A barrister has raised £60,000 in 24 hours to bring a case for victimisation against her chambers and LGBT group Stonewall, despite her crowdfunding page being suspended.
Allison Bailey has accused Garden Court Chambers and Stonewall of indirectly discriminating against her by treating her as "bigoted" for holding gender critical beliefs, the core of which is that biological sex is immutable and people cannot change sex.
Bailey claims that Stonewall sought to "intimidate and silence" her by telling Garden Court Chambers that it needed to take action against her or risk damaging its relationship with the influential charity, which certifies the set as a 'Stonewall Diversity Champion'. Last November Garden Court Chambers investigated Bailey and upheld some of its findings, prompting her to propose her employment tribunal action.
Bailey, who is a lesbian, alleges that Stonewall targeted her because she helped found LGB Alliance, a gay rights group which has expressed misgivings about Stonewall's direction and power.
Bailey wrote on her CrowdJustice case page that she was concerned with Stonewall's redefinition of homosexuality from 'same sex attraction’ to ‘same gender attraction’. She said Stonewall's stance, which means males can identify as lesbians, has led to lesbians being encouraged to have sex with transwomen and “excoriated for bigotry and transphobia" for being same sex attracted.
She also objected to Stonewall's campaign to amend the Equality Act 2010 to remove exceptions which prevent trans-identified males being admitted into female spaces, which she said would adversely impact upon women in sport, and make women and girls more uncomfortable and vulnerable to male violence in spaces such as changing rooms, prisons, refuges and hospitals. Stonewall made the change as part of its support for transgender people, but Bailey said that “if the new trans activism is not brought to heel, women will disappear as a political class”.
Bailey and a few messages from people who probably didn’t donate.
Bailey raised £48,000 from thousands of donors in six hours on Saturday before CrowdJustice pulled down her case page at 2pm citing "serious complaints".
In an initial statement the platform said, "We messed up. We allowed Ms Bailey's CrowdJustice page to launch before its content in its entirety met the high standards that our community expects of us".
It subsequently re-opened the page after deleting most of the content, including Bailey's picture, references to her being black or a lesbian, her specific issues with Stonewall, her gender critical beliefs, and all messages from donors. Contrary to CrowdJustice's usual practice, it also prevented further donations once Bailey's first "stretch target" of £60,000 was reached.
In a follow-up statement, CrowdJustice said Bailey had used "unnecessarily inflammatory and offensive" language, and that because she refused to amend her page, it would not allow her to collect more money as "we could not accurately represent to backers what any further funds would be used for".
"I felt sick. I had been shut down, stopped from speaking", said Bailey in a detailed statement. "But I will not stop speaking, and I will not be erased".
A Stonewall spokesperson said, "We work with a diverse range of organisations through our Diversity Champions programme to give advice on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination and how they can be more inclusive of LGBT people. While we aren’t able to comment on individual cases, we know it’s vital businesses take active steps in creating equality for all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people".