LGBT lobby group Stonewall has been accused of coercing public bodies into promoting transgender ideology.
In documents seen by The Times, Government departments, local councils and NHS trusts are being ‘encouraged’ to adopt pro-trans policies in order to improve their ranking in Stonewall’s top 100 LGBT ‘inclusive’ workplaces.
The controversial charity’s Workplace Equality Index (WEI), rewards employers for – among other things – swapping the term mother for “parent who has given birth” and allowing transgender employees to access the toilets “they feel most comfortable using”.
The Times reports that Stonewall uses points awarded under its WEI scheme as leverage with organisations to influence output on their social media accounts and, in some instances, get them to lobby for changes in the law on trans issues.
In WEI feedback, Stonewall told the Intellectual Property Office that its use of social media to show “commitment to LGBT equality” was “great to see”. It also wrote: “In addition, your public support of reform to the Gender Recognition Act sends a very powerful message.”
Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust was advised by Stonewall to adopt “terms such as ‘pregnant employee’ or ‘birthing parent’ instead of ‘mother’” in Trust policies to improve its WEI ranking.
In applications to the lobby group’s scheme in previous years, the Scottish Government has pledged to “consult on reforming gender recognition legislation” and survey the public on “what should be included in a new hate crime bill”.
A former volunteer at Stonewall, now an equality officer, said that when he had explored the possibility of his company joining the scheme, the WEI representative had been “very manipulative” and the meeting “quite high pressured”.
He said: “I remember being told, ‘well, you don’t have to apply, but if you don’t, do you really feel you have the expertise to deal with this in-house?’ It felt like emotional blackmail.”
Simon Fanshawe, Stonewall co-founder turned critic, told The Times that the WEI sounded “more like coercion — a way of coercing employers in their language and structure”.
Last month, women’s rights campaigner Maya Forstater called for the Committee on Standards in Public Life to investigate “how an organisation that is basically a lobby group got into such an influential position in so many institutions”.
Sainsbury’s featured in the Stonewall’s ‘top 100’ list for the first time in 2020. The supermarket boasted: “We’re delighted to be the leading retailer in this year’s Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.”
But an insider labelled the scheme a “waste of money” and accused the supermarket giant of putting “trans ideology” above the welfare and interests of staff.
Sainsbury’s are now inviting male-bodied people to use the existing female changing areas and toilets.
He said: “The Workplace Equality Index takes about 400 hours to fill in the forms and then you get just four lines of feedback.” He added: “I would describe the scheme as a lovely little earner for Stonewall”.
Another employee complained on the staff website: “Effectively, Sainsbury’s are now inviting male-bodied people to use the existing female changing areas and toilets. As far as I am aware, this has been implemented without consultation with female staff.”