A lesbian barrister says she has been "thrown under the bus" by her chambers, which is investigating her for setting up a lesbian, gay and bisexual group that opponents claim is transphobic.

Allison Bailey, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers, has received death threats for promoting LGB Alliance on social media.

The new group says its aim is to "counteract the confusion" in the public sector between sex, which is biologically determined, and gender, which is a social construct often based on stereotypical characteristics of men and women.

LGB Alliance argues that homosexuality is same-sex attraction, putting it in opposition to the UK's largest LGBT charity, Stonewall, which now defines homosexuality as same-gender attraction. Stonewall’s interpretation enables male-bodied people to identify as lesbians and female-bodied people to identify as gay men.

Bailey said the "bigger picture" was that Stonewall had "signed up many companies, public bodies, voluntary organisations and government departments to their manifesto and their value system regarding trans rights", and has been "so successful" that the "planned compulsory education in primary and secondary schools from 2020 will tell children that 'gender identity' is a reality they need to understand".

Bailey's new group argues that telling children who do not conform to gender stereotypes that they are born in the wrong body is "damaging and regressive". It also believes that, contrary to the stance promoted by Stonewall and trans rights activists, sex "is not ‘assigned’ at birth but observed", and that the "soaring numbers of teenage girls suddenly presenting as trans is evidence of social contagion and discomfort about lesbianism".


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Dresses for girls and guns for boys. Educational slide from transgender children’s charity Mermaids.


Critics called LGB Alliance "transphobic" and "disgusting". Andi Maratos, CEO of Chrysalis, a charity tackling transgender isolation, said, "Any organisation that purports to support those of diverse sexualities yet which excludes those of trans and questioning gender identities actively conflates sexuality with gender identity since it ignores the obvious fact that trans people can be lesbians, gays, bisexual, straight, asexual or any other sexuality."

Garden Court posted a statement on its website emphasising that Bailey's group was not a part of it, "nor representative of the views of Chambers". It then announced on Twitter that it was "investigating concerns" about Bailey. "We take these concerns v seriously & will take appropriate action", it said.


bailey

Bailey joins the fray.


Bailey said Garden Court had "simply gone along with what the hate mob want" and were "offering me no support whatsoever". She added that she had "no faith" its complaints process would be conducted fairly. One factor which might lead her to that conclusion is fellow Garden Chambers barrister Alex Sharpe, a transwoman and trans rights activist.

Sharpe, who presumably gives Bailey a wide berth at the office, has previously said lesbians should consider why they won't sleep with transwomen who identify as lesbians, and has implied that lesbians who don’t question their attraction to people of the same sex are being unethical. Referring to the ‘cotton ceiling’, a term coined by trans rights activists to describe lesbians' refusal to have sex with people with penises, Sharpe tweeted, "Cotton ceiling. There is nothing wrong with asking people to reflect on preferences where they exclude a whole class of ppl”. Sharpe added, “If X likes white guys, but only white guys, he should not be forced or pressured to have sex with non-white guys, but it might be ethical to reflect on why".

Garden Court did not respond to a request for comment.

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Comments

Dearie 08 November 19 08:40

so sad to see Stonewall lose it’s way like this. Forcing people to say if they would or wouldn’t sleep with a transgender person to prove their sexuality? I fear this recent trend of labelling anything “transphobic” will end up doing a lot of harm to LGBTQ.

Al 08 November 19 08:45

Is there anyone in the world who *doesn't* exclude some people in their sexual preference? You don't find that many people who are keen to go with anyone, man or woman, penis or no penis. Generally people have a preference for one or the other. 

Orwell 08 November 19 09:15

"Bailey's new group argues that telling children who do not conform to gender stereotypes that they are born in the wrong body is "damaging and regressive"."

This x 1 million. This debate is getting scary, and there are people in the trans community who are similarly worried.  

Anonymous 08 November 19 09:18

How have people time for this?

Building your identity around who you want to f**k is immature and in bad taste. Do your thing and shut up. Nobody cares.

Anonymous 08 November 19 10:01

Serious questions. “lesbians, gays, bisexual, straight, asexual or any other sexuality.”  What other sexuality is there? 

the terfinator 08 November 19 10:03

I stand with Allison.  The TRA agenda is harmful to children being swept up in this social contagion and harmful to women who are seeing their single sex spaces threatened.

Just look at that Barbie/GI Joe slide.  Is that really what we want to be teaching our children?  A bunch of outdated stereotypes?

Call yourself Sarah and wear a frock if that makes you happy.  Crack on.  But stay out of my gym changing room and if I see you in my daughter's gym changing room, I will rip your c0ck off.

Anonymous 08 November 19 10:07

"... ‘cotton ceiling’, a term coined by trans rights activists to describe lesbians' refusal to have sex with people with penises..."

I'm not sure why you need a term for this... 

Anonymous 08 November 19 10:12

Can someone translate Maratos' quote? I don't get it at all. Trans people can be gay, sure, but trans isn't a sexuality like L, G and B. So why should it go in the title? Architects can be gay, too, but it's not LGBTA.

I get that Trans people are marginalised, but why has their fight for acceptance been hooked onto the LGB cause? The two groups seem at points, as Bailey illustrates, to be seeking fundamentally different things.  

Anonymous 08 November 19 10:27

On the subject of Stonewall's institutional capture, how about Pinsent Masons and the SRA?

Pinsent Masons was announced as Stonewall's 'most LGBT inclusive employer 2019'. Its head of tech partner happens to be the ex-chair of Stonewall. Pinsent Masons also funded a video for Mermaids. How many of the firm are comfortable with this support of a charity which agitates for kids to be affirmed as trans as quickly as possible, rather than waiting to see if they might just be gay?

PM's work for Mermaids is advertised on the website of the SRA, which also happens to have been advised by Stonewall. The SRA has coughed up the obligatory two grand or so to be a Stonewall Diversity Champion, and now asks for people's gender in its equality survey of the legal profession, not their sex, leading to potentially misleading statistics about the position of women in the profession. Wonder what women's groups the SRA consulted?

Stonewall is seen by employers as a badge of diversity, but as laudable, brave Allison Bailey has shown, perhaps there needs to be a bit more diversity in the LGB (and T) groups on offer, so employers don't just have to get their ticket clipped by Stonewall to prove their LGBT-friendly credibility?

Anon 08 November 19 10:39

I agree with Allison. I'm a gay woman and I was a real tomboy as a child -would I have been encouraged to identify as anything other than a woman if I was young now? Maybe.

I'm glad I'm a gay woman and think we need to keep it simple for children. What do I have in common with anyone who us Trans? Apart from being a minority? #LGB alliance all the way! 

Anonymous 08 November 19 10:40

Allison Bailey is a brave woman and the behaviour of her chambers is absolutely disgraceful.  There are many questions to be asked about institutional capture by Stonewall, Mermaids et al.  Too many institutions and public bodies are sub-contracting their thinking on these matters to lobbying groups who misrepresent the law and encourage a witch hunt against dissenting voices.

A b c 08 November 19 10:47

The issue is that this is not, as it purports to be, a group promoting the interests or rights of LBG people, but one dedicated to criticising the trans movement. At the very least we have to ask why the group doesn’t feel comfortable being upfront about this.  Possibly because there is in fact something unsavoury about a group dedicated to criticism of a minority group who already suffer discrimination and violence etc...

Anonymous 08 November 19 11:02

A b c - I don’t see it as being “dedicated to criticising the trans movement”. It is critical of the approach taken by Stonewall, and why shouldn’t it be? Stonewall don’t have a monopoly on being right. It’s a very sensitive issue, particularly where kids are concerned, and people have different opinions on how to handle it. 

Anonymous 08 November 19 11:43

This is eye-opening about Stonewall. I did not know they had redefined homosexuality. Very strange, and concerning.

Anonymous 08 November 19 13:47

“I can’t give reasons why, so I’ll just call them bigots and hopefully that will be enough to shut up these pesky women”

Anonymous 08 November 19 15:01

I’m bi and I absolutely stand with transgender men and women against the kind of divisive repellant ladder pulling represented by people like Bailey and those who use people like her in order to further victimise LGBTQ people. I absolutely support Stonewall’s position and those who side with the likes of “LGB Alliance” should be ashamed of themselves.

Bato 08 November 19 15:26

15:01. Hang on. You’ve come in blustering but don’t say why any of what they’re saying is wrong. 

Isn’t it actually trans rights activists who are being divisive, because they argue against same sex attraction? And for ‘same gender attraction, which is a very new (and completely batshit) idea.

Equally, the idea that ‘transwomen are women’ only popped up about last week, so why is it  outrageous to question it? It has huge repercussions for gay people and women in particular.

A lot of the supporters of LGB Alliance and the ideas they stand for are lesbian and gay, and it is quite important for them to protect the fact that they are same sex attracted. I don’t know how old you are, but it was a mission for them to get to that point. To accuse a  lesbian of being a disgrace because she doesn’t think lesbians have penises is utterly wild. 

 

 

Anonymous 08 November 19 15:39

I find it instructive that one side gives reasons and the other only spits invective and tries to shame the other side into being silent. 

Anonymous 08 November 19 16:14

I get that there are strong beliefs on both sides, but shutting down all debate by calling one point of view “a disgrace” doesn’t advance the conversation, or anyone’s understanding of why that person believes what they believe. It’s a very nuanced issue and there isn’t a black and white answer. I don’t know anything about teaching of LGBT issues in schools, but it would seem to me that there has to be an informed debate as to what the state should be telling our kids. 

Anonymous 08 November 19 16:18

The superwoke are a sight to behold. Take this hilarious agony column: https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/11/ask-trans-women-about-their-genitals-while-dating.amp?__twitter_impression=true

It’s a woke guy who says he’s straight worrying that he doesn’t really want to have sex with pre-op transwomen and asking if that’s ok. Response from superwoke agony panel: ‘if the writer is this hung up on genitals, is there underlying transphobia? Or homophobia in his line about not wanting to play with dick?’

argh! Your sexuality is not ‘phobic’.

 

Wokey McWoke 08 November 19 17:34

@16.18 - sounds like he could do with a visit to his local woke support group - https://vimeo.com/276940268

Thank you 09 November 19 09:30

Expressing an opinion, which is based on science and logic, gets you labelled as “transphobic” or “TERF”. We’ve had enough of special snowflakes trying to erase biological fact and gain privileges for themselves. “Feeling” like a of woman does not make one so. Womanhood is not a feeling. How insulting to reduce the experiences of woman to a mere emotion. We don’t opt in or out of our sex, like some girls can’t opt in or out of FGM or brutalisation by religious extremists. Malala couldn’t claim to feel like a “man” and go to school safely. 

FGS 09 November 19 09:32

It’s hilarious how so many transpeople demand that you must accept their genitalia, when they hate their own. The cotton ceiling is real. Lesbian who won’t date a tranwoman are labelled “terfs” or fake lesbians. 

Anonymous 09 November 19 11:51

Sometimes I wish I was a really pretty girl with a figure like Katie Bell.

Quite a lot of the time actually.

I've never told anyone but I like to think about it.

Anonymous 11 November 19 16:57

Bato 08 November 19 15:26

 

Not sure where you got the idea that 'trans women are women' has only popped up in the last week from... Trans women have been fighting to be recognised as women for years, legal recognition of this being slow but steady. I also don't understand how you can think of it as any different. Of COURSE trans women are women?! (And vice versa, trans men are men - though they are so often sidelined in any such debate).

 

Trans men and women were at the front lines of almost every fight for LGBT+ rights in history and for any members of that community to now throw them under the bus for transphobes is disgusting (I won't use the term TERF because there's nothing radical or feminist about excluding trans people from your activism).

 

Interestingly though if you look at social media comments in support of Bailey and others it's almost all straight people expressing their support and not other members of the LGBT+ community - we know where we stand.

F 13 November 19 02:43

i am gay and absolutely support Bailey’s concerns about trans activist activity aimed at children 

advocating medical intervention for minors is not the same as sex education which mentions homosexuality 

Anonymous 14 November 19 08:19

I want to dress up as a horse and fcuk a watermelon.

Where the fcku is my representation.  You're all bi-, tri- and tetragots.

 

anon @ 0918h on 8/11 has it.  stfu and nob who/what you fancy.

anonandon 14 November 19 17:30

To anon at 15.01, 8 Nov who says' those who side with the likes of “LGB Alliance” should be ashamed of themselves.'

Have you questioned why they have joined LGB Alliance?  Are all these LGB people suddenly twisted transphobic bigots or is it more likely they have genuine and valid concerns about the current trans ideology?  Trans rights are as important as LGB rights but their right to define what LGB sexuality has been given priority over the rights of LGB to define LGB sexuality. 

Surely you must think it's wrong that a lesbian can be called a transphobe because she will not consider a person with a penis as a partner?  Or, at the least, that the topic needs more consideration that Stonewall et al have given it?