Adapted from the online submission to the Charity Commission completed on March 29th, 2021. Pending a response.
To the Charity Commission,
As an organisation that supports the rights and equality of transgender people, we are deeply concerned to find that a registered charity has been promoting discrimination.
We have recently raised a complaint regarding the Christian Institute. This organisation is a registered charity that describes itself as ‘a nondenominational Christian charity committed to upholding the truths of the Bible’. Faith is an important part of many people’s lives, both inside and outside of the LGBTQ+ community, and we believe that nobody should be excluded from their faith because of their identity.
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.
These materials use religious freedom as an excuse to discriminate against a group protected under the Equality Act 2010. Not only is this distressing, especially for LGBTQ+ people of faith, it’s also a serious failure to comply with the regulations you have set out for registered charities.
As is made clear on your website, the Charity Commission and all public bodies registered with it, are governed by the Equality Act 2010 and the public sector equality duty, which offer legal protection to marginalised people in the UK and make public bodies responsible for limiting discrimination.
It is clear that the Christian Institute has no interest in eliminating discrimination or fostering connections between different kinds of people. As long as they continue to perpetuate a narrative that promotes discrimination towards gender-diverse people, they are failing to promote your own values and the values of all other UK registered charities.
We are concerned that continued association with an organisation that so openly promotes discrimination will damage public confidence in the Commission’s ability to perform as a regulator, and encourage further organisations to flout the regulations.
We believe passionately in freedom of expression – but it should never be used to discriminate against others because of who they are. We hope that this complaint is investigated thoroughly, and that the Commission will reaffirm that there is no place in the UK for bigotry against people of any identity or faith.
We would be more than happy to speak to you in more detail about this complaint, and the discrimination faced by transgender people.