The Director of the Government’s Equality Hub held meetings with a founder of the controversial LGB Alliance, just months before reports emerged that the Secretary of State for Women and Equalities had reportedly urged government departments to withdraw from Stonewall’s ‘Diversity Champions’ programme designed to create inclusive working environments for LGBT+ people.
Freedom of information requests have revealed that Marcus Bell held a meeting last year with the founder of the group on the 29th October, with channels of communication between the two continuing until at least June. Whilst what was discussed at the meeting was not disclosed, before the meeting the LGB Alliance had requested that the organisations discuss potential cooperation on an alleged Cabinet Office rewrite of LGBT+ policy across government departments as well as having “an information exchange” between the two bodies.
The group also sent Bell an interview with Ray Blanchard, an American sexologist, who comments in the interview that “trans activism became a sub-department of the Social Justice Movement, and the Social Justice Movement became a primary combatant in the ongoing, pervasive Culture Wars” which Bell said he would, alongside other materials provided by the group, “read them with interest!”.
The LGB Alliance were recently at the centre of a social media storm, finding themselves in breach of Twitter’s Hateful Conduct Policy after posting “Adding the + to LGB gives the green light to paraphilias like bestiality – and more – to all be part of one big happy ‘rainbow family’. Wake up policy makers”. The ‘+’ in LGBTI+ is usually included to represent those on the asexuality spectrum and those who were born intersex amongst many other identities.
Demographica Network have also seen a Twitter account allegedly belonging to Bell which follows the LGB Alliance, despite not following any other government stakeholders on LGBT+ issues such as Stonewall. The account also follows and engages with Twitter accounts which tweet and retweet regular content about transgender rights including referring to a non-binary politician as “him”, calling LGBTQIA+ flags “a crock of shit” and stating “the more I read about this issue, the more I think that gender reassignment surgery / sex change ops should be illegal”.
Marcus Bell is currently the Director of The Equality Hub, founded in 2019 and currently oversees improving the Gender Recognition Certificate process as well as having substantial influence over the framework for equality legislation for the UK government.
The government have been consulting on whether to reform the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier for transgender people to legally change their gender identity but have sometimes been met with hostility by groups strongly opposed to such changes, like the LGB Alliance. The Civil Service code of conduct includes a strict requirement placed upon civil servants “to carry out [[their]] responsibilities in a way that is fair, just and equitable and reflects the Civil Service commitment to equality and diversity” and to not “act in a way that unjustifiably favours or discriminates against particular individuals or interests''.
The findings, which occurred well before the group controversially obtained its registered charity status, will now result in questions about the Civil Service’s commitment to its own Equality and Diversity Strategy, whose stated purpose includes making civil servants feel valued irrespective of their gender identity.
An Equality Hub spokesperson said:
“The Equality Hub interacts with a wide range of stakeholders on LGBT issues, ensuring that we factor in all appropriate views to our work.
“We make no apology for engaging with any charity or third sector organisation that wishes to share their views on equality issues in this country.”
LGB Alliance and Stonewall were both approached for comment but have not responded by the time of publication.