Don’t give money to the Salvation Army

If you’re considering donating to a charity this year, please don’t give to the Salvation Army.

The charity says it’s dedicated to helping all people in need irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but it has a long history of discrimination against LGBT+ people.

Here in the UK, the Salvation Army lobbied against repealing the hateful Section 28, which made it illegal for teachers to talk about LGBT+ people in schools, and against equal marriage. Last year in Australia it lobbied for legal “religious freedom” protection that would enable it to discriminate against LGBT+ people.

Also last year, it urged its members not to discuss their opposition to LGBT+ rights because if the public knew of it, it would be a “threat to our reputation, our fundraising efforts, and ultimately our ability to serve people in need.”

In 2017, the Salvation Army’s New York rehab centres refused to serve trans people; in 2013, the US operation referred people to dangerous and discredited “pray the gay away” conversion therapy; in 2012 one of its senior Australian officers told a radio programme that “gay people should be put to death”; and in 2008 a trans woman died in Texas after the Salvation Army shelter refused to let her sleep in the women’s quarters.

The Salvation Army has of course done some good work, and it’s possible that this evangelical Christian organisation has changed its spots, but given its history – and some of that history is very recent – it would be wise to assume that it’s more concerned about negative PR than it is about LGBT+ people.

Lots of other charities do good work too, and they manage to do so without fighting against other people’s human rights.