@Glesga_keelie says revelations about the charity’s influence on government are damning

Saturday’s exclusive revelations in the Times about Stonewall and its relationship with members of its Diversity Champions Scheme made a lot of odd things suddenly make a lot more sense.

Many of us have wondered how and why in such a relatively short time the idea of gender identity has become so deeply embedded in our public and private institutions.

We puzzled over the very public adoption and declaration of the phrase “trans women are women” and the insistence that any dissent from this position was simple bigotry and transphobia.

We wondered why there was no sign of any analysis of the public consultation on the Scottish Government’s intended reform of the Gender Recognition Act, a consultation that closed in March 2020 with around 17,000 responses. The independent analysis was said to be due to be completed in March this year but so far – crickets.

Points make prizes

Lucy Bannerman’s detailed and eye-opening stories have begun to shine a light into a very murky and underhand system that combines persuasion with coercion with a handy sideline in intimidation.

Stonewall rewarded positive social media activity, according to the Times. Which explains Nicola Sturgeon’s ludicrous broom cupboard appeal to activists threatening to quit the party and her awkward photo ops at Pride.

It explains why Mhairi Black MP arranged for a drag queen to visit a primary school and was seen in a video on Twitter calling women standing up for their rights “Jeremy Hunts”.

It explains why the likes of Kirsty Blackman MP and Christina McKelvie MSP mindlessly intone “trans women are women – it’s the law” on Twitter.

Stonewall ‘law’ is detrimental to women

Spoiler alert: it’s not the law. It might be, as the barrister Akua Reindorf noted in her devastating review of Essex University’s no-platforming of two academics over alleged transphobia, the “law as Stonewall would prefer it to be, rather than the law as it is”.

But it is not the law. And the Scottish Government’s incorporation of Stonewall “law” is in direct contravention of the Equality Act 2010, UK-wide legislation that offers protection to nine distinct characteristics.

Stonewall has encouraged, cajoled and bullied our devolved government to go beyond the law, overruling the Equality Act and directly undermining women’s rights and having a detrimental impact on 51% of our population.

This is not democracy. This is not progressive. This is shadowy politics of the type we are told we are above in Scotland.

Damning accusations of policy interference

Surely the most damning accusation of all is that the Scottish Government effectively offered to change government policy to please Stonewall.

According to the Times, the Scottish Government’s 2017 Diversity Champion application pledged that its gender reform proposals would change the law to introduce Stonewall’s preferred policy gender self-ID – where any person can simply declare him or herself as the opposite sex and be legally recognised.

This might explain why that consultation on gender reform has been buried – that the responses are not to Stonewall’s liking and more likely reflect the public’s growing disquiet with the idea of gender self-ID.

Rainbow-drenched lobbying

Equally as damning is the revelation that the Scottish Government’s contested Hate Crime Bill was also offered up to Stonewall as a way to improve its spot on the Equality Index. As we know, then-Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf refused to include women or misogyny in the Bill but did offer protection to cross-dressing men, who are (surprise surprise) included under Stonewall’s transgender umbrella.

This is not just any lobbying. This is rainbow-drenched, unicorn-waving lobbying. And it stinks.

An insidious influence on our politics

What a grift Stonewall has got going. Apply for grants from the public purse to promote LGBT equality and deal with workplace discrimination, then charge taxpayer-funded organisations to be part of the Diversity Champions scheme – with threats that you’ll tumble down their index if you don’t play their game.

In one year, the Scottish Government gave Stonewall £125,000. The next largest grant or donation from a public body was just £11,000.

Stonewall was once a beacon for positive action and for creating social change by persuasive and progressive means.

No longer. This is a pernicious organisation that prefers to operate in the shadows. We must remove Stonewall from our public bodies and purge its insidious influence in our politics.

Applications are currently being considered for the next THREE YEARS of funding from the Scottish Government to charities and voluntary groups. Stonewall should not get another penny of taxpayers’ money.

The time has come to #defundStonewall.

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