BOY, what a week that was for transgender people living in the UK.

You might have heard that barrister Allison Bailey took on the LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall and beat them in court, showing once and for all that businesses and employers are at risk from following the so-called “Stonewall law”.

Meanwhile, the closure of the Tavistock clinic in London has vindicated its critics who claimed that young people were being forcibly “transgendered” without proper safeguards.

Of course, none of that is what actually happened – but that didn’t stop the British press and anti-trans pundits online from opening the champagne a little early and getting stuck into the conversation. A few extra glasses of premature bubbly might go some way to explaining how the media managed to get it so wrong last week though.

Bailey announced in 2020 that she was suing Europe’s largest LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall. Bailey claimed it “had me investigated by my chambers, in an attempt to cost me my livelihood”.

Quite a claim, but that was the wording attached to Bailey’s crowdfunding appeal which helped her raise more than £500,000 to take on the equalities champion.

Stonewall, a useful bogeyman figure for the anti-trans community, now had a crosshair on its back. The organisation has recently been working to introduce equitable access to IVF practices for queer couples looking to conceive, and helped support LGBTQ+ Ukrainian refugees to escape Putin’s invasion.

However, the charity also promotes making workplaces more inclusive – including for trans people – and for that has become a target. Stonewall was not the only one facing the courts, however. Bailey’s employer, Garden Court Chambers, (GCC) had also been accused of discriminatory behaviour over its handling of complaints against her.

Bailey lost her case against Stonewall and dramatically so. During an employment tribunal, Bailey painted the charity as a shadowy, powerful organisation with undue hold over the policies and actions of businesses, including the claim that Stonewall had somehow directed the internal complaints process of GCC. There was no evidence to suggest this was the case and the court ruling dismissed it as a “conspiracy theory”.

Stonewall was found to have had no role in instructing, inducing, causing or attempting to induce or cause GCC to act in a discriminatory manner whatsover. In other words, total and complete exoneration.

GCC, on the other hand, was found to have discriminated against Bailey over having tweeted that she was under investigation over complaints made about her conduct, and in a later decision to privately flag two of her tweets as a problem. For this she was awarded £22,000 in compensation for injury to feelings.

Claims that Bailey had lost income or work due to her so-called gender critical views were rejected. Claims Stonewall had been secretly colluding with her colleagues were rejected. Claims her employer believed her views to be bigoted were rejected.

In reality, Bailey won a miniscule part of her case, which GCC may appeal. Yet the media lost its collective mind in the ensuing frenzy, which sought to paint this as a major victory. Two major broadsheets, having published that Bailey had beaten Stonewall, had to quietly retract and update their headlines.

The abundance of self-congratulatory headlines and crowing online messages reflected what anti-trans groups had hoped the outcome of the employment tribunal would be, rather than the facts: that Bailey had taken on Stonewall and lost; that most of her claims against her employer were dismissed; and that the part her claim that found success likely only did so because GCC did not have an adequate social media policy in place.

In a press release with the cringe-inducing headline “JK Rowling’s Friend Allison Bailey Wins Her Case”, the barrister framed her “victory” through the pitiful lens of being friends with a rich, white, straight woman. This was likely in the hope that the media would pick up the story due to the mention of Rowling’s name but Bailey needn’t have bothered. The British media love any story that plays to the moral panic currently sweeping the UK and had no plans to miss their chance.

Hot on the heels of the story about Bailey came the news that the Tavistock clinic in London would be shutting its doors. The centre, which provides support for young people experiencing gender dysphoria, has repeatedly found itself in the spotlight since the fight against trans rights ramped up across the UK.

Thanks to poor and somewhat overzealous reporting, the story quickly became a vindication for the belief that healthcare for trans youth was unfounded and experimental.

Why else would the clinic be closing its doors, after all? What was conveniently glossed over was the fact that several new regional centres for trans youth across England would be replacing the service.

Had reporters bothered to speak to those young people about the closure, they may have heard this was viewed by many as a positive step, including myself. Moves to more local healthcare provisions are to be welcomed, rather than continuing on with the broken service that the oversubscribed Tavistock was providing.

So last week was, in actuality, a good one for trans people, hidden within orchestrated misinformation that sought to give the anti-trans movement momentum, to create doubt around the competence of Stonewall, and to undermine the science of transition. On this, they failed.