Anti-trans protestors hijack London Pride

Image Credit: John Peart (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Pride in London, the non-profit organisation behind the famed annual Pride parade in London, has released a statement condemning the anti-trans group Get The L Out after the group “forced their way to the front of the parade” this Saturday. They reportedly displaced the NHS, who were supposed to march at that point in the parade.

Get The L Out is a self-styled lesbian and feminist group who used the parade to display signs and hand out leaflets which included the statements “we stand for the rights of lesbians to choose their sexual partners on the basis of their sex not their ‘gender identity’” and “the trans movement with the complicity of ‘queer’ LGBT politics is coercing lesbians to have sex with men”. The root of their stance is in the rejection of gender as the basis of identity, the belief that the transition of transgender people should be prevented, and that “transactivism erases lesbians”.

The group also advocated opposition to reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, which are currently in consultation. The Act, introduced in 2004, enabled the legal recognition of a transgender person’s identified gender, but is currently “too bureaucratic, expensive and intrusive”. The upcoming reforms are intended to make the process easier and less harmful for the people using it.

Pride in London’s statement addressed their response to the situation, saying: “[Get The L Out’s] behaviour was shocking and disgusting, and we condemn it completely.

“The lesbian board members at Pride in London made their anger towards the unsanctioned group clear and our organisation as a whole condemns their actions. The protest group showed a level of bigotry, ignorance and hate that is unacceptable.

“[…] Sadly, we could not forcibly remove the group as their protest was not a criminal offence. They demanded to march behind the rainbow flag, which marks the official start of our parade. We did not allow that as we did not want to legitimise them or their message. We moved them to an area far in front of the official parade start to separate them. We are looking at what we could do differently if something like this happens again.”

“We are sorry to any of our trans siblings and their allies who have been affected.”

OU LGBTQ+ Society, Oxford SU LGBTQ+ campaign and Oxford SU Women’s Campaign have released a statement condemning the group’s actions and Pride in London’s response. They said: “We do not consider [Pride in London’s] response good enough; we demand immediate action where it matters, not an apology in hindsight when damage has already been done and trans people’s safety jeopardised. A hate group should under no circumstances have been permitted to march in the parade.

“[…] Being transgender is not a political statement; it is an acceptance of the fact that your gender is different to the one assigned to you at birth. Trans people are welcome in this community; transphobia is not.

“We send our solidarity to any trans people who have been affected, and especially to our fellow trans women-loving-women, to whom we owe so much and should be lifting up, not beating down.”