A part-time judge who once accused Stonewall, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity, of misrepresenting the law is now in the running to work on the country’s equalities watchdog.
Akua Reindorf, who once accused the LGBTQ+ charity of failing to uphold free speech, when the University of Essex dropped two speakers accused of transphobia, has been asked to sit on the board of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
She suggested the university rethink its ties with the group and was met with staunch criticism from transgender activists.
But others argue that her being given a place on the board would help to ensure free speech for everyone in the country.
A Whitehall source claimed that Ms Reindorf has a ‘history of fighting discrimination.
Appointment to be announced next week
It is believed that her appointment was given by EHRC commissioner, Foreign Secretary, and equalities minister Liz Truss, and will be announced in the next few days.
Ms Reindorf, who is also a barrister, held a review after the University of Essex uninvited two female professors to speak in 2019 and 2020.
She found that according to the university’s policy on supporting trans and non-binary staff, a letter about trans issues signed by the professors could ‘amount to or lead to unlawful harassment’.
Ms Reindorf wrote at the time: ‘This policy is founded on an erroneous understanding of the law.”
‘The policy is reviewed annually by Stonewall, and its incorrect summary of the law does not appear to have been picked up by them. In my view the policy states the law as Stonewall would prefer it to be, rather than the law as it is.’
Stonewall insisted that its advice was based on guidance by the EHRC which had been reaffirmed by the High Court. +3
It comes after the organisation convinced the Scottish civil service to delete the word ‘mother’ from its maternity leave policy in October last year.
Documents released under Freedom of Information laws uncovered how Leslie Evans, the permanent secretary, agreed to make the change in a bid to climb the lobby group’s controversial Workplace Equality Index.
Stonewall requests ministers to remove ‘gendered’ words from official policies as part of its advice on becoming more LGBT friendly.
NHS of putting patients at risk
And back in June, a former hospital boss accused the NHS of putting patients at risk by signing up to Stonewell’s controversial Diversity Champions scheme.
More than ninety healthcare organisations are understood to be members of the charity’s controversial programme, including the Department of Health, NHS England, and numerous hospital trusts.
But Kate Grimes, a former chief executive of Kingston Hospital in South-West London, has joined a growing chorus calling on organisations to withdraw from the Stonewall scheme.
In an article for Health Service Journal, she wrote: ‘I believe working with Stonewall is no longer compatible with NHS values and risks the reputation of the NHS and safety of our patients and staff.’
Ms Grimes accused Stonewall of ‘undermining’ the NHS’s ability to keep patients safe, ‘stifling’ free speech and creating a ‘culture of fear’ among some NHS staff.
And she warned some advice risked ‘opening up NHS organisations to litigation and reputational damage’.