Beauty brand Lush, which prides itself on natural ingredients and being a general friend of the planet, has reportedly also been a friend to Woman’s Place UK, an anti-trans women’s rights group in the United Kingdom. According to Pink News, financial statements on Woman’s Place UK’s website show a £3,000 contribution for “event organizing” from Lush. The money was generated through the company’s charity pot initiative, which anyone who has been to a store would be familiar with. Charity pot donations are made possible by the sale of creams and washes designated by special packaging often featuring animals in need or the ocean, and portions from the sale of those items go toward grants that Lush issues throughout the year.
While Woman’s Place UK purports to be a pro-women’s organization, its manifesto and its five demands to the British government are littered with trans-exclusionary language such as this gem, “Government to consult with women’s organisations on how self-declaration would impact on women-only services and spaces.” The organization has pages and pages on how to improve the lives of women, with special attention given to how this group of largely white Brits can help migrants, “the prostituted,” Muslims, and women of Northern Ireland. But among the requests for improved representation are also calls for single-sex spaces for women and discrimination data that only takes sex into account as opposed to gender or self-identification.
On the other hand, Lush has run several ad campaigns through their UK and North American branches that feature members of the LGBTQ+ community, and just this month, Lush North America posted about the murders of trans people during Trans Day of Remembrance. The math is not mathing.
In a statement to Pink News—which did not include an apology or an attempt at one—a representative for Lush claimed, “We do not believe that trans rights are a threat to women’s rights. Our belief is that a decent society should be able to structure itself to give rights and protection to all who need it.” Lush also claims that the grant was given before the company became aware of the “toxic discussion” around the UK’s Gender Recognition Act which would allow citizens to self-identify. Woman’s Place UK is against the GRA and wrote in a statement to the Scottish government in March 2020, “We do not support the proposal to shift to a system of self-declaration for those seeking to change their legal sex. Nor do we support the proposal to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to change legal sex. . . it is our view that no-one responding to this consultation can be expected to make a reasonable assessment of what the impact of these proposals will be on women-only spaces, services and occupations as provided for under Equality Act (EA) 2010.”
Perhaps Lush was genuinely unaware they sent money to an organization with clearly transphobic goals, or maybe they had some Mask of Magnaminty in their eye and just didn’t know they’d hit send on the donation page. Either way, something tells me charity pots won’t be flying off the shelves this Christmas season.