Mon 3 May 2021 — 10 min

As the number of stories we come across increases beyond our capacity to respond to them individually in depth, Trans Safety Network have decided to start writing a monthly roundup of incidents.

Conspiracy Theories at Alba Women Conference

Earlier in April Trans Safety Network published a piece tracking the passage of a conspiracy theory alleging that the world's largest LGBTQ+ rights campaign was promoting paedophilia, as it transformed into a more specific claim spread widely through so-called "Gender Critical" networks that Stonewall Scotland in particular were somehow linked to paedophilia, made from the Alba Women conference witnessed by many Alba Women supporters. The same day the Alba Women twitter account was suspended for violating Twitter's rules.

Eventually Alex Salmond denied that any such thing had been said at all, despite Alba supporters' social media accounts saying the opposite.


A relatively new Welsh anti-trans group has been sending emails to all Welsh MPs calling on them to support "sex-based rights" in letters that do not explain what this strange phrase entails, and warning them that their responses will be published online.

UK state-funded institutions lending support to anti-trans organisations

A BPS related pressure group (run in part by well known "Gender Critical" psych figures) has succeeded in get the Charity Commission to launch an investigation against the BPS, with coverage in the Telegraph.

Meanwhile, the Charity Commission has still not withdrawn charitable status from the (pro conversion therapy) Core Issues Trust and has extended charitable status to the anti-trans hate group LGB Alliance. We have written about the activities of the LGB Alliance previously. Charitable status was awarded to LGBA on the understanding that they cease their previous pattern of hostile behaviour on social media.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission have hired "Gender Critical" barrister Karon Monaghan QC to intervene in favour of Maya Forstater leading to some questions arising in the trans community about their impartiality in protecting equal rights, especially in light of public confirmation that they are arguing that anti-trans misgendering is protected under the equality act.

In other news, a major NHS-funded review of trans healthcare has publicly admitted to excluding trans expertise and experience from its assessment committee. The Cass Review has clearly stated that their assurance panel (intended to hold the review to account around procedural correctness) "deliberately does not contain subject matter experts or people with lived experience of gender services". This statement admitting to what may appear to be blatant discrimination against a group based on a protected characteristic has been removed from their public facing website at time of publication. Trans Safety Network are asking the Cass Review for comment on whether this is a change of policy or simply a reduction in the transparency around their governance.

This news appeared alongside criticism of the charity-funded Nuffield Bioethics Committee by trans healthcare sociologist Ruth Pearce over seeming to adopt a similar stance (and in fact publishing comment by well-known anti-trans hate movement figures). See Ruth Pearce's open letter here.

Conversion Therapy

This month, proposed conversion therapy bans have been a hot topic as it becomes increasingly clear that the government are hedging on banning specifically religious forms. The Telegraph published claims that conversion therapy ban will be harmful for Christian parents who apparently allow conversion therapy on their children, and Boris Johnson sent a letter to the Evangelical Alliance promising an apparent loophole in the ban around religious practice.

Yet another group of therapists has appeared, speaking out against the proposed conversion therapy ban. Calling themselves "Thoughtful Therapists", they are represented by a number of familiar faces including trans-denying therapist Stella O'Malley, as well as James Caspian who is currently fighting a legal battle supported by Christian Concern (who openly defend the legitimacy of forms of ex-gay and ex-trans conversion therapy). We have previously covered the leaked contents of Caspian's ethical review in the past which showed that the press reporting over several years of this issue had neglected to mention significant details about risks to research subjects raised without robust plans to protect them as part of his research design.

Thoughtful Therapists represents itself as group of clinicians "concerned" that the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy will negatively impact legitimate therapeutic practices, which would seem questionable in view of the fact they are represented publicly by practitioners who have been found to be planning unethical research or openly support therapeutic efforts to persuade trans people to "reconcile" with their birth sex rather than transition. In the interview linked above, James Esses says in response to the Stonewall poster slogan "Some People Are Trans, Get Over It", that he "wasn't prepared to get over it". It is clear that Thoughtful Therapists are another in a long line of "concerned", "gender critical" organisations who simply mask their anti-trans views in a veneer of kindness.

O'Malley in March published a podcast with counsellor and fellow SEGM member Sasha Ayad which very openly discusses their clinical orientation towards persuading trans people to learn to accept the discomfort of gender dysphoria and instead of transitioning search for some form of trauma which might be used to blame it. Their podcast is sponsored by anti-trans organisation ReIME, who have recently been denounced by former detransitioners who felt pressured into supporting it as part of detransition advocacy work.

Transgender Trend have joined the chorus of anti-trans groups deliberately muddying waters around conversion therapy. In this piece they cite Kenneth Zucker (who has had his own share of conversion therapy related scandals), and spread myths about the affirmation model (which simply requires that trans people should be taken seriously when they say they are trans, and does not specify a particular course of treatment in response to this).

The School Gate Campaign, who are closely affiliated with numerous conservative and religious anti-RSE groups have started with new rhetorical strategy of claiming that "Ex-Gay is a protected characteristic".

In other news, Ray Blanchard (another psychological darling of the anti-trans sphere for his controversial and discredited theory that many trans women transition to satisfy a sexual fetish) appeared on a white supremacist podcast.

Many Christian organisations (in particular Christian Concern and members of the Core Issues Trust) continue to publicly defend attempts to convert both trans and LGB people to a straight life, and promote "ex-gay" resources relating to this.

Anti sex-education groups growing in number

There has been a slow building expansion of groups against LGBT-inclusive RSE (Relationship and Sex Education) which we have observed and feel important to remark on at this point. Many of these appear to have links to ultraconservative religious groups and the American Christian Right funded organisation Alliance Defending Freedom, particularly with links to the Values Foundation who have on their committee Roger Kiska. Until a few years ago, Roger Kiska was who was employed as legal counsel for the ADF International.

These include:

  • Talking Sense
  • RSE Authentic (an initiative of Values Foundation)
  • Parent Power (promotes Values Foundation)
  • StopRSE
  • RSE Get It Right (links itself online with Values Foundation)
  • RSE Review (links itself online with Values Foundation)
  • SPUC (Anti abortion group joining anti-RSE campaigns)
  • 40 Days
  • Lovewise UK (a Christian RSE group which preaches anti-LGBT and anti-abortion messages and has been connected to "Gender Critical" medical groups)
  • Support 4 the family
  • Christian Values in Education
  • Transgender Trend (who have opposed anal sex and trans inclusion in RSE curricula)
  • Safe Schools Alliance (who have repeatedly used activist lawyers associated with evangelical anti-LGBT groups)
  • School Gate Campaign
  • Marriage Sex and Culture Group (whose conference last year included speakers from far right media group Hearts of Oak, as well as Roger Kiska, of Christian Legal Centre and Values Foundation, and Susan Mason of the School Gate Campaign).

ADF International (UK) finances published

The UK branch of the US ultraconservative Christian campaign organisation Alliance Defending Freedom published its finances for up to June 2020 this month. These showed a payment from US parent organisation ADF International of £324k for the year up until June 2020, reduced from £474k the previous year as their individual donations radically increased over the last year.

Over the 4 years to June 2020, that sums to a total of £1.3million invested in lobbying and campaigning activities in the UK in funds from their parent group in the United States alone. ADF UK in their annual finances statement signalled inreased interest in moving on from existing successes in "campus free speech" (citing its record defending anti-abortion activism outside of clinics and anti-gay speech by a social work student), as well as expressing an intention to step up campaigns for parents' rights to opt out of sex education for their kids.

International News

Spanish "Radical Feminists" vandalised a Madrid LGBT centre with homophobic and transphobic graffiti.

Mexican anti-trans feminists targetted an LGBTIQ market in Mexico City, with graffiti saying "Death to the Trans", although this was shortly afterwards painted over with the words: "Here is the Trans Resistence" - archive

A Polish LGBT NGO has been targetted with a fake "Kindergender" campaign graphic appropriating their logo with claims that they are defending paedophilia, forcing them to making a public statement denoucing it. See here for example by one twitter poster.

A recently published American conversion therapy manual targeted at parents of trans children was briefly removed from Amazon Kindle Store, before being replaced. However the hard copy publisher removed the book following a request by Trans Safety Network.