The trans charity, Mermaids, has had its appeal against the LGB Alliance dismissed by a tribunal.
On Thursday (6 July) judges ruled that Mermaids did not have the legal standing to mount the appeal against the LGB Alliance’s charitable status.
Controversially, the LGB Alliance was granted charitable status by the Charity Commission in April 2021.
Mermaids’ appeal, supported by The Good Law Project and others, was launched in June 2021. Hearings were held in September and November 2022.
“That puts a huge question mark over LGBA’s status”
In the ruling handed down on Thursday, Judges Lynn Griffin and Joseph Neville said they had dismissed the appeal because the Commission’s decision “does not relate to Mermaids, it is not about Mermaids nor its work.”
It also concluded: “The fact that Mermaids and those they support have been affected emotionally and/or socially is insufficient to provide them with standing to bring this appeal, no matter the depth of the feelings resulting from the Decision or the strength of their disagreement.”
On whether the LGB Alliance is a charity as defined by the Charities Act 2011, the judges said they could not rule on this despite being invited to.
“The two members of the panel hearing this appeal have been unable to reach agreement,” on that issue, the ruling read.
In its response to the ruling Mermaids said “we think that is a really significant outcome,” specifically regarding the refusal to comment on whether the LGB Alliance should have been made a charity.
“That puts a huge question mark over LGBA’s status,” the charity continued.
It also wrote: “We are pleased that one of the judges accepted our evidence that LGBA should never have been registered as a charity. But we are disappointed that the Tribunal wasn’t able to go further.”
Mermaids confirmed it is seeking advice about appealing the ruling but would “continue to focus on the critical, urgent challenges which trans young people and their families have told us they’re experiencing.”
“Demonising and undermining those who think differently is not acceptable behaviour from any charity on our register”
The Charity Commission welcomed the judgment saying: “It is not the Charity Commission’s role to regulate public debate on sensitive issues on which there are deeply held, sincere beliefs on all sides.”
It maintained it applied the law as it should. It added: “We understand both charities hold opposing views, but when engaging in public debate and campaigning, they should do so with respect and tolerance.
“Demonising and undermining those who think differently is not acceptable behaviour from any charity on our register.”
Unsurprisingly, the LGB Alliance welcomed the ruling.
The LGB Alliance was founded in 2019 purportedly to “advance the interests of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals”, has publicly campaigned against reforming the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier for trans people to gain legal recognition.