Founder of dance charity quits after being 'betrayed' by trustees amid gender identity row

- This article has been updated; please see final paragraph

The artistic director of a dance charity she founded has resigned after saying its trustees “betrayed my confidence, my trust and failed in their duty to protect the purpose of the charity”. 

Rosie Kay, who founded the Rosie Kay Dance Company in 2004, said she had been forced to quit the charity after a row over her stance on gender identity. 

She said she had been the subject of two investigations by trustees over the past four months after a party at her home where she told dancers in the company that she did not believe people could change their biological sex. 

The charity said it was surprised by Kay’s account and said it “strongly resisted” her version of events. 

A group of six dancers has also contested Kay's account of the events and the group has published an open letter in response

Kay said in a statement: “The chain of events that has led to this began with a party in my own home on 28 August with dancers during rehearsals for the company’s production of Romeo & Juliet.”

She said “debate turned heated” as discussion turned to the differences between sex and gender and whether trans women should be admitted to women’s spaces. 

“I believe in sex-based protections and women’s sex-based rights,” said Kay in her statement. “Women’s rights and freedom of expression are a cornerstone to my artistic expression.”

She said a complaint to the board by some of the dancers at the party “led to a four-month investigation by my board which it has botched, first exonerating me, then, when that led to more complaints, opening a second investigation which still hasn’t concluded”. 

Kay said: “I cannot endure this humiliation any longer.”

She said the charity’s trustees had taken “little or no care to my wellbeing, my mental health, the continued work of the company or my creative freedoms”. 

She also claimed: “I have been lied to, ignored, ostracised and shut out of my own company.

“It is with a broken heart and utter devastation that I have resigned from the company that I founded in 2004. 

“I have been left in a position where I have no alternative but to do so because of the way the company has treated me. 

“The board of trustees has betrayed my confidence, my trust and failed in their duty to protect the purpose of the charity.

Kay claimed the trustees had “failed to understand the extent of the harassment and bullying of women who support sex-based rights and are gender critical and this showed me how little they understood my work or my protected beliefs”.

She said she intended to start a new company “with a lighter structure that lets me, as the creator, stay in control”. 

A spokesperson for the charity said: "We are surprised by this account and strongly resist this interpretation of events. 

“However, we will continue to respect the confidentiality of the investigation process and are therefore unable to comment further.”

- The article was updated on 13 December 2021 to include a link to comments by the dancers 

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