Fun, impressive, exciting, inspiring – but Pride London still has a way to go if it wants to bring the transgender community back into the fold, writes Jane Fae.
Trans was most certainly there. Journalist and activist Roz Kaveney flew the flag for the community – both those who with us now, and those who have passed on since the heady early days of Pride – by walking with the contingent at the front of the procession. Sadly, a minor organisational cock-up meant she did not speak in Trafalgar Square later in the day.
Transvestite and transsexual supporters of the event were also highly visible as part of the many groups walking the route from Baker Street to Trafalgar Square. One trans walking group boasted banners from Trans London and Press for Change. There was a good showing too from the female to male trans side, with their own group well-represented on the parade.
The official presence, however, remained seriously understated compared to the trans presence in other events on the LGBT calendar.
Activist Natascha Kennedy spoke of her regret at what she felt was a continuing rift and told us: “There ought to be some kind of ‘clear the air’ meeting between trans people and representatives of the gay community.”
Two years ago, Pride saw the unfortunate and highly publicised ‘toiletgate’ when trans marchers were denied access to toilets by Pride security staff. According to Natascha, that could have been smoothed over. Instead, friction continued at last year’s Pride.
She said: “Instead of asking us what we wanted and giving us the chance to develop our own ideas, Pride basically imposed a ‘trans representative’ on us”.
She claimed that Pride organisers wanted to impose a “stereotyped” vision on trans people which “seemed to lean towards drag rather than us as we really are”.
As a result, Natascha believes many trans people have since decided to boycott Pride.
Roz Kaveney was more positive about the event, putting her own absence from the stage down to accident.
Nonetheless, she feels that it remains crucial that there should be reps from the trans and bi communities on stage and speaking. Let’s hope to see progress next year.
Jane Fae’s blog can be found at janefae.wordpress.com