Strip former Stonewall chief of peerage for role in ‘transgender scandal’, say campaigners

Baroness Hunt expanded Stonewall's mission to include transgender campaigning after key advances in lesbian and gay equality had been achieved
Baroness Hunt expanded Stonewall's mission to include transgender campaigning after key advances in lesbian and gay equality had been achieved - JOHN PHILLIPS/GETTY IMAGES

Campaigners are calling for the former chief executive of Stonewall to be stripped of her peerage following the Cass report.

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition on calling for Baroness Hunt of Bethnal Green to be expelled from the House of Lords for her “deeply damaging conduct” in the transgender “scandal”.

The petition, launched on Saturday, says: “Stonewall’s irresponsible, deceitful and self-interested behaviour… has caused untold havoc. We believe its chief executive at the time, Ruth Hunt, should take responsibility for her charity’s deeply damaging conduct, which played a key role in the scandal now unfolding.

“It is deeply insulting to the families she has harmed that, instead, Hunt was awarded a peerage and now sits in the House of Lords as Baroness Hunt of Bethnal Green, a legislator-for-life.”

The petition refers to Stonewall’s decision to oppose a research pack sent to schools warning children identifying as trans how there were possible risks to puberty blockers and untested drugs often being used as a “medical pathway” for transition.

The petition adds: “Stonewall Scotland told its tens of thousands of followers on Twitter: ‘We, in the strongest possible terms, denounce and condemn this [research] publication. If it lands on your desk, do the right thing: shred it.’”

Explaining how Stonewall had branded the research pack as “dangerous”, the petition adds: “We now know beyond doubt that the opposite was true: the packs contained sound advice, and removing them was dangerous.”

Promoting the transgender narrative

The Cass Review warned how treatment with puberty blockers “may change the trajectory of psychosexual and gender identity development” but critically did not change a patient’s body dissatisfaction or gender dysphoria. The report called for “unhurried” care of those under-25s who think they may be transgender.

The report, by Dr Hilary Cass, a paediatric consultant, found gender care had been largely based on “remarkably weak evidence”.

Shortly after the review’s publication, JK Rowling criticised Stonewall for promoting the transgender narrative.

The author wrote: “In 2018, Stonewall literally told schools to shred a research pack saying there were risks to puberty blockers. In 2022, Stonewall told the world that ‘research’ suggests two-year-olds can be trans. It advocated for nurseries – nurseries – to start teaching kids that there are more genders than boy and girl.”

Baroness Hunt took over Stonewall in 2014 shortly after the first same-sex marriages took place. She expanded the group’s mission to include transgender campaigns, possibly in response to a feeling that a void had been created by key advances in lesbian and gay equality.

Following a consultation with 700 transgender people, Stonewall accepted a donation to “integrate trans-specific work” into its campaigns.

As a result, it promoted the notion of “gender identity” which might not align with sex, including the ideas that lesbians can have penises and gay men can have vulvas.

Many lesbians and gay men vehemently opposed that ideology. Baroness Hunt was later accused of running “a militant trans agenda” by the writer Maureen Chadwick, creator of Bad Girls and Footballers’ Wives. She withdrew her support from the charity over its “trans women are women” campaign.

In 2019, Baroness Hunt, who had previously worked for the Equality Challenge Unit advising on sexual orientation and gender identity equality, left Stonewall and accepted her peerage.

Baroness Hunt did not respond to a request for a comment.