual discrimination we experience as women who are same-sex attracted in a male-dominated society. We support women’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy.
- To protect children and young people from being taught unscientific gender doctrines, particularly the idea that they may have been born in the wrong body, which may lead to life-changing and potentially harmful medical procedures.
- To promote respectful freedom of speech and informed dialogue.
Are there any trans members of LGB Alliance?
We don’t have members. We are an LGB group which is lesbian led. We welcome support from anyone who shares our aims/objectives – be they straight, gay, lesbian, trans or whatever.
Many transsexuals have concerns at the direction taken by groups supposed to represent them and have fundamental disagreements – including the belief that anyone can change their sex, a notion with which they disagree. These are the people who join us at our meetings and make public statements against the silencing of differences of opinion. Like us, they want respectful freedom of speech and informed dialogue.
Why are we lesbian led? Because lesbians have been hardest hit by the promotion of gender identity theory by mainstream LGBT organisations. Attempts have been made to silence lesbians over the last few years and to ensure that there are no lesbians at Pride and other LGBT events. This is done with threats of violence and name calling on social media – phrases such as “Kill a TERF” are common.
Some lesbians have been extremely brave and successfully demonstrated against this exclusion. The group “Get the L Out” managed to delay the beginning of the Pride march in London in 2018. A group at Lancaster Pride held another demonstration in 2019 but were surrounded and shouted down by trans rights activists. A photo of this was subsequently tweeted by the Head of the Board of Trustees of Stonewall, praising the transactivists. Yes, really.
Lesbians are told that it is “transphobic” to be exclusively attracted to other women. According to gender identity theory, they should be open to considering biological males as potential partners, as gender is more important than sex, and if someone with a penis says he is a lesbian then he IS a lesbian. Hard to believe but true – as is evidenced by the fact that around 40% of individuals on dating sites for lesbians are people with male bodies.
How are you funded?
All our money comes from individual donations via JustGiving, plus any income from tickets sold on Eventbrite for our meetings. When we started our JustGiving page it was immediately closed down due to a large number of unfounded complaints about us. We have had to work closely with JustGiving over the months to establish our credentials as a responsible and trustworthy fundraiser.
Critics, including some high-profile individuals, like to tweet, and imply directly or indirectly, that we are funded by the Christian far right in America. This is completely false. We make it clear on our website that we do not have any links with any organization that does not support women’s reproductive rights. So, it is a wildly inaccurate claim, but it pops up regularly.
Why do people say this? Why would they want to discredit an organisation committed to respectful freedom of speech and informed dialogue? Possibly because that is the opposite of what they want? Their goal is to close down any dissenting voices which expose the dangers of the gender identity theory they preach. They have failed to stop our JustGiving funding; they have failed to close our website although regular attempts are made to hack us; they have failed to stop our meetings and so they resort to a stream of abuse and slurs online.
What are your plans for the future?
Global revolution. We will challenge the dominance of the international groups ILGA and IGLYO. Gender identity theory has been accepted by multiple organisations worldwide saying they represent LGBT people. We exist to say no – enough – you do not represent the vast majority of lesbians, gays and bisexuals. We are not prepared to stand by and see a generation of children steered away from being gender non-conforming and probably lesbian, gay or bisexual, and told they need to change their bodies. We regard this as child abuse and homosexual erasure.
The UN, the Council of Europe, the EU, and policymakers in many countries have fallen for fantasy over fact in the area of sex and gender. It is a sad time in history, but we believe that scientific fact and informed opinion will eventually prevail. It is time to stand up for LGB rights, and to do so separately from those who stand up, as they are absolutely entitled to do, for the rights of transgender people. Our issue is sexual orientation, which is about being attracted to people of the same sex. Those who are pursuing rights related to gender identity have different battles to fight. We support any transsexuals who wish to organise together, and we offer to support them in their campaigns against discrimination.
Since we started, people from many countries have contacted us to ask how to start their own LGB Alliance. They feel abandoned by LGBT organisations and say their voices are not being heard. We will continue to stand up for these silenced people and encourage others to join us. This is the start of a global movement.
The “Labour Campaign for Trans Rights” has labelled you as transphobic. What’s your beef with trans people?
We don’t have a beef with anyone. We do have a problem with the whole issue of gender identity theory, though, and the language used by organisations like Stonewall.
For instance, going by the glossary on Stonewall’s website, “trans people” would include a small boy who thinks he is a girl, a teenage girl who suddenly identifies as a boy, a post-operative transsexual person, a middle-aged man who self-IDs as a woman without taking any hormones or undergoing any surgery, and a cross-dresser. It is hard to know how you could have any opinion about such a diverse group of people.
Also, in some cases, being “trans” is a temporary thing. We know this because of the hundreds of young people who have recently come forward, mostly women in their twenties, who say that they regret their transition and were in fact struggling with their lesbianism. Clinicians who resigned from the Gender Identity Service have said that there was a common joke among the staff at the service: “Soon there will be no gay kids left!” Sometimes, homophobic parents prefer to have their son become a daughter than have him grow up gay. We are really concerned that some children are undergoing transition when they would otherwise grow up LGB. If not medicalised, most children with gender dysphoria do grow up LGB.
Activists often say that very few people ever regret their transition. But the figures they quote are inaccurate and wildly out of date. They do not relate at all to the huge wave of young people who have transitioned over the past decade. There has been an almost 4000% increase in the number of girls wanting to transition over the past 10 years in the UK. Many different factors are involved in this, and research is badly needed. “Detransitioners” receive very little help. The trans community often reject them, calling them traitors, and transactivists urge them to keep quiet about their experiences since it hurts the trans cause.
And then there is the word “transphobia”. Again going by Stonewall’s glossary, you are “transphobic” if you don’t accept that someone is the “gender” they say they are. So it is transphobic to refuse to accept that a rapist or a man who has fathered several children and now IDs as a woman, actually is a woman. In our view, this makes the word “transphobic” meaningless. It represents a kind of thought police: “You must think in this way.” We reject that. In its truer sense, “transphobia” would refer to a morbid fear or hatred. We don’t hate or fear trans people. But we do oppose gender identity theory.
Do you have a message for the Labour leadership candidates who signed that infamous pledge?
By signing the infamous pledge that labels us a “hate group”, the Labour leadership candidates showed that they knew nothing about our aims and the reason we founded our organisation. They also showed ignorance about what a “hate group” actually is, which is disturbing in itself, since hate groups do exist. In so readily signing a pledge that defamed us without thinking it necessary to meet us and find out more about us, these candidates showed that they were pandering to a particular group of the Labour party, for whom they were willing casually to defame others. We would invite them to meet with us and discover who we really are, after which we are sure they will want to apologise and retract their endorsement of the parts of the pledge that refer to us.
Do you believe that gender dysphoria exists?
“Gender dysphoria” certainly exists, in the sense that some people clearly suffer acute distress regarding their sexed bodies. However, doctors admit that it cannot be diagnosed objectively. A diagnosis is based solely on what the person says. This makes it particularly wrong to diagnose gender dysphoria in a child. To medicalise a child – and it is important to note that almost 100% of kids who are given puberty blockers go on to take irreversible cross-sex hormones – based on that child’s self-diagnosis is the height of irresponsibility. It is a large-scale medical experiment on children, and we have no doubt that it will soon be exposed as such and stopped. As far as adults are concerned, those who suffer from gender dysphoria should certainly have access to whatever health services they need.
To be clear: we do not believe that it is possible to be “born in the wrong body”, and there is no scientific evidence whatever to support it. We do however believe that some people would describe their subjective feelings this way, and need to undergo medical/surgical steps, as adults, to alleviate these feelings.
What is your view of “self ID”?
Biologists such as Emma Hilton and Colin Wright have made it absolutely clear (in https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-dangerous-denial-of-sex-11581638089) that humans are born male and female. That is biological sex, and every person on the planet was born from an ovum from a female and a sperm from a male. Some people believe that they also have a “gender” or “gender identity”, which differs from their biological sex. No one has ever provided a definition of this “gender” or “gender identity” that is not based on tired old stereotypes: preferences for certain toys, activities, and clothes, and “feminine” versus “masculine” traits. Since we reject gender identity theory, it is clear to us that a male person who self-IDs as a woman remains a male. Whether or not he is treated “as a woman” in a range of social circumstances will depend on that person and on those around him. It cannot and should not be enforced.
We strongly oppose any change in UK law whereby a person can “change sex” by simply making a declaration. Partly because it would put an end to women’s sex-based rights in areas ranging from sport to intimate services, and in places such as hospitals, prisons, rape victim shelters and changing rooms, and partly because it would make it far easier than it is now for bad actors who are not “trans” at all to take advantage of the new situation. This is very obvious from the appalling abuses that have been catalogued in Canada, and against which women are now fiercely fighting back.
In addition – and this is particularly important to us, as an organisation that represents LGB people – self-ID effectively erases us as a group. We are people whose sexual orientation is towards people of the same sex, or in the case of bisexuals towards people of either sex. The idea of a “gender spectrum” renders our sexual orientation meaningless, and that is completely unacceptable.