Yes, the LGB Alliance is a hate group.
There is no queer liberation without trans+ and nonbinary people.
I was disappointed but not surprised to see the formation of the new anti-trans group, the LGB Alliance. The LGB Alliance is positioning itself as a group that is focusing on “sexual orientation” as a necessity as “lesbians in particular, and recently gay men too, are suffering from the confusion between sex and gender”.
At the meeting, the group formed of “influential lesbians, gay men and bisexuals” revealed its mission to “counteract the confusion between sex and gender which is now widespread in the public sector and elsewhere”.
“This is an historic moment for the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual movement. *LGB Alliance* launched in London tonight, and we mean business. Spread the word, gender extremism is about to meet its match.” — Allison Bailey, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers tweeted about its launch. Her twitter states that she is “gender critical” and that “biological reality before gender identity”.
There has been much outrage and backlash from the wider queer community against the LGB Alliance but was has been truly saddening is to see the flood of support towards the group. Although much of this support has been from the religious right and from transphobic straight groups, it is still deeply disturbing to see gay men and women in particular voice their support for an organisation that deliberately seeks to erase a fundamental part of our community and liberation movement. The same gay men and women who benefit today from a movement that has had historic contributions made to it by trans activists.
I spoke to many trans+ and nonbinary people to get their reactions to the launch of the LGB Alliance, which insists that it’s not a hate group and that it is not anti trans: “We are a group of women and men in the UK who understand that homosexuality is same-sex attraction and that gender is a social construct which reinforces stereotypes. We are not anti-trans. We are pro-LGB and we are advocating for LGB rights.” — According to the LGB Alliance website. It further states on their JustGiving page header that “homosexuality is same sex atraction. Biological sex is real. Sex is a binary, not a spectrum. Gender is a social construct.” They further add that the inflammatory opinion that gender theories are regarded “as pseudo-scientific and dangerous”.
It’s clear that with the divisive rhetoric of flawed biological essentialism (that biological sex and gender are the same thing) and gender essentialism (that there are only binary genders), their rejection of transgender people as part of our liberation movement and with their patronising view of trans people as simply those who are still either in actuality “male or female” but only “self identify” as other genders, that the LGB Alliance is steeped in transphobia. Yes, the LGB Alliance is a hate group. Their Facebook page and Twitter continue to link to transphobic articles. For a group that’s supposedly concerned with pushing only the agenda of LGB people, they seem to be quite obsessed with trans people.
All the trans+ and nonbinary people I spoke to responded with fear, frustration and sadness. These attacks are not new, and neither are they new when they come from within our community. It is by no means a shock for trans+ and non binary people to be confronted by the rhetoric that the LGB Alliance is using, but what’s disheartening is that it’s emboldening further divisiveness within a community that’s facing a landscape of rising homophobia, transphobia, violence and invalidation.
At best the LGB Alliance are outdated in their thinking and need education and empathy to address the fears that they have, but at worst, the LGB Alliance are fuelling a culture of transphobia that has direct, harmful and often violent implications for trans+ and nonbinary people.
“The divisiveness these people push is exhausting. These issues have always been intertwined. The arguments against homosexuality are the same as those against transgender-ness.” — Phoenix Gray
The fear however, is not just that the LGB Alliance exists. Transphobia has always existed and we have always battled it. The fear is that the wider queer community is apathetic to trans issues. Watching our cisgender gay, lesbian and bisexual friends and peers staying silent is painful, as is watching our exhausted and burned out trans activist friends steady themselves to fight all over again.
“I really worry about apathy in the community more than anything. We have these hate filled folx and then we have a few people fighting them who are often the most marginalised and the we have the vast majority of the LGB community thinking its not their fight.” — Lex
There is the fear that the most marginalised trans people in our communities, who are already struggling in the face of discrimination and transphobia, will have to be the ones again to challenge this violent rhetoric. According to Stonewall, 41% of trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months. When not facing the constant battle of homonormative and heteronormative violence, trans people are struggling to get access to the care and support they need. 64% of nonbinary people and 60% of trans people are likely to have felt that life is not worth living, while 67% of trans people have experienced depression in the last year (Stonewall).
“When I heard about the LBG alliance, I felt exhausted. To be rejected so soundly by a community to which I belong is hurtful and frankly, tiring. It is a slow, grinding sadness that drains me of my energy. I know I have to fight, but I’m tired.” — Cass, an AFAB non binary drag performer
The every day landscape for trans+ and nonbinary people is filled with violence, invalidation and constant discrimination. And so the silence of the more privileged members of our community sounds louder than it has ever before in the face of the LGB Alliance. Especially when homophobia and transphobia are both rooted in the same hatred of people who’s behaviour and presentation doesn’t meet the normative stereotypes, its now more important than ever that LGB+ people are tackling transphobia and showing up for trans people.
LGB Alliance: The 20 Point Positioning
According to their GoFundMe page, the LGB Alliance has stated that they have agreed upon a 20 point position statement. Out of these 20 points, they have shared a few of them.
I asked all the trans+ and nonbinary people I spoke to for their responses to these points:
Homosexuality is same-sex (not same-gender) attraction
- “This is rooted in the assertion that ‘sex’ is an unarguable scientific fact and that there are two ‘sexes’. Once upon a time scientists thought the Earth was flat. Science has moved on, we know a lot more about sex now and using narrow outdated sex categories as a way to try and erase trans experience is ridiculous.” — Ali Brumfitt, Genderqueer performer
- “Attraction is not based on genitals or reproductive categories as these CANNOT be known at point of attraction. Sex as a category in people is a socially constructed one and fundamentally the same as gender.” — Phoenix Gray
Lesbians are biological women who are attracted to other biological women
- “Lesbians are women who are attracted to women. All women are biological, as they are not mechanical. Trans women are women and this is an overtly transphobic statement that polices the sexuality of many cis lesbians. It’s ONLY function is to erase the gender of trans women.” — Phoenix Gray
Sex is not ‘assigned’ at birth but observed;
- “That is factually incorrect. A series of observations leads to assigning a sex category. It is a category- a way humans have catalogued and recorded things. All biological categories can shift and change as knowledge develops.” — Ali Brumfitt, Genderqueer Performer
It is not transphobic for lesbians to have their own spaces and institutions which exclude male-bodied people;
- “What is a ‘male bodied person?’ Even the medical profession don’t recognise this term. It is transphobic and indeed potentially ableist for certain cis lesbians to sit in judgement over what constitutes and ‘male’ or a ‘female’ body.” — Ali Brumfitt, Genderqueer Performer
- “Cis people do not get to decide what is and isn’t transphobic. Trans women are not “male bodied” and that is a clear and deliberate phrase to misgender and demean trans women by using male terminology and giving the impression of all trans women as masculine in appearance.” — Phoenix Gray
There is often a link between transgender ideology and the suppression of homosexuality;
- “Not at all. Any one that did the lightest of reading around queer history would discover trans women lead our fight back against oppression.” — Lex
Telling children who do not confirm to gender stereotypes that they are born in the wrong body is damaging and regressive;
- “No one should tell any child that they were ‘born in the wrong body’ anymore than anyone should tell a child that they must keep the gender that they were assigned at birth. Children need to be listened to, supported to make choices, supported to try things out and change their mind, supported with good, evidence based information. Transphobic campaigners are preventing young people getting medical support and subjecting them to propaganda.” — Ali Brumfitt, Genderqueer Performer
- “I don’t think we should tell children anything we should listen to them and hear what they say and try and offer age appropriate help.” — Lex
The soaring numbers of teenage girls suddenly presenting as trans is evidence of social contagion and discomfort about lesbianism
- “The term genderqueer is over 100 years old in the English language. People aren’t suddenly presenting, they are accessing language that better describes their experiences. I experience gender euphoria when I wear a binder, when I pack, when I get called male, but I was very comfortable as a lesbian for many years. I’m not uncomfortable about lesbianism, I am just more comfortable as a non-binary person.” — Cass, an AFAB non binary drag performer
The Future of Queer Liberation
“The queer liberation movement has a hell of a long way to go. Transphobia is unfortunately rife; while queerphobia as a whole still exists and should still be fought at every available opportunity, it is so important for us to not let trans and nonbinary issues fall by the wayside.” — Scarlett Lewis, Activist
As part of my interviews, I asked all the trans people I spoke to how we can move on from this as a queer community and what the future should look like for queer liberation. Here are the collective thoughts of trans+ and nonbinary people on what our liberation movement needs to be:
United Queer Liberation
It’s clear that any hard won rights that we have gotten have been a result of steadfast unity. And the future of queer liberation is being united. We should not take any steps back, nor give into calls for divisiveness. Our liberation can only come from our unity.
Unity can only come from empathy, acceptance and inclusion. It comes from the understanding that fighting for your rights does not mean that I will lose my own. Trans inclusion poses no risk to anyone’s rights or sexuality. Cis gay men and women who fear that trans inclusion means that there is a risk to their rights need to re-assess whether pulling the ladder up behind them is the ethical thing to do.
It is for this reason, unity needs to be doubly championed by cisgenedered gay men and women — many of who have remained silent in this conversation. They need to be at the forefront championing inclusion and liberation for all, alongside trans activists.
Intersectional Queer Liberation
It’s important that the future of our liberation is intersectional. It must decolonise, it must dismantle white supremacy, it must destroy patriarchy and it must address all marginalisations including but not limited to gender, race, disability, sexuality, faith and class. It needs to be a liberation movement for all.
Its key that we throw down ropes, ladders, arms, and bring up everyone who is behind us. We need to be clear that anything that pushes people down behind is not welcome, we need to be vocal that transphobia is not welcome, we need to deplatform transphobic rhetoric, we need to remove any opportunity for it to spread, we need to stand in solidarity with trans+ and nonbinary people.
“In order for the LGBT community to move on from this, the LGB Alliance must be deplatformed. The only attention they should receive should be negative and forceful. Deplatforming has been proven to break down the very foundations on which bigots stand, leaving them without an audience, so it is vital that the rest of us, the ones who want to KEEP the T with the LGB, are continuously noisier than them.” — Scarlett Lewis, Activist
Continuously Evolving Liberation
Liberation needs to prioritise the people who are most impacted by the current status quo. Empathy, kindness and care of and for each other are key. We need to be open to being wrong, being challenged, being educated and being accepting to new generations of queer people who are challenging our ideas of sexuality, relationships, gender and identity. We cannot stay entrenched in homonormative definitions and semantics. We cannot assimilate into the same normative that seeks to destroy us. We cannot be held back by fear, and we cannot let our fear hold back others. We can demand a system change and we can work towards it together.
“The argument against (trans rights because it requires a) “system change” is a foolish one. Rights for LGBTQ people has already necessitated system changes.” — Cass, an AFAB non binary drag performer
We must embrace the evolving, fluid, queer future coming our way where there’s room for both the binary and non binary, for the cis and trans, and for the gay and queer to exist harmoniously together. Or we risk losing what little we’ve gained so far.
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Thank you to everyone who took the time, labour and energy to respond to my questions for this article. Your patience, and optimism in the face of such hateful rhetoric has been an inspiration.
- Ali Brumfitt, Genderqueer Performer
- Cass, an AFAB non binary drag performer
- Phoenix Gray
- Scarlett Lewis, Activist
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ADDITIONAL ARTICLES & RESOURCES
Fuck The LGB Alliance, Gal Dem
Activists are protesting a group that wants to drop the T from LGBT, Dazed