Pride London apologises for trans toilet drama
The Directors of Pride London have said that they deeply regret that some trans people were asked to use a disabled toilet at the festivities in Trafalgar Square.
Trans activist Roz Kearney wrote on her blog:
“Official stewards who were running the toilets at Trafalgar Square announced that I, and any other transgender or transsexual woman, had to use the disabled toilets and was not allowed to use the regular women’s toilets.
“I pointed out to the stewards that I transitioned and had surgery before they were born; I was more polite than a polite thing. No dice.
“I don’t think it was particularly to do with how much I do or don’t pass – I think I got read (sic) in part because I am so tall and turned up in the queue among a particularly short group of lesbians.
“It was one of the most wretched experiences I have had in thirty years, only made positive by the love and solidarity of my community.”
Pride London are investigating the incident “as a matter of urgency.”
Patrick Williams, chair of the stakeholders committee and HR Director of Pride London, said:
“Pride London deeply regret this incident happened and are doing everything within our power to remedy the situation.”
He pointed out that the stewards in question were not Pride volunteers but employees of a company that provides security and paid stewarding.
“We have a clear policy with regard to toilets and usage by trans people, that is a trans woman is clearly allowed to use the women’s toilet and a trans male clearly able to use a male toilet.
“We would never say to any trans person to use the disabled loo as this is clearly illegal.
“The stewarding and security company has adhered to Pride’s policies for their three years of providing additional stewarding at our events, and this is the first complaint we have had over their handling of such an issue in all that time against all the hundreds of staff that they provide.
“The company has assured us that this incident was not how they would normally handle such an issue, and was a genuine mistake. We are working with them to ensure that there is no repetition.
“We have very clear policies regarding equality and expect that all sub-contractors adhere to. This is going to be looked into as a matter of urgency.
“We deeply regret that Roz Kaveney had to endure such an experience at our event, this is deeply regrettable and should never have happened.
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“I publicly apologise on behalf of Pride London to her with regard to this, and we will endeavour to ensure that it never happens in the future with respect to any groups that are a part of our stakeholders forum, or indeed any one attending Pride London’s events.
“When things like this happen it leaves a very distasteful feeling with any person or community who feel that they are being singled out or picked on and this is not what we are about at Pride London.
“We hold very dearly our commitment to equality.
“We accept that in some cases training is important and we are happy to work with any of our contractors with the training of their volunteers in this respect, and we will also include any individual or groups that have an interest with this as well, where appropriate.
“This can involve trans members being called upon to be a part of a training package.
“Pride London has an excellent track record or working with all members of our community, and has in particular a strong record on trans issues.
“This incident has marred a very successful event and lessons have to be and must be learnt from it.”
Official figures released by the police today reveal that 850,000 people were on the streets of the West End during Saturday’s Pride London celebrations, a record turnout.