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John Lewis faces a boycott after advice in new trans-friendly staff magazine gave tips on how to find breast binders for children


John Lewis is facing calls for a boycott after it gave advice in a staff magazine on how to find breast binders for trans children.

The partnership, which also owns Waitrose, published the first issue of ‘Identity’ – a 32-page internal magazine sent to all 70,000 of its employees – to coincide with ‘the beginning of LGBTQ+ history month’.

It has been accused of ‘contemptuous dismissal of staff’, after launching the in-house magazine offering tips from a controversial transgender charity.

The partnership Articles also signposted parents to controversial charities including Mermaids UK and Stonewall and gave advice to parents on ‘chest binders’.

The article ‘Raising trans and non-binary children’ made heavy reference to Mermaids, which is currently subject to investigation by the Charity Commission. 

The partnership published the first issue of 'Identity' (pictured above) ¿ a 32-page internal magazine sent to all 70,000 of its employees ¿ to coincide with 'the beginning of LGBTQ + history month'

The partnership published the first issue of ‘Identity’ (pictured above) – a 32-page internal magazine sent to all 70,000 of its employees – to coincide with ‘the beginning of LGBTQ + history month’

Experiences of anonymised staff members were interwoven with advice to parents.

It focuses on the experiences of a mother, who said that it was not unexpected that her child wanted to transition to be a boy as ‘he hadn’t worn anything girly since he was eight’, The Telegraph reports.

It read: ‘The Mermaids parents forum offers a safe and supportive space for parents to ask questions and learn from other parents of trans children.

‘Mermaids offers a number of YouTube videos and tips for both parents and trans children on their website.

‘Social media has also helped spread the word, with influencers sharing their own personal experiences with transitioning.

‘Some also share tips on how to safely use clothing and equipment to achieve a person’s desired gender identity, for example, chest binders.’

Other items included in the magazine were wordsearches for LGBTQ+ terms and a calendar recognising the likes of ‘pansexual and panromantic visibility day’. 

The magazine’s publication has been criticised as being ‘packed with hyperbole, scaremongering and ideologically driven content’ by women’s rights groups.

Helen Joyce of Sex Matters, said: ‘We’ve known for some time that many big retailers have embraced trans ideology, but this newsletter really demonstrates how far brands are willing to go to placate the vocal minority of activists on their staff.

‘Packed with hyperbole, scaremongering and ideologically driven content, it’s a complete departure from the culture and values people associate with the John Lewis brand.

‘It’s a contemptuous dismissal of staff members who – like most people in this country – believe that sex is binary and more important than identity, and value sex-based rights.’

Coordinator of the Declaration for Biological Reality, James Esses, told the Telegraph that he was concerned that an employer was ‘pushing a divisive and dangerous ideology on to its staff members’.

He said it was ‘alarming’ that the magazine suggests to parents who could be vulnerable that answers to their daughters being in distress is to get them a breast binder.

Claire Loneragan, from Women’s Rights Network, said: ‘Ordinary people know this belief that everyone has a ‘gender identity’ is very much a fringe belief, but it is being used by employers to justify the removal of single sex facilities and opportunities for women.

‘This is incredibly dismissive of their [John Lewis’] core shoppers – women.’

Calls for the boycott of John Lewis come after the company threatened its staff with disciplinary action over ‘unacceptable comments’ left on its internal intranet – after it emerged the retailer was considering cutting 11,000 jobs in a bid to recover £230million losses. 

The Charity Commission opened a statutory inquiry into Mermaids, in November 2022, to establish if there had been any misconduct or mismanagement by trustees.

John Lewis has been accused of 'contemptuous dismissal of staff', after launching an in-house magazine offering tips from a controversial transgender charity (file image)

John Lewis has been accused of ‘contemptuous dismissal of staff’, after launching an in-house magazine offering tips from a controversial transgender charity (file image)

It was moved to act following safeguarding allegations.

Mermaids had been accused of giving chest binder devices to individuals it believed were trans children, without their parents knowledge.

Dr Hilary Cass, the former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics, who has published an interim report of trans-children’s services in the NHS has described them as ‘painful and potentially harmful’.

Stephanie Davies-Arai, of Transgender Trend, added: ‘John Lewis are promoting really dangerous information to parents without any qualification.

‘They are promoting an organisation that […]. uses an ideological line.

‘It is totally irresponsible to promote an approach towards children with no experience in this area at all.’

JLP has previously boasted of its links to Stonewall, having joined the charity’s Workplace Equality Index in 2021. References to the charity have been quietly dropped from later annual inclusion reports.

Stonewall‘s index has previously been seen a means to push public bodies into lobbying for changes to sex and gender laws.

The magazine was created in addition to the JLP’s official partnership magazine ‘The Gazette’, which is published weekly.

A JLP spokesman said: ‘We want the Partnership to be a place where people can work or shop with confidence, irrespective of their backgrounds.

‘Multiple studies – including those from the government – show that trans people are at higher risk of hate crimes and discrimination, and this magazine was created by our LGBTQIA+ network to champion understanding and support. It has been positively received by the huge majority of our Partners.

‘We’ve a number of networks across our business, which encourage open conversations. Partners can share their own questions and experiences – even on topics where people have different views.’

A Mermaids spokesperson said: ‘Mermaids has provided important support, information and signposting to trans children, young people and families for almost 30 years – support which we know has a positive impact on emotional and mental wellbeing.

‘In December 2022, the Charity Commission announced it would be opening a statutory inquiry into the charity, noting at the time that opening an inquiry is not a finding of wrongdoing. We have cooperated fully, openly and with complete transparency with the Commission throughout the inquiry and are continuing to do so.’

Stonewall was contacted for comment.



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