For well over a year I have attempted to contact Stonewall about its “Diversity Champions” programme in addition to other queries about its involvement with public and private organisations from Mermaids to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). In February, I sent in my latest media query to Stonewall wherein I asked four questions:
1. What are the procedures to join the “Diversity Champion” programme?
2. Who vets the organisations?
3. How does an organisation's historical policies that might have been “anti-LGB” work into their being accepted into or refused entry into the programme?
4. Is there a fee to join this programme and if so, how much is the fee for private and public organisations?
On 19 May, I received the first response to my queries which corresponds to the question I asked in February. Stonewall’s press office wrote me:
Thanks for your email. Our press team is going through a very busy time.
Information about our Diversity Champions programme is on the website.
I took the bait and decided to return to their website to see if perhaps Stonewall had updated its page since I had initially written them because I found no such information on their site. This week I made the time to check out its site yet again and what I found was a rinse and repeat of Stonewall’s former practices of stonewalling journalists for information. Upon entering Stonewall’s homepage, it was apparent that a rebranding had taken place which left me relieved that perhaps the information I sought would be readily available online. Instead, I was to find the same link to its “Diversity Champions” programme both functional and wiped clear of information, a fact I reported on earlier this week. However, in order see any information about this programme, one must be a paying member of Stonewall. This left me in the awkward position of wondering if Stonewall expects journalists to pay it for public interest data. Thank goodness for the Internet Archive which has all of Stonewall’s previous website carefully recorded before its data wipe earlier this week.
However, these details leave me with more questions than answers especially since Stonewall is not alone in avoiding media queries just as it is not alone in expecting people to pay for what ought to be publicly accessible information.
For instance, after several years of contacting the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) based in Washington, DC, I only received a response after its former head of communications, Senator McBride, left HRC for politics. He is now a Delaware state senator and his replacement has GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) was also under fire earlier this year after its “Accountability Project” (hint: it’s a blacklist) was temporarily wiped and to access GLAAD’s backlist, you had to pay a membership fee. Now the site is back up and those of us who are lesbian and gay can return to kvetching about what JK Rowling has been up to. At the top of GLAAD’s entry for Rowling is her infamous tweet from December 2019 in addition to these entries:
—Mocked the phrase “people who menstruate,” tweeting, “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
—Liked a tweet that disparaged transgender women as “men in dresses” by the late anti-trans YouTuber Magdalen Berns. Berns’ tweet read: “I was shouted at by men at my first Labour Party meeting aged 18 because I asked them to remove a Page 3 calendar. I’ve been told to be louder, stronger, independent. I’ve often not felt supported. Men in dresses get brocialist solidarity I never had. that’s misogyny!” Rowling representatives blamed the “like” on a “clumsy and middle-aged moment.”
“Middle-aged moment” or not, there is no of homophobia in what Rowling wrote or liked on Twitter. One must certainly wonder what an alleged gay rights organisation like GLAAD is doing disparaging Rowling, adding her to their blacklist, while remaining silent on issues central to the well-being of gay men and women. Why have organisations that once represented our human and civil rights now turning against us, instructing us that we must sleep with people of the opposite sex lest we too face blacklisting?
Contrary to the original mandates of many of these organisations which were formed at the height of the AIDS crisis—GLAAD in 1985 and Stonewall 1989—these organisations are today teeming with homophobes eager to straighten out gay men and women, or at the very least push them towards “queerness”—that linguistic netherworld of simply avoiding saying “gay” or “lesbian.” From the “cotton ceiling” where lesbians have been reporting feeling pressured to have sex with men to the “boxer ceiling,” the more recent manifestation of gay men being pushed towards having sex with women, none of these organisations which has spent huge chunks of their resources pushing gender identity is speaking out for the rights of gay men and women.
Similarly, Stonewall has not spoken out about the fact that between 2009 and 2017 there was a 4,400 per cent increase of referrals of girls to gender clinics in England, shifting from 40 to 1,806 referrals annually. While data shows that most of these children and adolescents desist, the data also shows that most of these girls if left to desist as the majority will, most of these girls will grow up to be lesbians. Why have major lesbian and gay charities remained silent about this travesty to our community?
As a homosexual adult human female, I not only stand by JK Rowling but I am left scratching my head over why GLAAD is blacklisting those of our allies who are promoting peaceful coexistence with an eye to tolerance for diverse sexualities over the regressive jingoism of “innate” gender.
The reasons for Stonewall, GLAAD, HRC and many other formerly gay and lesbian organisations embracing a narrative of pure homophobia does not escape many of us today. Most lesbians I speak with won’t use dating apps so riddled they are with men. Most gay men are worried about the backlash they would receive if they dare speak against the mere fact that gender has nothing to do with sexuality. Both gay men and women are sick of the bizarre coupling that has meant that the resources of a formerly pro-LGB organisation are now shifted towards a demographic that harbours homophobic political ends. They are sick of it.
Last year, British barrister Allison Bailey announced she was suing Stonewall after it threatened her employer’s membership in its “Diversity Champions” programme because of comments that Bailey made about the sex-based rights of women. Bailey outlines her case here, stating that the central problem goes far afield of what happened to her and her employer, Garden Court Chambers, after her views on the inclusion of men who “identify as women” became part of a much larger political narrative:
Stonewall unilaterally and without any mandate whatsoever, and to further its lobbying ambitions, redefined homosexuality as same-gender and not same-sex attraction was an especially egregious betrayal of LGB people, especially lesbians. The inclusion of male-bodied people into the class of lesbian women means that lesbians are excoriated for bigotry and transphobia simply for being same-sex attracted. This is base homophobia.
Where an organisation that claims to fight for lesbian and gay rights ends up stigmatising gay men and lesbians for underscoring same-sex attraction, there is a need to review if organisations like Stonewall are in the least fit for purpose. A cursory glance will reveal that HRC and GLAAD in the US just like Stonewall in the UK are not serving gay men and women, nor have they for decades. Their website is overrun with politics that run counter to same-sex desire and rights for those of us who are happily afflicted with same-sex desire: all three organisations lay claim to the idea that sexual orientation can be “transphobic” if the subject refuses someone of the opposite sex.
The devolution of Stonewall and similar organisations has been painfully evident for decades. The lie that organisations like GLAAD, HRC and Stonewall push is that we have something in common with individuals who identify as a gender—as any gender. That’s not only the lie at the core of their multi-million machinery, but it is also a complete fiction. One need not have a gender identity to lead a perfectly happy life and the proof of this is the 99% of people who haven’t a gender identity because we don’t really care about trivial, navel-gazing politics.
Along with its new brand look, Stonewall has also posted about “misinformation” on its “Diversity Champions” programme, its defence has been to hit back at the Reindorf report with zero substance to demonstrate that Akua Reindorf’s report is in any way incorrect. Stonewall is flailing in the wind and we can see it despite the redesign of colours and font. There is only so much rebranding this organisation can do before the wall comes tumbling down. As it stands, the Twitter reactions to Stonewall’s new logo—a sideways graphic—are fantastically comical: from images of the Titanic sinking to vertical car crashes to a meme based on the Church of Scientology building in Los Angeles.
It’s been a week of Schadenfreude for those of us who have been watching Stonewall—that once lesbian and gay rights organisation-now-turned-homophobic-Cosa Nostra—take a nose dive consequent to the criticisms made of it within the Reindorf report and the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s ditching of this organisation. As Stonewall celebrates its thirty-second birthday this week I sincerely hope that public entities are advised against pumping taxpayer money into this ideological pyramid scheme while private businesses and organisations are made aware that they are neither championing “diversity” nor supporting gay men and women. Instead, their money is supporting homophobia in drag queen’s clothing.
To Stonewall and your many attendant partners who are schooling the National Union of Journalists, Independent Press Standards Organisation and many other agencies and institutions in compelled speech through the re-laundering of homophobia and misogyny: “Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night.”