Jenny Watson’s lesbian speed-dating occasions have been a success. Two weddings, quite a few engagements and numerous romantic dalliances are testomony to that. The occasions additionally supplied a fine addition in commerce for the Faculty Arms pub in central London, which had been struggling post-Covid. Having between 30 and 40 lesbians ingesting for a number of hours on a Friday night time was clearly nice for enterprise. There was, nonetheless, a hitch.

Jenny’s occasion was attended on quite a few events by males claiming to be ladies. In a single incident final yr, a person turned up clad in purple lycra and sporting an erection. Extra not too long ago, one other man confirmed up one night and ‘pushed [his] physique at a girl’ within the feminine bathrooms.

It want hardly be mentioned that, at a lesbian occasion, being touched by a person is all the time inappropriate and undesirable. The person in query was reprimanded by Jenny later that night and requested to not return. She additionally added a discover to her web site making it clear that this was a women-only occasion.

Offended at being rebuffed, the trans-identifying man joined a WhatsApp group of activists. They shortly made it their mission to shut down Jenny’s occasion and to destroy her within the course of. It was a nasty, sustained and coordinated assault. The activists wrote to Jenny’s boss at a London council the place she works as a city planner, claiming that she is a transphobe. They defamed her on social media and threatened different venues the place she had organised occasions. Additionally they wrote to the Meetup app, which Jenny used for ticketing, and submitted numerous complaints concerning the occasion below aliases. The person who had initially attended the occasion even despatched emails to Jenny in a sinister tone. ‘This isn’t going to go away’, he mentioned. When all of it turned an excessive amount of, Jenny got here to us at LGB Alliance for assist.

Within the meantime, a brand new supervisor of the Faculty Arms joined the activist WhatsApp group. He instantly made his views concerning the lesbian occasions clear, raging: ‘Fucking fuckers if they’re utilizing my new pub they’re fucking gone, TERFy assholes.’ (TERF is brief for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist’, a time period used to demonise gender-critical ladies.) The supervisor wrote that he would change Jenny’s occasion with one thing extra ‘inclusive’. What this primarily meant, as he defined, was opening up the occasion to anybody who identifies as a lesbian – together with males.

LGB Alliance met with the supervisor and one other senior member of workers to confront them with the messages. We wished an apology and an assurance that Jenny’s occasion might proceed. The supervisor was shocked and even slightly embarrassed that we had obtained entry to the group chat. Nonetheless, he doubled down on his insistence that no lesbian occasion might happen if it didn’t embody males.

This can be a severe scandal. The Faculty Arms is owned by the UK’s greatest pub firm, the Stonegate Group. With over 4,500 pubs in its portfolio, it has appreciable affect over the social lives of hundreds of thousands of us across the nation. We wrote to Stonegate’s CEO, David McDowall, to inform him concerning the astonishing therapy of Jenny and her occasion. We requested him whether it is firm coverage for lesbian teams to be forbidden from gathering at Stonegate venues, except males are additionally allowed to attend. We’re nonetheless awaiting his response.

After all, no affordable particular person can assume that Jenny’s speed-dating occasions must be compelled to incorporate males. In spite of everything, a lesbian occasion that invitations males is, by definition, now not a lesbian occasion.

The larger query, although, is that this: how is it that every one method of not solely companies, but additionally unions, authorities departments, universities and branches of the armed forces have purchased into the concept that males might be lesbians? Why are the rights of LGB individuals and girls seen as much less essential than these of trans individuals?

The reply is unsurprising. Gender-identity ideology has lengthy been accepted into the mainstream, having been aggressively promoted by previously pro-LGB teams like Stonewall. Stonewall has been particularly eager to push the ‘transwomen are ladies’ dogma and to conflate the meanings of gender and intercourse. It additionally misrepresents the regulation, advising establishments that trans individuals all the time have the correct below the Equality Act 2010 to entry single-sex areas that align with their gender identification.

These efforts imply that males claiming to be lesbians are sometimes handled as having extra rights than precise lesbians. Fearful of falling foul of discrimination regulation or being branded ‘transphobic’, organisations defer to the views of foyer teams like Stonewall. The result’s discrimination in opposition to lesbians.

As soon as upon a time, Jenny’s first port of name when confronted with such discrimination would have been Stonewall. Now it’s clear that Stonewall and comparable teams have turned their backs on the individuals they have been set as much as help. As an alternative, they promote an ideology that’s profoundly dangerous to lesbians, homosexual males and bisexuals.

LGB Alliance was shaped for this very cause. It’s the UK’s solely charity devoted to defending the rights of same-sex-attracted individuals. No matter names individuals name us, we’ll proceed to combat for justice for Jenny and for all these different LGB individuals who face discrimination.

Kate Harris is Director of the LGB Alliance.