LGBTQ charity Stonewall accused of operating like a 'criminal protection racket' to promote gender neutral terms

A lesbian lawyer who has launched discrimination action against the charity claims to have lost work and income due to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme

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A lesbian lawyer has accused an LGBTQ charity of operating like a “criminal protection racket” by inducing companies to adopt its policies, a tribunal heard.

Garden Court Chambers (GCC) barrister Allison Bailey has launched discrimination action against the firm and charity Stonewall, which GCC had been working with.

Ms Bailey founded the LGB Alliance group in 2019, which argues there is a conflict between the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and transgender people – and opposes many Stonewall policies.

She claims to have lost work and income due to GCC’s involvement with Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme, which she said was “exclusive” and “discriminatory” of her beliefs.

The charity had recommended the chambers change the pronouns “she and he” to “they and their”, Ms Bailey said.

Allison Bailey outside the Central London Employment Tribunal in October 2021
Allison Bailey outside the Central London Employment Tribunal in October 2021

On Thursday, Ms Bailey told the employment tribunal: “The fact that Stonewall considered sex language unacceptable and to be replaced by gender neutral language had wider implications for me within (GCC).”

She said the charity used its scheme “to embed the concept of gender identity” within Government departments and the voluntary sector in a way “outside the law”.

Ms Bailey went on: “Stonewall and its Diversity Champions scheme would be exclusive of me. It declared people with my views as being hateful and bigoted.

“They declared an intention to discriminate against lesbians like me.”

Ijeoma Omambala QC, Stonewall’s barrister, told the tribunal: “Nothing that this tribunal has seen thus far from Stonewall describes you or anyone like you as hateful, does it?”

A rainbow coloured flag is support of the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign
A rainbow coloured flag is support of the Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign

She then questioned Ms Bailey on how the chambers were supposedly induced by the charity.

The claimant replied: “Once we had signed up as an organisation to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions scheme, all of the chambers were being induced to follow the objectives of Stonewall.

“The focus of all of them is to advance a policy position on trans rights and gender identity that go way beyond the law.

“In the UK, with the exception of Ireland, LGBTQ equality at law has been achieved, what hasn’t been achieved is gender identity.”

She added: “Stonewall is a very powerful organisation and it can confer protection or it can take it away.

“The inducement that Stonewall offers with its scheme is reputational protection or reputational harm, it’s like a criminal protection racket.”

Ms Bailey claims her income substantially reduced “in comparison to previous years, most notably to 2018”, blaming the central London law firm for the “withholding of instruction and work” from her following these interactions.

She went on to say that Stonewall instructed its “employees and associates” to tell Garden Court to look into her views and take action.

The claimant said: “They were attempts by Stonewall to induce or instruct or cause Garden Court to take the action it did against me.”

Garden Court has said there is “not one shred of evidence” to suggest she was deprived of work.

Gender-critical beliefs include that sex is biological and cannot change, and that the word “woman” is defined as “adult human female”.

Ms Bailey has raised more than £495,000 to fund her legal case.

The tribunal continues.