Content Warning: This article contains references to transphobia and includes examples of transphobic language
In March 2021 GenderGP submitted a complaint to the Charity Commission. The complaint raised concerns around the fact that registered UK charity The Christian Institute, has been promoting materials which discriminate against trans and non-binary individuals, in apparent contravention of the Charity Commission’s own Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. Six months on and we are yet to receive a response.
The Christian Institute has distributed materials claiming that transgender people are ‘in defiance of their creator’, calling on Christians to misgender transgender people and try and keep them from accessing healthcare, as well as fighting against a conversion therapy ban in the UK – GenderGP
Within a month of our submission we received a reply from The Charity Commission asking us to provide scanned copies of the evidence we had in our possession by the 30th of April. We swiftly provided the requested documentation.
Included in our evidence were various examples of literature that the Christian Institute makes freely available on its website.
One such document, a dedicated information leaflet entitled ‘Transexualism’ contains several poorly evidenced and easily debunked claims, including:
- ‘Sex change surgery does not resolve the underlying conflicts felt by people with gender dysphoria’
This claim has been debunked by numerous global studies including one from the American Medical Association which states that ‘Every major medical association in the United States recognizes the medical necessity of transition-related care for improving the physical and mental health of transgender people’
- ‘Therapy should not be aimed at changing healthy bodies to match people’s wishes, but rather at helping people accept the body they were born with’
This statement demonstrates an ideology commonly known as Conversion Therapy, a practise completely banned in Brazil, Ecuador, Germany and Malta. United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (IESOGI) has called for a global ban on conversion therapy.
Further, the Cooper Report, commissioned by registered charity The Ozanne Foundation and signed by MPs, peers, academics, barristers, legal professionals, campaigners, survivors and service providers, recommends that the British Government ban the harmful and degrading practices of so-called ‘conversion therapy’, that it must be criminalised, and that there can be no exemptions.
- ‘When a person is living as a member of the opposite sex, it is often obvious when meeting them. We are confronted by their sin straight away’
The belief that trans and gender diverse people are sinful simply for being transgender has its roots in transphobia and goes directly against the Charity Commission’s ambitions for equality and diversity as outlined in its Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2019 to 2023.
We recognise that to realise the benefits of diversity and inclusion, we will need to focus on 4 key objectives:
- Meeting our statutory requirements and going beyond this by taking positive action and building a culture that champions diversity and inclusion
- Maintaining our representation where we are doing well and improving our representation in areas where we could improve
- Creating an inclusive culture, that values diversity, in how we treat each other and interact with those that we regulate and come into contact with
- We want diversity and inclusion to be a natural part of what we do – firmly embedded in our culture
- ‘Using a female pronoun for a man living as a woman is both untrue and likely to be perceived by him as an endorsement’
The suggestion here is that trans women are lying by using the pronoun that most closely reflects their gender identity. Incitement to misgender trans women and girls is an example of the exact discrimination that the Equality Act 2010 aims to prohibit.
The Christian Institute’s hostile intent towards trans and gender diverse people doesn’t just stop there however.
In a similar document, this time entitled ‘The Transgender Craze’, the Christian Institute focuses on promoting the belief that the ‘out of the blue’ existence of a young trans person is the result of a social contagion, of a confused child who has been persuaded to be trans due to inclusive and intersectional LGBT+ education in schools.
They disingenuously refer to this as Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD), a pseudoscientific term based on a single study that has been widely criticised, debunked, and its methodology discredited – including in peer reviewed studies.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health states ‘The term ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD)’ is not a medical entity recognised by any major professional association’
This is not the first time that a complaint has been made against the Christian Institute. In 2001 the Charity Commission criticised the organisation for publishing a 100-page report, Homosexuality and Young People (1998) in which they argued against reforming anti-homosexual law. They were also asked to be clearer about their status as a religious organisation rather than a political one, which resulted in the removal of the slogan ‘influencing public policy’ from their literature and website.
Despite these previous assurances to the Charity Commission, the Christian Institute continues to publish anti-trans content and opinions in a dedicated Transgender Ideology section of its website.
We maintain that the materials created and distributed by the Christian Institute directly discriminate against a group protected under the Equality Act 2010 and that action must be taken.
This is especially distressing for LGBTQ+ people of faith and is a serious failure to comply with the regulations the Charities commission has set out for registered charities.
We remain concerned that continued association with an organisation that so openly promotes discrimination which is in direct in contravention to the Charity Commission’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy will damage public confidence in the Commission’s ability to perform as a regulator. There is also the additional concern that a failure to act may encourage further organisations to flout the regulations.
Subject to their review of our submitted evidence, we would be more than happy to speak to the commission in more detail about our complaint and the discrimination faced by transgender people.
If you have been affected by the content of this blog post you can submit a complaint to the government or share your story with GenderGP: