Stonewall has been on the receiving end of a backlash for its position on trans rights, concern over which was reportedly the reason for many companies parting ways with the scheme.
The charity holds that people should be able to self-identify with the gender that they choose, but has also been accused of attempting to shut down any debate on the issue by labelling anyone who disagrees with this position – for example people who argue that allowing trans women to use women-only facilities or compete in female sports violates the rights of women – of being transphobic.
Critics also point out that self-identification is not currently recognised in UK law, and changing gender is governed by the Gender Recognition Act 2004, requiring a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
Increasing numbers of high-profile employers are ending their partnerships with the charity. Among them are Channel 4, Ofsted, the Cabinet Office, and the UK’s equality watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the latter two of which said the scheme no longer provided good value for money.
The Scottish Government and Civil Service have retained membership of the scheme and enter into its annual “Workplace Equality Index” and “Global Workplace Equality Index” where they are benchmarked against other companies. The list is published as an annual rundown of the top 100 employers for LGBTI inclusion.
Political leaders fronting “pride” events and/or parades gain points for their team which are credited to the two equality scheme competitions. Nicola Sturgeon has performed well in this regard. Yet she has never attended any of the numerous marches for independence. Evidently LGBTI rights are of prime importance whilst the battle for independence “withers on the vine”.
Stonewall co-founder Matthew Parris, said: “the charity has become tangled up in the trans issue and cornered itself into an extremist stance”.
Stonewall co-founder Simon Fanshawe, said: “Stonewall has become single-mindedly focused on a particular and by no means universally accepted approach to trans rights”.
Nicola Sturgeon, Stonewall fanatic defended the controversial LGBTI Lobby Group amid a backlash against it from the UK Government