Lesbian barrister sues LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall over diversity scheme

Lesbian barrister sues Stonewall and her London chambers claiming she lost income because she disagrees with the LGBT charity’s philosophy that ‘trans women are women’

  • Allison Bailey lodged complaint at Employment Tribunal against Stonewall
  • Barrister accused LGBTQ+ charity and Garden Court Chambers of victimisation
  • She claims victimisation was due to her ‘raising concern’s about Stonewall’ 
  • Ms Bailey launched CrowdJustice fundraiser and raised £60,000 for the case 
  • Garden Court Chambers said allegations are ‘groundless and without merit’ 
  • Ms Bailey helped set up LGB Alliance, which has been accused of ‘transphobia’

A barrister suing LGBTQ+ charity Stonewell and her London chambers over claims she was ‘silenced’ for her views on transgender issues has today arrived at her tribunal hearing.

Allison Bailey, who is herself a lesbian, alleges she was victimised for ‘raising concerns about Stonewall’s actions’ with its Diversity Champions scheme and  ‘trans women are women’ philosophy.

Ms Bailey is a founding figure in the controversial LGB Alliance, an LGBT charity and action group which has repeatedly clashed with Stonewall over its views on gender.

The barrister claims she was ‘indirectly discriminated against’ because the charity and her chambers ‘hold gender critical beliefs as being bigoted and unworthy of respect’.

And she says she has lost work and income over the row. The hearing is being held at an Employment Tribunal building in London today.

Ms Bailey’s chambers, Garden Court Chambers, say they ‘strongly refute’ any claims they have acted unlawfully and are contesting her appeal to the Employment Tribunal service.

Meanwhile, Stonewall says its Diversity Champions programme aims to help firms ‘become more inclusive of LGBT people’. 

Allison Bailey, who is herself a lesbian, alleges she was victimised for ‘raising concerns about Stonewall’s actions’ over the charity’s Diversity Champions scheme and its ‘trans women are women’ philosophy

Ms Bailey, who describes herself as a feminist, is among a group who believe making it simple for people to self-identify as women is a threat to feminism.

She says ‘if the new trans activism is not brought to heel, women will disappear as a political class’.

Her LGB Alliance rivals Stonewall – the largest LGBT rights organisation in Europe – but has been accused of transphobia over its gender critical beliefs.

Earlier this year the trans charity Mermaids launched an appeal against the Charity Commission’s decision to allow the group charity status.

The commission decided the group was beneficial to the public through its educational and awareness-raising activities about discrimination based on sexual orientation.  

Ms Bailey, denies being transphobic, claiming ‘I have always been an advocate for transgender rights’. 

In May, Ms Bailey became involved in a Twitter row with Robin White, a transgender barrister at Old Square Chambers, who acted for Stonewall in an unsuccessful bid by the charity and the chambers to have her claim struck out. 

Ms Bailey had tweeted in support of a guide entitled ‘Boys and Girls and the Equality Act’, produced by Transgender Trend – an organisation that describes itself as ‘calling for evidence-based care for gender dysphoric children’.

Ms White replied, describing the guide as ‘partisan, incomplete and misleading’.

She also said that if followed the guide ‘would cause schools to act unlawfully towards trans children’. 

After a series of responses Ms Bailey wrote: ‘Robin, you have chosen to insert yourself into my timeline. It’s for you to reflect on the ethics of this.’ 

Ms Bailey raised £60,000 to fund the cost of the tribunal hearing via the website crowd funding page CrowdJustice.

Ms Bailey, who describes herself as a feminist, is among a group who believe making it simple for people to self-identify as women is a threat to feminism

Speaking in July, a Stonewall spokespersons 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’.

Garden Court Chambers also added in July: ‘We strongly refute any claim that we have acted unlawfully or in any way colluded with Stonewall. 

‘We consider these allegations to be groundless and the claim to be without merit’.

The Stonewall Diversity Champions programme has come under fire this year.  

In May 2021, the Equality and Home Rights Commission (EHRC) did not renew ties with the programme citing ‘cost reasons’.

Members pay Stonewall a fee and allow it to vet their internal policies, such as who can use their toilets and changing facilities.

Hundreds of private and public organisations – including some Government departments and the BBC – are members of the Diversity Champions scheme. 

But the EHRC said in May that the scheme ‘did not constitute best value for money’.

In the same month, a barrister-led report commissioned by the University of Essex criticised the programme as having given inaccurate – and potentially illegal – advice after the university temporarily decided not to re-invite two speakers with anti-transgender views. 

Media watchdog Ofcom announced it would quit the scheme in August ‘because of the need to remain impartial and independent at all times’.

Stonewall previously denied the advice was illegal and maintains there is no clash between trans and women’s rights. 

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