Mermaids has launched legal action arguing that the LGB Alliance should be stripped of its charitable status, alleging the organisation is merely a front for transphobia and political campaigning to prevent changes on gender self-identification in the law (file image)

The attempt by trans charity Mermaids to have a gay charity struck off is ‘profoundly homophobic’, a tribunal has heard. 

Mermaids has launched legal action arguing that the LGB Alliance should be stripped of its charitable status, alleging the organisation is merely a front for transphobia and political campaigning to prevent changes on gender self-identification in the law.

The two charities fundamentally disagree on issues of trans rights, with the LGB Alliance taking the view that people cannot change their biological sex while Mermaids argue they can.

It is believed to be the first time a charity has ever challenged the registration of another charity. 

Representing the LGB Alliance, Karon Monaghan KC claimed that Mermaids’ action was ‘profoundly homophobic’ and ‘deeply offensive’, adding: ‘It is again the love the that cannot speak its name’.

Mermaids has launched legal action arguing that the LGB Alliance should be stripped of its charitable status, alleging the organisation is merely a front for transphobia and political campaigning to prevent changes on gender self-identification in the law (file image)

Mermaids has launched legal action arguing that the LGB Alliance should be stripped of its charitable status, alleging the organisation is merely a front for transphobia and political campaigning to prevent changes on gender self-identification in the law (file image)

Mermaids has launched legal action arguing that the LGB Alliance should be stripped of its charitable status, alleging the organisation is merely a front for transphobia and political campaigning to prevent changes on gender self-identification in the law (file image) 

During the hearing, which relies heavily on social media posts, Mermaids had suggested that words like gay, lesbian, bisexual, sexual orientation and sex-based rights were ‘used to signal position against trans rights’, the tribunal in central London heard.

Ms Monaghan claimed Mermaids had not suggested the charity was a ‘sham’ – and instead the case relied upon ‘insinuation’ and ‘conspiracy’ to suggest that they were ‘setting out to deceive’ the Charity Commission about the work they were doing, The Telegraph reported.

Logo of trans charity Mermaids

Logo of trans charity Mermaids

Logo of trans charity Mermaids

She told the judges that ‘Mermaids’ charitable status is not the subject of scrutiny here’ but reminded them that the trans charity also took part in political lobbying, including calling for changes to the Equality Act to cover gender identity.

Summing up the case, she said: ‘If this tribunal were to take the view that somehow Mermaids’ political activity did not undermine the charitable nature of their objects, but LGB Alliance’s political activity did, it would be taking a position in relation to these matters and concluding that gender-critical beliefs are somehow inherently political and contested whereas gender identity ideology is somewhat more neutral and settled.’ 

Michael Gibbon KC, representing Mermaids, denied any accusation of homophobia and told the court LGB Alliance were seeking to undermine trans charities like Mermaids ‘by promoting the view that they spread disinformation, and by seeking to deprive them of funding’. 

The two charities fundamentally disagree on issues of trans rights, with the LGB Alliance taking the view that people cannot change their biological sex while Mermaids argue they can (pictured, LGB Alliance co-founder Bev Jackson)

The two charities fundamentally disagree on issues of trans rights, with the LGB Alliance taking the view that people cannot change their biological sex while Mermaids argue they can (pictured, LGB Alliance co-founder Bev Jackson)

The two charities fundamentally disagree on issues of trans rights, with the LGB Alliance taking the view that people cannot change their biological sex while Mermaids argue they can (pictured, LGB Alliance co-founder Bev Jackson) 

Separately to the tribunal, Mermaids is being investigated by the Charity Commission following allegations of safeguarding ‘red flags’ in its dealings with children. 

Charities are allowed to take part in political activity as long as it is in pursuit of their charitable objectives.

The Charity Commission said it was confident the LGB Alliance was pursuing charitable activities when it registered in April last year.

The First-tier Tribunal is expected to give its ruling next year.

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