This year's Pride in London saw the streets yet again filled with revellers to watch 30,000 people walk through London for LGBT equality.
That sight wouldn’t be possible without Pride’s amazing, hard-working volunteers. But the event was marred by a transphobic group at the front of the march and the decisions Pride in London’s leadership team made about this ‘protest’.
Pride should have been where trans people were free.
What was a celebration for many became a distressing experience for those in our communities who are facing hatred and hostility every day. From the media, in the streets and online. Pride should have been where trans people were free. It became the opposite.
That a transphobic group who are actively working against the community were able to walk the length of the route, that they faced no obstruction and were able to distribute leaflets filled with myths and lies, is hard to believe.
Two years ago Stonewall board and leadership team wrote to Pride in London to express concern about the power imbalance between Pride in London and UK Black Pride. We were concerned that Pride in London weren’t using their power and privilege to support people who face marginalisation both in and outside our community.
Facing up to your privilege isn’t easy. But it’s essential because ignoring it can lead you to make assumptions and decisions that put people in danger.
Yesterday was a demonstration of that in action, with a transphobic group able to protest unhindered in the interests of the ‘safety of everyone’. Not everyone was safe - trans people were left feeling exposed and alienated by their own community.
They had a duty to condemn the hatred directed at trans people.
Pride in London had a duty to act and protect trans people yesterday. They didn’t. They had a duty to condemn the hatred directed at trans people. They didn’t.
For the third year, Stonewall repeats its offer to support Pride in London in their journey. Stonewall has needed help with this and we’ve invested in both our trans and black, Asian and minority ethnic work.
We’ve a long way to go. We know we’ve made mistakes in the past. We are addressing them. We’d like to support Pride in London to do the same.
As a cis lesbian I also want to condemn in the strongest terms the actions of the people yesterday who claim to represent me. These people have deserted the fight for LGBT equality, they have no place at Pride.
Be an active, fierce ally.
I applaud the cis lesbians and all those who have also spoken of their disgust at yesterday’s action. Please continue to Come Out For Trans Equality. Be an active, fierce ally. Show up and we will win this fight. Together we are stronger.