I am suing Stonewall to stop them policing free speech

My name is Allison Bailey. I am a criminal defence barrister, a feminist, a lesbian, a lifelong campaigner for racial equality, lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights, and a survivor of child sexual abuse. 

With other LGB rights campaigners, I helped to set up the LGB Alliance. In retribution for this, Stonewall Diversity Limited (Stonewall), co-ordinated with the barristers’ chambers of which I am a member to put me under investigation. This was an attempt by Stonewall to intimidate and silence me and others critical of what we see as its malign influence in British life: workplaces, schools, universities, the police, the judiciary, the Crown Prosecution Service, and all government departments.

Nicholas Hellen, Social Affairs Editor at The Sunday Times wrote about my case in November 2019.

I am crowdfunding to pay for legal representation to take this case to the Employment Tribunal to show that: no one should be discriminated against or victimised for campaigning for lesbian, gay and bisexual rights; LGB people are free to organise and campaign around sexual orientation and not trans rights without apology or permission from Stonewall or anyone else; criticism and investigation of notions of gender identity that are in conflict with, and doing harm to, the interests, safety and rights of women, children and LGB people, is not hateful or transphobic.

Who am I

Coming out in the era of section 28 

I am from Oxford, England, the daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents. By the time I was 17 years old, I realised that I was same-sex attracted, that I was a lesbian. It was the late 1980s, a desperately hard and lonely time to be a lesbian, gay or bisexual young person in the United Kingdom. Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 was an historic act of wickedness that left young LGB teenagers like me with no resources, support or guidance whatsoever. I bear the scars of that abandonment to this day.

Despite section 28 and coming from a community not renowned for its acceptance of homosexuality, I have fond memories of finding community with other LGB people in Oxford in the late 1980s. There were two gay pubs: the Jolly Farmers and the Apollo. I frequented both. There was also a disco night above the Co-op on the Cowley Road. I knew that being openly and proudly lesbian was an act of self-preservation as much as it was one of defiance and activism. I knew this because I lived it. I can remember sitting in the Apollo as ACT-UP Silence = Death was explained to me and a badge pinned to my jacket. This was my community and I was determined and proud to be a part of it. I always have been.

LGB & racial politics in the USA

I left section 28 Britain for the USA in my late teens. I would spend the next 6 years living and working in the USA, much of it as a bookseller and community activist. I lived on The Castro and worked in the Mission District, in San Francisco, California; the epicentre of gay and radical left political activism, respectively, at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

I did voluntary work as a Black British woman working with African-American women on a local level to provide advocacy, community support and friendship to other black women, straight and LGB, facing social, health and income inequality in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Black Lives Matter

In 1991, I watched television footage in horror and anger as LAPD officers were captured surrounding and beating Rodney King, an unarmed black man lying prone on the ground.

I hoped against all expectation that the police officers responsible would face justice. In 1992, when those same police officers were all acquitted, I took to the streets in peaceful protest, along with many others in San Francisco, as the Los Angeles riots raged. Then as now, LGB people from all walks of life stood in solidarity against racial injustice. I and many others were unlawfully arrested in San Francisco that night and unlawfully imprisoned. I was sent to Santa Rita Women’s Jail.

I welcome the Black Lives Matter movement. I am hopeful that we may have finally arrived at a moment in history when racial injustice and police brutality can finally be addressed and reparations made.

However, I reject the suggestion by trans activists and their supporters, including so called anti-fascist journalists, that women like me must give way in our activism to more worthy causes and just shut up about our concerns about the new trans activism, as advocated for by Stonewall. This argument seems itself racist, misogynist, naive and self-indulgent. 

Just as there may finally be a reckoning about racial injustice, I hope there may also one day soon be a similar reckoning about male violence, oppression and woman-hatred; including a reckoning about this moment in history when men tried to run off with women’s rights.

This is me marching down Market Street, San Francisco, circa 1991 at my first LGB Pride march.

The new trans activism: all scrutiny and critical voices labelled ‘transphobic’

In early 2018, when I first heard that plans were underway to make the lives of trans people easier, my reaction was that this was a good thing and I did not give it a second thought. I kept coming across the term ‘TERF’ but ignored it. I thought that bigots were simply being called out.

Then one day I clicked on a link: terfisaslur.com where someone had collated the online abuse that was being directed at women who I realised had entirely valid concerns and questions about the wisdom of replacing sex with gender. 

I learnt that the new trans activism wants to smash the distinctions between men and women; replacing sex with notions of gender identity; making sexual difference a matter of self identification; and demands that any and every man that wishes to identify as a woman must be allowed to do so.

I learnt that the new trans activism is focusing, inexplicably, on young children and declaring them ‘trans’; treating puberty as a disease to be blocked with powerful drugs; delivering our young people into the arms of a multi-million pound industry of big pharmaceutical companies and plastic surgeons. 

I saw that the same males who would have society regard them as women, were quick to brandish knives, axes, baseball bats and nooses, as they threatened with rape women who questioned the wisdom of replacing sex with gender —TERFs.

I realised that the new trans activism operated a crude but effective system of punishment and reward: agree with every demand of the trans lobby and be safe; object and face vilification, abuse, boycott, character assassination and cancellation.

I was horrified (and terrified).

I wanted to look away, to pretend that I had not seen it; that it did not reveal the worst woman-hating, lesbian hating, misogyny that I have ever come across in my lifetime. 

I did not look away and I urge others not to either. Thanks to brave women who have come before me, such as the late, great, Magdalen Berns, whose courage and no nonsense approach to calling out the new trans activism as the men’s rights movement it so clearly is, gave me courage.

I realised that I did not have to accept that any man can claim to be legally a woman, without having to undergo any hormone or surgical intervention, psychological evaluation or risk assessment. 

I realised that it was okay and necessary to say that it is reckless and naive to think that men will only identify as women if they are stunning and brave and harmless: that the wicked, abusive, predatory, unwell and downright cantankerous will, by some miracle, refuse to take advantage of free and easy access to women, to their politics, safe spaces, sports, legal protections and identities.

I was shocked to discover that significant numbers of male sex offenders are permitted to identify as women and nothing is being done to stop them. In England and Wales, some 40 per cent or more of trans identified males in the prison population are men with convictions for sex offences, including rape and possession of the most serious indecent images of children. I read a steady stream of news reports from around the world of males who identify as women committing serious sex offences.

It is repugnant to me and wholly unacceptable, and frankly unbelievable, that the new trans activism demands that sex crimes committed by males who identify as women are recorded as having been committed by women; and that these males can demand to be referred to by female pronouns.

I discovered that women incarcerated in prison are left vulnerable to serious sexual assault and mental anguish, as males, including sex offenders, are locked up with them. The new trans activism demands that a man’s desire to identify as a woman is more important than the right of imprisoned women to safety and dignity. These women have no way to escape, no choice, they are locked up. I do not see how this is anything other than state facilitated abuse and mental torture.

Where there should have been discussion, investigation and inquiry, there has been the silencing of concerned and critical voices; not voices from the far right, but from women like me, who are of and from the progressive left.

Mantras have been chanted because the new trans activism is a movement that cannot bear scrutiny: TRANS WOMEN ARE WOMEN; TRANS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS; TRANS PEOPLE ARE WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE; PROTECT OUR TRANS SIBLINGS, and so on, do nothing to engage with and address the serious concerns that exist about replacing sex with gender.

The new trans activists are joined by politicians, journalists, lawyers, writers, entire organisations, and assorted celebrities, in the chanting of these mantras to shut down debate, while others who are appalled at what they see happening are too afraid to speak out. It is cult like behaviour, it is Orwellian, and it has disgraced and shamed a generation.

Labelling all critical voices ‘transphobic’ is a cynical political ploy of the new trans activism. It must be resisted.

Surviving child sexual abuse: understanding that women and girls are oppressed because of their sex and not their gender identity

The man who sexually abused me as a 9 year old little girl; the man who targeted my single-parent mother; the man who told me that I could trust him whilst he slipped drugs into my orange squash to render me helpless as he sexually assaulted me, was tried and convicted of multiple sexual assaults against me in 2015, and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. He was released from prison last month (May 2020) to serve out the rest of his sentence on licence.

I make this disclosure now because I feel compelled to stand in solidarity with other women with similar experiences of male physical and sexual violence. It is not weaponising trauma to say so, any more than recounting racist abuse is.

We must not allow men or women to bury, minimise and ignore the visceral reality of male violence. We must not allow the new trans activism to force survivors back into the closet; this would be an abuser’s charter.

It should be a cause of great alarm that the new trans activism takes such a regressive and shaming attitude to disclosures of abuse. This culture of denial and belittling has been the bedrock and the hallmark of every abuse scandal. It is a red flag that signals a safeguarding catastrophe in the making.

It is women like me whose lives have been torn apart and seriously blighted by wanton acts of male violence that know that men are often not who they say they are or claim to be. 

I know that conflating sex with notions of gender identity will leave women with no legally enforceable boundaries against any man.

I know that if the new trans activism is not brought to heel, women will disappear as a political class.

This is a photo of me taken shortly before my ninth birthday. It was used by the prosecution during the trial of the man who sexually assaulted me. 

I am not a woman because of feelings in my head. I was not a little girl, vulnerable to the sexual gaze and then sexual assault by a middle-aged man because of feelings in my head. Women are not murdered and violently assaulted by men on an industrial scale because of feelings in their heads.

Telling little girls and young women that men who have feelings in their head that they are women make them any less of a statistical threat to their safety and well-being is dangerous and fanatical nonsense; legislating on this basis, utter madness.


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