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KCL LGBT+ Society protest against LGB Alliance Conference

LGB Alliance

On Thursday, October 21, members of the KCL LGBT+ Society stood outside of the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster as part of a larger protest against the LGB Alliance Conference.

The protest regarded the LGB Alliance’s views on sex and gender. On their website, the group claims that gay men and bisexual people are under threat from new ideologies conflating biological sex with the notion of gender identity and replacing sex with gender, thereby erasing same-sex sexual orientation.

Views such as these led to the accusation that the LGB Alliance are a transphobic hate group. The LGB Alliance deny these accusations, stating that they don’t practice or advocate hatred, hostility or violence towards any one or any group.

Members of KCL LGBT+ Society who were at the protest said they opposed the conference due to their disagreement with the LGB Alliance’s view that lesbian, gay and bisexual issues are separate from transgender issues. These protesters stated that this ignores the contributions of transgender figures to gay rights movements worldwide.

“They want to get rid of us, even though we led the way. Trans people have played such a major part in queer rights and queer history. In the first Pride March [with] Marsha P. Johnson, and they just don’t want to acknowledge us; they want us gone,” one said.

These protesters’ views were similar to those of others opposing the conference. Avril Clark, who attended the protest, said that the LGB Alliance “really don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re trying to split the T away from the LG and B, and they belong together. We are a family and we fight together, and if you start splitting one then all of the others will start being split too.”

This was the first conference that the LGB Alliance has held. Outside of the government-owned conference venue, a crowd of around 50 protesters chanted and held placards. At one point attendees of the conference left the venue and began to watch, photograph and record the protesters. This quickly led to the groups arguing.

One attendee called the protesters “homophobes” and began kissing his partner – a common strategy used by gay and bisexual people to protest anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, particularly from right-wing and religious fundamentalist groups.

Commenting on this, one of the protesters said, “We’re all gay! We used to be united and [for the most part] we are, they don’t even support gay marriage.” This accusation is likely a reference to a now-deleted tweet the LGB Alliance wrote in June 2020. PinkNews reported that this tweet read: “To those people saying it is ‘homophobic’ not to be in favour of gay marriage have a look at the statistics. It seems it’s rather a small minority who have made their wedding vows.”

One protester, a member of KCL LGBT+ Society, shared how they spent 7 years on a waiting list for an initial consultation for NHS gender-related healthcare and, as a non-binary person, is not legally recognised as their gender in the UK under the Gender Recognition Act 2004. They said that they worry about the possibility of the LGB Alliance’s ideas distracting from and reinforcing these issues.

“We suffer so much already just to live a normal life [with] things like legal obstacles, medical obstacles like the long waiting list, they just don’t care.”

They argued that, “the more power they have, the further we are away from having rights. We’re not going to be able to have normal lives if people like this still have power. And I think that there is so much misinformation about trans people specifically anyway…a government-funded charity in the centre of London, for everyone to see, spreading misinformation and hate [like this] is dangerous.”

In 2021, the Charity Commission for England and Wales entered the LGB Alliance onto the register of charities. The Commission concluded that the LGB Alliance’s purpose did not involve the “denigration of the rights of transgender people” and noted that “LGB Alliance asserts that it engages constructively and respectfully with representatives of the transgender community, has a number of supporters within the transgender community, invited transgender supporters to attend and speak at the meetings it has held and has spoken publicly about its commitment to equality and respect for transgender people.”

The transgender group Mermaids have launched an appeal against this decision which numerous LGBT+ organisations, including LGBT+ Consortium and LGBT Foundation, have supported.

In a post about this appeal, Mermaids argued that a statement made by LGB Alliance director, Bev Jackson, that the organisation is “applying for charitable status and building an organisation to challenge the dominance of those who promote the damaging theory of gender identity”, indicates that the organisation’s “real purpose is the denigration of trans people and the destruction of organisations that support them”.

The hearing for this appeal is set for 2022.

Former Culture Editor for Roar News.

News Editor at Roar News

News Editor; BA Liberal Arts, majoring in Politics

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