LGB Alliance: Who, What, Why, When

The origins of LGB Alliance

LGB Alliance was founded at Conway Hall on 22 October 2019 by two lesbians — Kate Harris and Bev Jackson. Kate is a lifelong feminist and lesbian activist and was a volunteer fundraiser for Stonewall while working as an executive at American Express. Bev was a founding member of the UK Gay Liberation Front and has a long history of activism for progressive causes, including refugee rights. She is a translator and writer.

In 2015 the large organisation Stonewall, which had helped achieve landmark victories such as the repeal of the infamous Section 28 and the introduction of same-sex marriage, changed its mandate under its new CEO Ruth Hunt. It became LGBT instead of LGB, and embraced “gender identity”. It soon redefined gay and lesbian to mean “same gender” instead of “same sex” attraction. This means males who “identify” as women now call themselves “lesbians” (and vice versa for gay men). Stonewall rejects those who disagree for not being “inclusive”.

Many lesbians in particular, finding themselves abandoned by their own movement, were dismayed but their concerns were ignored. Kate approached Stonewall repeatedly – for years – for dialogue but was fobbed off: “No debate”. She and Jonny Best posted a petition asking Stonewall for dialogue: it garnered 10,000 replies, 2,000 of them with heartfelt pleas urging Stonewall to listen and engage, but “No debate” persisted. Meanwhile, Bev too had been trying to no avail to get Stonewall to listen. Bev and Kate met in the spring of 2019.

All other groups that had once promoted LGB rights followed Stonewall’s lead and decided that what mattered was a person’s subjective “gender identity”, not their sex. Those who disagreed were smeared as “bigots” or even “fascists” and “Nazis”. Asserting you are only attracted to people of the same sex was now called “exclusionary”. If you have such “preferences” you should keep quiet about it, not say it out loud, certainly not at a Pride event, since that will be felt by some to be hurtful. In other words, gays and lesbians should go back into the closet. Homosexuality was once again “the love that cannot speak its name.” Incredibly, this homophobic narrative was proclaimed as the new progressive doctrine that everyone should embrace.

Bev and Kate decided to contact around 70 other LGB people with similar concerns, to hold a meeting and to launch a new organisation. They spent months preparing like underground resistance workers, keeping their meeting secret, because of the hostile climate for their ideas. The aim was to reinstate the idea that it is fine to be homosexual and to help lesbians, gays and bisexuals – especially those confused by the new emphasis on “gender identity” – by defending and promoting the rights of people with same-sex sexual orientation and help to revive the LGB community. If Stonewall would no longer champion LGB interests, and would not engage with those with grave concerns about the new direction, LGB people needed their own organisation.

The speakers at that first event – aside from Bev and Kate – were Simon Fanshawe, one of the founders of Stonewall, and Miranda Yardley, a trans person with a strong presence as a human rights activist. It was a wonderful, upbeat meeting. One of the people who attended was the black lesbian barrister Allison Bailey. On the way home on the bus, she announced the formation of the new organisation with a fiery tweet that went viral. LGB Alliance was announced to the world – before it really existed!

Relief and support

The reaction was instantaneous, huge, and polarised. Many messages were full of relief: “Finally you are here!” “Thank God!” “When are you starting in Australia/Canada etc. etc.?” Lesbians in particular expressed profound gratitude and said they had been feeling isolated and now had hopes this would change. They badly missed the community they felt they had lost. In the view of LGB Alliance, what was being marketed as “inclusion” was no such thing. It was an aggressive dogma, which excluded those who wouldn’t go along with it – and that included lesbians, gay men and bisexuals who knew perfectly well their sexual orientation is based on sex, not “gender identity”.

A steady stream of lesbians and later also gay men wrote to congratulate the team and to offer their skills in support of the new group. Donations also steadily increased. Public figures would often write privately that they supported LGB Alliance’s initiative, but said apologetically that they were unable to speak out publicly. Few were willing to sacrifice their career to help LGB people and women to protect our rights – as Graham Linehan, for instance, has done.

Letters explaining LGB Alliance’s position to civil servants, politicians, the police, and the EHRC, eventually yielded results, and more and more constructive meetings were held.

Although the new group had no money and depended on individual donations, there were ambitious plans, to support besieged LGB people in other countries and establish services in the UK, ranging from a helpline for young LGB people to old-age homes for elderly gays and lesbians.


But Kate and Bev – and the rapidly-assembled little team including Allison Bailey and Malcolm Clark — also received a barrage of abuse – before a single public statement had been made. That abuse has continued to this day. People sent obscene and intimidating messages and images, and encouraged their supporters to harass us. The aim was clearly to make our lives a misery and force us onto the defensive until we were ground down and silenced.

Lies were spread to discredit LGB Alliance and were published in Pink News, which campaigned against the new group from day 1. The lies – that LGB Alliance was funded by the far right or religious right in the US, that it was largely straight, that its supporters were fascists, bigots, Nazis – have continued to this day and have taken root in many parts of society. The fiercest and most determined opponents have been Jolyon Maugham, John Nicolson MP, Owen Jones, Benjamin Cohen and Christine Burns – with all of their false accusations constantly regurgitated by Pink News. Twitter users with huge followings tweeted within a few days of the group forming: “LGB Alliance is a hate group: pass it on”.

Although the initial idea had been to focus on positive initiatives for LGB people, the new organisation was immediately forced on the defensive, fighting against defamatory comments without the resources to pursue defamation suits.

Why did so many of the group’s detractors assume there must be some dark money involved, some shadowy backers? Perhaps it was sheer prejudice and disbelief – to some it seemed implausible that two pretty much unknown elderly women could launch an initiative like this without external funding and largely – in the beginning – without men. The gender identity enthusiasts misread and underestimated the need for LGB Alliance. They also underestimated the determination of LGB Alliance and its many thousands of supporters to revive the campaign for same-sex sexual orientation and to refuse to be redefined in terms of “gender”.

As the group’s popularity grew, the attacks became more intense. In 2022, two women from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a fabulously wealthy organization that once did excellent work fighting the Ku Klux Klan and other vicious groups, adopted the grandiose name “Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) and wrote an article branding LGB Alliance a “hate group”, regurgitating some of the slurs and lies published by Pink News.


In spite of the fierce, prolonged attempts to discredit and silence LGB Alliance, the organisation rapidly grew. Over the first year, dozens of volunteers joined the effort to fight the “new homophobia” – while never losing sight of the more traditional “old homophobia” that was still so virulent. In 69 countries homosexuality is still a criminal offence. Why are none of the well-funded LGBTQ+ groups directing their resources towards helping those on the ground there? LGB Alliance felt this was far more important than celebrating “Ace awareness day” and all the other proliferating days on the TQ+ calendar.

LGB Alliance held a great meeting at Oran Mor, Glasgow in January 2020, and then, during COVID, activities were all held online: a series of webinars examined a range of interesting subjects.

The message disseminated through Twitter caught fire. Similar groups set up around the world: from Serbia and Iceland to Canada, the US and Australia, LGB people started organising to protect their rights from the new assault on them. Messages of support and offers of help continued to pour in, and it was these heartfelt expressions of love and gratitude that kept us going through the endless campaign of defamation pursued by our opponents.

For the first few months, LGB Alliance was a Twitter account run by Bev, a letter-writing campaign run by Kate, a research campaign run by Malcolm, and a small committee that met to devise plans. There was almost no money. The group relied entirely on donations from individuals. Even so, it gathered more and more support, especially from lesbians and from parents of troubled teens. It was a game changer when JK Rowling began to openly support our positions. Later on, Martina Navratilova also expressed her support.

Because the mainstream media ostracised LGB Alliance, our main communication channel was the Twitter account, which grew to over 40,000 followers within 2 years and now stands at almost 60,000. Gradually more and more people came to realise that LGB Alliance was simply doing what Stonewall had once done: championing the rights of people with same-sex sexual orientation and making it clear that LGB people don’t need medical treatment of any kind.

Puberty blockers

It soon became clear to the Management Team that one of our main priorities must be to alert society to what was happening to young LGB people – especially lesbians. The story was not reaching the mainstream media. More and more young women – “detransitioners” — were coming forward who said they regretted their “transition” and now realised they had suffered from internalized homophobia. Young men too. They had ruined their bodies and profoundly regretted it, angry that they had not received decent care when they were young and vulnerable. Both Kate and Bev felt that if they were growing up now, they would immediately demand puberty blockers, testosterone, “top surgery” and the rest. Because that is the message being disseminated online to “gender-non-conforming” children and young women and men. And the determination to publicise this scandal and to put an end to it accounts for a lot of what drove them.

Malcolm Clark – from the start a key member of the Management Team and an expert science researcher – as well as Bev and Kate gathered evidence proving that puberty blockers are neither harmless nor reversible, as is often claimed. They highlighted the false suicide statistics used to promote transition in children. They pointed out that more and more detransitioners were speaking out – mostly young women who bitterly regretted their medical interventions. They pointed out that most of the teens referred to gender clinics were LGB – especially lesbians. Their critics hated these messages. Especially those in the United States who were starting to pay attention to the developments in what they called “Terf Island”. In the US, “liberals” are largely still convinced by the “born in the wrong body” notion and refer to puberty blockers, hormones and mastectomies as “gender affirming healthcare.” Our detractors were even more infuriated when many of the points we made were confirmed by Dr David Bell, former governor at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust.

Homophobia and “Transition”

It is clear from the backstories of high-profile “trans kids” like Kai Shappley, which can be viewed online, that the parents’ homophobia was often a key part of the transition story. Kai’s mother said of her child, who was then just two years old, that she thought Kai might be gay, and added: “That could not happen. That would not happen.” Kai went on to became a poster child for the trans movement and a TV celebrity.

To its shame, the BBC – trained by Stonewall – has swallowed the “born in the wrong body story” and taught it to children: in drama series and even in educational programmes. Stonewall and similar groups earn a great deal of money training teachers, police officers, health workers, civil servants to practise “inclusion”.

Because LGB Alliance opposes the medicalisation of gender non-conforming children, and believes that it is to at least some extent driven by homophobia, it is opposed by groups that are largely supportive of this medicalisation. One of these groups is Mermaids.

Charitable status

In April 2021, LGB Alliance was finally awarded charitable status, in spite of protests and petitions by detractors, after a process that had lasted well over a year, The organisation immediately set about adopting the proper formal structures: it appointed a board of trustees, adopted a more measured approach on social media, and set about developing all the appropriate policies. At length it was finally able to appoint the first two paid members of staff: a part-time managing director, Kate Barker, and a part-time head of operations, Kerry Mullin.

The award of charitable status provoked a renewed burst of indignation from the organisation’s detractors.

The importance of LGB Alliance as a charity

Why does the existence of LGB Alliance as a charity matter? Diversity within the charity sector is a good thing and promotes public debate. The sex and gender issue is the most polarised issue in society. Those opposing the view that puberty blockers should be widely available to all children who want them are accused of “wanting trans children to be dead”. This is a vile attempt to suppress freedom of expression and it has been highly successful.

Those of us who fought for gay rights in the 1970s remember what it was about. We were opposed by social conservatives who maintained that sex was about making babies – that sex between people of the same sex was unnatural and disgusting. We fought for recognition for people with same-sex sexual orientation – initially alongside women’s liberation, who were fighting many of the same prejudices.

Those rights still matter. And everyone who claims that sex is not important, or who makes up unscientific nonsense about there being more than two sexes, is undermining them.

When society takes an odd turn – as it has with sex and gender, embracing points of view that push some rights at the expense of others, all the while insisting there is no conflict of rights at all – it is crucial that dissenters are allowed a full participation in public life. That naturally includes the right to form charities protecting and promoting the interests of the disadvantaged groups.

Disrupting the narrative

The positions adopted by LGB Alliance are largely similar to those of dozens of grassroots women’s groups: from Sex Matters and For Women Scotland to FiLiA. So why has it been attacked more viciously than these other groups? Because it disrupts the narrative. Until LGB Alliance came along, the view was presented – and went largely unchallenged – that trans rights were the new civil rights campaign – the natural next step towards equality for all. Anyone who challenged gender identity was branded “homophobic”. LGB Alliance made it clear that many – if not the majority – of LGB people know perfectly well that sexual orientation is about sex, not subjective “gender identity”. That LGB people know lesbians don’t have penises and gay men don’t have vaginas. There have always been men who say with a smirk that they “feel like lesbians”. It wasn’t funny 50 years ago and it isn’t funny now.

Mermaids vs. the Charity Commission and LGB Alliance

When LGB Alliance was awarded charitable status in the spring of 2021, its opponents were furious. After a few weeks, Jolyon Maugham tweeted that he thought he had found a way of challenging the decision. Soon it became apparent what that was. Mermaids announced its intention to challenge the Charity Commission’s decision to award LGB Alliance charitable status, in a case funded by Maugham’s Good Law Project. This led to a seven-day hearing in September and November 2022. The tribunal’s judgment is awaited in the near future.