Debbie Hayton Debbie Hayton

Why are taxpayers funding Stonewall diversity programmes?

(Photo: Getty)

Stonewall UK was established in 1989 in response to the now infamous Section 28, which prohibited councils from intentionally promoting homosexuality or teaching about the acceptability of homosexuality in schools. In the years since its founding, Section 28 has been repealed, the age of consent has been levelled, and equal marriage was secured in 2013. In other words, the key political goals of lesbians, gay and bisexual people have been secured in the UK.

This lack of a serious and meaningful campaign goal perhaps explains why Stonewall’s behaviour has been far less edifying in recent years. In 2015 Stonewall extended their remit to campaign for trans equality, and in doing so thrust trans people like me into the centre of a toxic and divisive political dispute. The problem is that their campaign isn’t really needed. To misquote Stonewall’s famous campaign slogan: some people are trans, but society has largely gotten over it. Mostly, in my experience, other people really couldn’t care that I am trans, and I get on with my life much like everyone else, far more bothered about Covid-19 than LGBT rights.

But while I have no need of Stonewall UK, an alarming number of businesses and public sector bodies seem to think differently. According to the charity, over 850 organisations have signed up to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, which claims to be the ‘leading employers’ programme for ensuring all LGBT staff are accepted without exception in the workplace.’ And, the Sunday Telegraph reported last weekend that roughly 250 government departments and public bodies, including police forces, local councils and NHS trusts, pay thousands each year to be members of the programme.

It’s not clear to me why these organisations feel the need to sign up. Surely they don’t need Stonewall to tell them to treat LGBT employees and customers no less favourably because of their sexual orientation or gender reassignment status.

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Written by
Debbie Hayton

Debbie Hayton is a teacher and journalist. Her book, Transsexual Apostate – My Journey Back to Reality is published by Forum

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