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An Uncharitable Alliance: Mermaids v. Charity Commission and LGB Alliance

2:00pm - 4:00pm / Friday 11th November 2022
Type: Seminar / Category: Department
  • Admission: Free Admission
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In this case, Mermaids (a charity representing and advocating for transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families) challenges the charitable status given to the LGB Alliance. Mermaids alleges that ‘LGB Alliance is not actually tackling problems facing lesbian, gay and bisexual people, but rather seeking to prevent the resolution of problems facing transgender persons’. In other words, they have an ‘anti-trans’ rather than ‘pro-LGB’ focus, with many of their campaigns particularly targeting the affirmation of the gender identity of trans children. This, Mermaids argues, is not a charitable purpose within the meaning of the relevant legislation. The issues raised by this case engage the expertise of several of our research groups within the School of Law and Social Justice and the speakers on this roundtable are drawn from the Feminist Legal Research and Action Network (FRAN); the Liverpool Children’s Rights Unit (LCRU); the Health Law and Regulation Unit (HLRU); and the Charity Law and Policy Unit (CLPU). Together, they will discuss the work of the LGB Alliance from feminist and children’s rights perspectives and consider the implications of its campaigning for children’s access to health care, as well as the impact of the Equality Act on women’s and trans rights, and whether the LGB Alliance appears to meet the legal test for charitable status.

The panellists are:

Nicola Barker (chair), a professor of law at the University of Liverpool and a member of the steering committee of the Feminist Legal Research and Action Network (FRAN), which includes feminist academics from the University of Liverpool and across the UK. Her research takes a feminist perspective on LGBT rights and Human Rights Act reform.

Sharon Cowan, Professor of Feminist and Queer Legal Studies at the University of Edinburgh researching in the areas of sexual violence, asylum and refugee law, and sex/gender equality. Sharon’s current research includes a project looking at the impact of equality and criminal law on transgender people, and the use of sexual history and other ‘private data’ in sexual offences trials in Scotland. Sharon is a member of FRAN.

Hannah Hirst, a lecturer in Law at the University of Sheffield and a PhD student at the University of Liverpool. Her PhD thesis adopts a children’s rights perspective on puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for gender diverse youth and she has recently published an article in Child and Family Law Quarterly looking at the implications of Bell v Tavistock on gender diverse children’s rights. Hannah is a member of the European Children’s Rights Unit.

Edmund Horowicz, a lecturer in Law at the University of Liverpool researching the ethical and legal issues that arise in the provision or non-provision of medical interventions for intersex and gender diverse children and adolescents. He is also a registered nurse with 12 years of acute clinical experience and a member of the Health Law and Regulation Unit.

Jennifer Sigafoos, a senior lecturer in Law at the University of Liverpool researching the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on charities. She was previously Director of Public Policy at a large charity in the US and is a member of the Charity Law and Policy Unit.

This is a hybrid event and will take place in person and online.

Guests will be informed of the location of this event once you have registered to attend and will be sent an email closer to the time of the event.