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Trans-inclusive lesbians lead Pride in London, year after anti-trans protest

Amy Ashenden and Nick Duffy July 6, 2019
L with the T protesters lead the Pride in London parade

L With The T protesters lead the Pride in London parade (Amy Ashenden)

A group of lesbians and queer women showing their support for transgender rights led the 2019 Pride in London march, one year after the same event was hijacked by anti-trans protesters.

The ‘L with the T’ group was among those to lead the parade through London on Saturday (July 6), with a banner featuring an inclusive Pride flag and a transgender flag.

L with the T group lead Pride in London

Protesters carried signs that read “Stop consulting bigots on trans rights,” “support trans kids” and “protect trans lives.”

L With The T protesters lead the Pride in London parade
Protesters at the Pride in London parade (Amy Ashenden)

Groups of bisexual people and gay and queer men also showed their support for trans rights, under ‘B with the T’ and ‘G with the T’ banners.

Trans and non-binary campaigners also formed part of the group at the head of the march, while queer people of colour also joined protesters.

B With The T protesters at the Pride in London parade (Amy Ashenden)

The sight is far removed from 2018’s parade, when a group of anti-transgender protesters forced their way to the head of the march.

The group had distributed anti-trans leaflets under the banner “Get the L Out,” claiming that transgender women are a threat to lesbians.

Pride in London later apologised for the failure to remove the anti-trans activists.

Speaking to PinkNews, L with the T organiser Jules Guaitamacchi said that the protests at Pride in 2018 served as “a snapshot of what the trans community have been experiencing consistently” due to a wave of public transphobia.

They explained: “Last year 232 anti trans articles were published by one media outlet. It seems that the trans community as a minority have little power and its important that allies take a stand in the face of discrimination.”

Guaitamacchi added that the campaign also stands for wider messages of solidarity with queer people of colour, adding: “We know that there were lots of groups lead by trans people and other minority groups that were shoved to the back of the queue, demoted or excluded from the parade.

“L with the T aims to use its power to claim that space, but we should all be standing together. Not one person should be excluded and we stand for the people that couldn’t march with us today.”

Pride in London ‘enhanced’ security after 2018 anti-trans hijack

Organisers took steps to prevent a repeat incident in 2019, implementing tough new security measures.

In the organisation’s impact report, Pride in London co-chair Alison Camps wrote:  “We want to be clear that we do not support those who seek to divide our community; our aim is to create an event that celebrates and is respectful of difference.

“We are especially keen to support those members of our community, such as those who identify as trans, who face growing hostility from all sides, not least from an increasingly hostile media and social media.”

Anti-trans protesters at Pride in London 2018
Anti-trans protesters at Pride in London 2018 (Nick Duffy)

Camps added: “In saying this, it is important for us to explicitly acknowledge and again apologise for the invasion of this year’s Pride in London Parade by anti-trans protesters.

“This was obviously incredibly upsetting for the trans community who were right to be angry at what happened.

“For our volunteers, it was also very difficult. We work hard to create a supportive and friendly environment and the events of this year were a dreadful blow in a year which otherwise marked progress and success on a range of fronts.

“We have learned lessons from what happened, and although there are unique challenges in running an event like ours in a public space, we will be implementing changes to our approach to security in 2019.”

More: Gay, L with the T, LGBT, Pride in London

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