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Trans activist group Mermaids accused of homophobia over legal attempt to silence gay rights group

A British court heard the final arguments in the case brought by Mermaids to strip gay rights group LGB Alliance of its charitable status, with the lawyers claiming the legal challenge was profoundly homophobic.

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Mia Ashton Montreal QC
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A British court heard final arguments this week in the case of the trans activst group Mermaids’ legal bid to strip gay rights charity LGB Alliance of its charitable status, with the legal counsel for LGB Alliance claiming the legal challenge was profoundly homophobic and deeply offensive.

Karon Monaghan KC, representing LGB Alliance, claimed the Mermaids case relied upon “insinuation” and “conspiracy,” suggesting that they were deliberately deceiving the Charity Commission about the purpose of their organization, reported The Telegraph.

Monaghan pointed out that throughout the hearing, Mermaids had suggested that language such as sex-based rights, sexual orientation, and words such as gay, lesbian, and bisexual were “used to signal [a] position against trans rights.”

“This is deeply offensive, and it is profoundly homophobic,” said Monaghan. “It is again the love that cannot speak its name.”

Mermaids, a UK charity set up to help so-called “transgender children,” challenged the Charity Commission’s decision to award charity status to LGB Alliance, alleging that the group’s real purpose “is the denigration of trans people and the destruction of organizations that support them, in particular through political lobbying.”

LGB Alliance, founded in 2019 and awarded charity status in 2021, maintain that their group “exists to provide support, advice, information and community to men and women who are same-sex attracted.” The founders have spoken out about the harm they believe gender identity ideology is doing to the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community—namely, erasing them through transition and remaking them as straight members of the opposite sex.

"Gender identity theory says that males who 'identify' as women can call themselves lesbians. This is a kind of theft—stealing our word for ourselves—and we will not, do not accept it," said Bev Jackson, co-founder of LGB Alliance, who explained that her group applied for charitable status in 2020 “to challenge the dominance of those who promote the damaging theory of gender identity.

In his closing argument, Michael Gibbon KC, counsel for Mermaids, said that LGB Alliance’s objectives were based on conflict and confrontation, making its approach “fundamentally unpleasant, aggressive and corrosive of public discourse” The Guardian reported.

Gibbon claimed that LGB Alliance was attempting to undermine the work of trans charities like Mermaids “by promoting the view that they spread disinformation, and by seeking to deprive them of funding.”

But Iain Steele, counsel for the Charity Commission, told the court that there is public benefit to having charities with different world views as this encourages debate of the issue of diversity and equality, and that he felt LGB Alliance promotes constructive debate on difficult and problematic issues.

The children’s charity Mermaids is currently also being investigated by the Charity Commission following several complaints about safeguarding failures. An investigation by The Telegraph revealed that the charity supplies children with chest compression devices known as "breast binders" against the wishes of parents, and gives out inaccurate medical advice regarding puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones despite not being a medical organization.

In 2009, the current CEO of Mermaids, Susie Green, took her biological male child, Jackie, to Thailand for sex-reassignment surgery as a 16th birthday present. When discussing the child’s penile inversion with friends, she later joked about how "there wasn’t much there to work with" because Jackie had been on puberty blockers from a very young age and hadn’t developed sufficiently. Green had obtained the puberty blockers online from a doctor in the US because at the time they were unavailable in the UK.

The tribunal is expected to give its ruling in this case next year.

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