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TransLondon to march at Pride ‘under protest’

Jessica Geen June 23, 2009
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TransLondon has said it will rejoin London Pride, although its members will march “under protest”.

The group voted to boycott the event in May after a trans woman was allegedly sexually assaulted last year. The group also said “negative media stereotypes” were being forced on its members.

However, TransLondon has voted to rejoin the event, saying that Pride has now listened to its concerns over dress code, accountability and consultation.

At a meeting on June 16th, 48 per cent of members voted to march under protest. Twenty-eight per cent voted to continue the boycott, while 24 per cent abstained from the vote.

A statement from the group said: “TransLondon would like to make it clear that we support the intentions behind Pride events. For trans people, Pride must be a safe space where we are accepted for who we are and how we choose to present ourselves. The boycott has been lifted now that Pride London has revised its policies.

“We hope that Pride London will not make the same mistakes next year and look forward to engaging in an open consultation and decision-making process in a timely way regarding the participation of trans people in next year’s Pride event. TransLondon hopes that it is recognised that we made our concerns known in a peaceful and democratic way and that we always sought to be good-natured in asserting our rights.”

Instead of a float, there will now be an open-top bus with no dress stipulations. Toilets will now be unisex and toilet attendants will be barred from deciding who can use them.

In response, Pride London chair Paul Birrell said: “I am pleased that TransLondon have removed their boycott and will be joining other trans groups on the Pride parade. Pride London remains an open event for all to participate.

“I understand that the trans group’s initial float idea has been withdrawn after many of the participants were forced to pull out. It is up to the organisers to look at alternatives, and this is not a matter for Pride London.

“Much of what appears to have been discussed – from Pride itself having a trans float, through the claim of a security cordon, and the odd claims that the Priscilla, Queen of the Desert float was trans-focused rather than simply being a West End show – are simply wrong. I am pleased that many of these issues have been cleared up after TransLondon’s attendance at one of Pride London’s trans forums.”

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