A Labour politician has defended his support for anti-trans lobby group the LGB Alliance, saying he “does not believe for a second” that it is “a hate group of any kind”.
The LGB Alliance, which strongly denies it is transphobic, has been branded a “hate group” by many in the LGBT+ community, including Pride in London, gay SNP politician John Nicolson, the LGBT+ Lib Dems, gay Scottish actor David Paisley, and the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights.
Dave Ward, a Labour councillor for Colliers Wood in south-west London and “colleague of some truly excellent feminists”, according to his Twitter bio, told PinkNews that he supports the LGB Alliance’s “right to be heard”. He had been confronted by angry constituents after recommending the LGB Alliance online as an educational resource about LGBT+ terminology.
“I support the LGB Alliance’s right to be heard in this debate and put forward their point of view on the issues,” Ward said.
“I do not believe for a second that the LGB Alliance is a hate group of any kind. My tweet directed people to their website where they explain their position very clearly.”
“New words/abbreviations for me!” a Twitter user had replied to a tweet outlining the differences between the aro and ace spectrums. “Learning every day. Thank you!”
Ward responded: “I liked that thinking you were being ironic. I may be wrong.”
After being told that “my thanks were genuine” and “every day is an opportunity to learn”, Ward linked to the LGB Alliance website, adding: “This might be a good place to start learning more. After the home page, try the tab entitled ‘myths’.”
The Labour Campaign for Trans Rights called the LGB Alliance a “trans-exclusionary hate group” in a list of pledges vowing to rid the party of transphobia during the 2020 Labour leadership race, which were signed by Labour MPs including Lisa Nandy, Angela Rayner, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Nadia Whittome and Emily Thornberry. Keir Starmer was the only leadership contender not to sign.
The pressure group has faced heavy criticism for refusing to denounce its neo-Nazi and homophobe supporters, for backing LGB Alliance co-founder Malcom Clark’s view that schools should not have LGBT+ clubs because of “predatory gay teachers“, and for standing by co-founder Bev Jackson defending working with the anti-abortion and anti-LGBT+ Heritage Foundation.
After Ward’s recommendation of the LGB Alliance online, several people – including angry constituents of his – demanded to know why he supported a “hate group”.
“Very concerned as a resident of Colliers Wood that you are using your platform as our Labour councillor to share content from an anti-trans hate group,” one person wrote.
Another said: “Why are you linking to known hate groups? LGB Alliance is incredibly transphobic and it’s very concerning that you as a Labour councillor are promoting their message.”
When one person asked if there was a way they could complain about Ward’s behaviour, since he is an elected politician, he replied: “Ha ha. I was reported for describing Jeremy Corbyn as antisemitic, and the party found that I had not broken any rule. It will be the same here. I have not broken the rules.”
The LGB Alliance applied to be registered as a charity in March 2020.
A decision on whether it qualifies for charitable status has not yet been made, but a petition trying to stop the group gaining charity status on the grounds that it is a “transphobic hate group” has attracted more than 32,000 signatures.