Barrister says Stonewall operates 'like criminal protection racket'
JK Rowling’s lesbian barrister friend tells tribunal that Stonewall operates ‘like criminal protection racket’ by persuading firms to follow its transgender policies
- Allison Bailey claims that Stonewall convinced her employer to investigate her
- Ms Bailey argues there is a conflict between gay people and transgender people
- She is suing Stonewall and Garden Court Chambers alleging discrimination
- She has previously received backing from her friend, the author JK Rowling
A barrister has accused Stonewall of operating ‘like a criminal protection racket’ by persuading firms to follow its transgender policies.
Allison Bailey claims that the LGBTQ charity convinced her employer Garden Court Chambers to investigate her support of gender-critical beliefs and is suing both the charity and the chambers for discrimination.
Ms Bailey, who is a lesbian, 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 of Stonewall’s 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.
Ms Bailey has previously received backing from Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who tweeted a picture of her ‘inspirational’ friend to mark Lesbian Visibility Week last month, sparking a trans row on social media.
Allison Bailey has accused LGBTQ charity Stonewall of operating ‘like a criminal protection racket’ by persuading firms to follow its transgender policies. Pictured: Harry Potter author JK Rowling with Ms Bailey during a lunch with other prominent feminists in London in April
Ms Bailey received backing from Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who tweeted a picture of her ‘inspirational’ friend to mark Lesbian Visibility Week last month
Stonewall had recommended GCC change the pronouns ‘she and he’ to ‘they and their’, Ms Bailey said.
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?’
She then questioned Ms Bailey on how the chambers were supposedly induced by the charity.
Ms Bailey 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 that Stonewall convinced her employer Garden Court Chambers to investigate her support of gender-critical beliefs and is suing them both for discrimination
JK Rowling’s tweet, which featured a picture of Ms Bailey marching for LGB rights in San Francisco in 1991, sparked fury within the trans community because of Ms Bailey’s impending case against Stonewall.
Linda Riley, the founder of Lesbian Visibility Week, accused Ms Rowling of using the week as ‘a vehicle to stir up more hate within our community’, adding that she ‘stands with Stonewall’.
In response, Ms Rowling tweeted a picture of Alex Drummond, who she called a ‘white, bearded, Stonewall-approved lesbian’, after claiming she had ‘stirred up hate’ for posting pictures of ‘black lesbians marching for their rights’.
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.
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 hearing had been due to begin last Wednesday, but had to be adjourned after Ms Bailey was admitted to hospital following a collapse.
The tribunal went ahead on Friday with evidence from two witnesses of gender-critical organisations – director of Fair Play for Women Dr Nicola Williams and director of Woman’s Place UK Dr Judith Green.
The hearing has previously heard that Ms Bailey’s ‘gender-critical’ views were labelled ‘transphobic’ by her colleague, the family law barrister Stephen Lue.
The tribunal continues.
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