Stonewall drives away backers with ‘trans’ agenda Sunday Times 23.02.19

The original article is here.

The chief executive of the campaign group Stonewall, Ruth Hunt, has resigned after a growing protest by leading gay and lesbian supporters against her stance on promoting transgender rights.

Two of the charity’s former ambassadors and donors revealed this weekend they had withdrawn their support in protest because “Ruth Hunt called it wrong and Stonewall is no longer a worthy champion of our rights”.

Maureen Chadwick, creator of hit television programmes including Bad Girls, Footballers’ Wives and Waterloo Road, said that she and her partner, Kath Gotts, quit after Stonewall embraced what they called “the ‘trans’ cause”.

In a statement to The Sunday Times, Chadwick revealed the couple donated at least £38,000 to Stonewall from 2009 to 2015, before deciding to switch to funding women’s aid charities.

This weekend she said they had no idea “how completely the militant ‘trans’ agenda would overwhelm Stonewall with its confusion of sex and gender and its blindness to all the complex rights issues resulting from that.

“Many other longstanding supporters of Stonewall, including transsexuals, share our concerns and dismay that the very organisation we helped to fund and turn into the ‘go to’ LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] authority, advising political parties and corporates, is now telling schoolchildren that a bearded man with a penis can be a lesbian and any girls and boys deviating from 1950s gender norms are in the wrong body.”

They urged the board to “wake up” before “any more young lives are damaged”. The charity, however, has issued a statement making clear it will not change course.

Jan Gooding, chairwoman of Stonewall’s board of trustees, said the group’s “commitment to integrate trans communities into our work has been and will continue to be a core part of our development as an organisation”.

Sources said Hunt, who will be leaving in August after five years at the helm, retains the full backing of the board. Gooding said she had “significantly transformed Stonewall for the better”.

While the most recent accounts published by the Charity Commission show that individual donations to Stonewall dropped from £1.36m in 2016 to £940,000 in 2017, the charity said these bounced back by 11% in the latest year.

Figures who have played a significant role in the 30-year history of Stonewall said they had stepped away in dismay.

One said: “We want people to be nice to trans people, just as we want people to be nice to [gay people], but that is not the argument. The argument is not whether people can be trans or are trans; the argument is what happens when you shift identity in opposition to biology.”

He claimed the charity should have helped an independent lobby group for trans people to emerge, rather than join the fight on divisive questions such as lobbying for changes to the Gender Recognition Act.

Another long-term supporter said: “Stonewall was always clever at putting together those broad coalitions around big principles. [Ruth Hunt] lost what the big principle was. The board is now in an extraordinarily difficult situation.”

@nicholashellen