Trans activists are furious after a UK-based charity announced it had been granted funding to create a new helpline for lesbian, gay and bisexual young people.
On June 10, LGB Alliance announced on their social media pages that they had been awarded funding from the National Lottery Community Fund in an effort to establish a helpline to support lesbian, gay and bisexual young people. The Alliance was founded in 2019 in opposition to Stonewall’s stance on gender identity issues, specifically that of medically transitioning children, which the Alliance argues is a form of gay “conversion therapy.”
According to the organization, the recently-announced helpline effort aims to support persons aged 13-25, as well as their family and friends, by facilitating up to 60,000 calls per year.
In their announcement on Twitter, LGB Alliance state that the phone lines will be operated by a fully-trained staff of professionals.
LGB Alliance went on to state that there is currently no “dedicated national service of this type for LGB young people” and that they helpline will help fill a gap in existing provisions.
Speaking with Reduxx, Kate Barker, the Managing Director of LGB Alliance, said that the charity was “thrilled” to receive the funding.
“This grant was the culmination of months of work by a brilliant team of volunteers who were truly delighted by the news. We believe young lesbian, gay and bisexual people deserve to know that being same-sex attracted is natural,” Barker said.
“[LGB young people] should be able to speak to someone who accepts them just as they are – their bodies and who they are attracted to. We say, unequivocally, you’re amazing and being same-sex attracted is valid, positive and to be celebrated.”
While women’s rights advocates and LGB people expressed excitement at the news, trans activists immediately slammed the decision as ‘transphobic’ and ‘exclusionary’ as the focus would not be on transgender-identified people.
“This is harmful. LGB is nothing without the T. @LottoGoodCauses do us a good cause and support trans lives just as much as others.” User @domvlogs user said in response to the funding announcement.
“There is something deeply sinister about groups that aim to protect marginalized social groups but pointedly NOT trans people. Especially children. That is so despicable,” wrote another.
One Twitter user even went so far as to state that the helpline was “going to kill kids,” with the tweet receiving over 24,000 ‘likes’ at the time of this writing.
Multiple helpline services currently exist in the UK which support LGB, transgender, and “queer” people. One such example is Switchboard, which has been in operation since 1975. Specific helpline services exclusively for trans people are also available, such as Mindline Trans which “is an emotional and mental health support helpline for anyone identifying as transgender, non-binary, genderfluid.”
Despite similar services existing that specifically support those with issues relating to gender identity, trans activists have begun pushing back against the National Lottery Community Funds decision to grand LGB Alliance funding, and have launched a campaign urging people to file complaints in an effort to get the grant pulled.
One activist, Kieran James, posted a copy of his complaint on social media. The message read: “I beg you to reconsider this decision, taking into account the profound distress, anxiety and fear of the LGBTQ+ community that such a blatantly exclusionary project could be allowed to exist.”
Rob McDowall, chair of Welfare Scotland, also stated that he would be “raising concerns” with the National Lottery Community Fund over this decision.
Reacting to the backlash, Kate Barker says, “whilst the response from LGB people was overwhelmingly positive, we were disappointed by others who appear to be vehemently anti-choice.”
Barker points out that there are many existing specialized support services for people with specific gender identifications, but none exclusively for same-sex attracted youth.
“The view that lesbian, gay and bisexual young people should be denied the same opportunity to be helped smacks of homophobia.”
Barker’s sentiment was shared by many, some of whom took to the National lottery Community Fund’s Twitter replies to thank them for supporting the initiative.
“It’s 2022 and homophobes are giving LGB Alliance a hard time. They deserve the money to do what they do to help support [same sex attracted] people. Thank you for the support”, one user wrote.
This is not the first time trans activists have fought against a decision to award LGB Alliance grant funding.
In April, the London Community Foundation (LCF) awarded LGB Alliance a £9,400 grant to produce a film to make a film to celebrate the Jubilee, with a focus on the experiences of gay men. But due to backlash by trans activists following the announcement of the grant, LCF withdrew the funding.
Since LGB Alliance’s inception, trans activists have also frequently petitioned against their charity status, taking particular issue with their position that sexual orientation is based on biological sex rather than gender identity.
Last year, trans activist organization Mermaids, which promotes the medical transitioning of children, launched a formal complaint against the UK Charity Commission in an effort to appeal their decision to grant LGB Alliance charity status. Crowdfunding the effort, Mermaids has since raised over £73,000 to fund their legal campaign.
Mermaids CEO, Susie Green, is known for having taken her 16 year old son to Thailand for sex reassignment surgery due to its illegality in the United Kingdom. In 2017, Green gave a Ted Talk in which she noted that she and her husband penalized her son when he was a child for being ‘too feminine’ prior to him beginning to identify as a ‘girl.’
Mermaids, which has been described by some as a political lobby group, had once endorsed the services of controversial service GenderGP, an online gender clinic.
Dr. Michael Webberley of GenderGP was recently found guilty of recklessly prescribing puberty blockers and cross sex hormones to patients as young as 9. Amongst the ethical violations that were uncovered about his practice was a case wherein he had prescribed hormone replacement therapy to a 17-year-old girl with autism “when it was not clinically indicated, and without establishing whether the risks were lower than the risks to the patient’s mental and physical health.” The patient took her own life 3 months later.
Mermaids has since removed GenderGP from their website, but discussions about the service have continued to be found on Mermaids’ website forums since then.
Some forum members report GenderGP has less “invasive questions” compared to the gender clinic at Tavistock, which recently came under fire from whistleblowers concerned about the clinic performing ‘conversion therapy‘ on gay youth.
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