Protestors Anti-Trans Demonstration Did Not Stop "The Joy and Love" at London Pride 2018

Bonnie Evie Gifford
By Bonnie Evie Gifford,
updated on May 15, 2019

Protestors Anti-Trans Demonstration Did Not Stop "The Joy and Love" at London Pride 2018

A small group of anti-trans activists forced their way to the front of the London Pride 2018 parade to vocalise opposition to changes to the Gender Recognition Act, highlight perceived attacks from the trans movement, and promote lesbian separation from the LGBT+ movement

An anti-trans group walked ahead of London Pride march celebrations last weekend. The small group of anti-transgender campaigners reportedly forced their way to the front of the March, laying down to block the procession.

London Pride March 2018, originally set to be led by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and NHS staff, was instead led by a group of eight to 10 women who reportedly made their way to the front of the procession with no move from security or police to stop or remove them.

So this year #LondonPride was opened by a bunch of lesbian activists protesting lesbian erasure. Without permission went to the front, blocked the parade for 10 mins, garnering lots of attention.
Then led at the front giving out literature (see copies). What a coup! #GetTheLOut

— Jen Isaacson ☀️ (@isacsohn) July 7, 2018

Pride in London went on to issue a formal statement the following day, apologising for what happened during the celebrations. Their statement said:

“A group of individuals labelled 'Get The L Out!', who were not a registered parade group, forced their way to the front of the parade to stand on the rainbow flag. Their 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.

“We reject what this group stands for. They do not share our values, which are about inclusion and respect and support for the most marginalised parts of our community.
We are proud of our trans volunteers, proud of the trans groups that are in our parade, proud of our trans speakers at events and proud of the trans people who take part in our campaigns and proud of those who cheered even louder for them yesterday.”

Pride in London pointed out that, sadly, they could not forcibly remove protestors as their actions were not a criminal offence. However, they did make it clear that they did not allow protestors to march behind the rainbow flag, the official start of the parade as “we did not want to legitimise them or their message.

“Pride goers who were in London told us that the actions of eight people did not stop the joy and love that was demonstrated by the 30,000 people who followed. They tell us that cheers for our trans siblings were even louder.”

Following Saturday’s protests, Pride in London help an urgent meeting with the Community advisory Board, speaking to a number of individuals and groups including trans activists and Stonewall.

Board member Patricia Curtis said:

“It’s disappointing that anti-trans activists decided to hijack the front of a parade, an insult to all the hardworking staff in the NHS whose place they stole. But their vile stunt failed. London is a place that doesn’t tolerate hate. The reaction of the crowds to our groups was inspiring. We felt their support and goodwill all the way from Portland Place to Trafalgar Square.

“Pride must look at what happened and see what lessons need to be learned before next year. We urge all our fellow Londoners to respond to the Government’s consultation on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.”

Kristine Garina, President of European Pride Organisers Association, said:

“The Pride movement was begun by trans people and trans people must always be welcome at Pride. We utterly condemn the transphobic, hateful protestors who blocked the Pride in London Parade yesterday.

“Hate has no place at Pride, and we stand with the organisers who have promised to review what happened to try and ensure it cannot happen again.”

The group, calling themselves ‘Get the L Out’ distributed flyers opporing trans-friendly reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), calling for trans women to be banned from women’s spaces.

The GRA (2004) law governs the process by which trans adults can change the gender on their birth certificate and, if successful, they recieve a new birth certificate. The GRA is applicable for only over 18s, diagnosed with gender dysphoria, who have lived in their ‘acquired gender’ for a minimum of two years, and have provided evidence to support this to a panel of three experts they have never met.

Following at 2016 inquiry by the Women’s and Equalities Committee in 2016, an in-depth review is expected by the government as well as a public consultation into the option to use Statutory Declaration to change gender on a birth certificate (a less challenging, time-consuming, bureaucratic alternative).

The proposed changes to the GRA will only affect the process of changing gender on an individual’s birth certificate. It has no impact on people’s rights to use traditionally gender segregated spaces such as toilets, prisons, changing rooms, women’s refuges, or sporting categorisation. Trans offenders rights to be housed appropriately by their gender and trans individuals rights to have their medical records changed to reflect their gender are both covered by pre-existing guidelines such as the Equality Act 2010, which protects trans rights to use the correct facilities.

MP Maria Miller, former Chair of the UK Parliament Women and Equalities committee spoke earlier this year against the dangerous narrative that trans women are a thread to other women.

“There is no evidence that trans women are a threat to anybody else. If anything, they are the victims of a great deal of hate crime, and very high levels of sexual assault themselves. I have sat down with Rape Crisis, I have sat down Women’s Aid, I’ve sat down with Refuge, and all of them are already incredibly supportive of trans women and the appalling situations they find themselves in.”

A group of anti-trans activists handed out leaflets to “Get The L Out!” to protest and raise awareness of the “increasingly anti-lesbian and misogynistic LGBT movement and erasure of lesbians.”

“We believe that lesbian rights are under attack by the trans movement and we encourage lesbians everywhere to leave the LGBT and form their own independent movement, as well as to be vocal and take action against the proposed changes to the GRA” their handouts proclaimed.

Amongst other claims, the group wrote: “The trans movement with complicity of ‘queer’ LGBT politics is coercing lesbians to have sex with men. We firmly condemn this vicious form of anti-lesbianism disguised as progress. We stand for the rights of lesbians to choose their sexual partners on the basis of their sex not their ‘gender identity’. We condemn any pressure on lesbians... or calling lesbians ‘transphobic’ if they refuse so-called ‘transwomen’ as sexual partners... these threats and name calling are coercive and a manifestation of rape culture."

The group highlighted their opposition of ‘the transition of young lesbians’ calling the decisions of transmen conforming to society’s socially accepted images of women, labelling the “trans movement [as] a conservative movement which reinforces sexist stereotypes.” Their opposition of changes to the GRA were also included, iterating they “view self-identification as a threat to women and girls rights... demand[ing] stronger sex-based protections for women and girls and that women maintain the rights to sex-segregated spaces at the exclusion of male regardless of their identity.”

Many took to twitter to support the #GetTheLOut protest group:

While some praised the group for taking Pride back to its activist roots, rather than the focus on the celebratory, supportive parade it has become in recent years:

Many more spoke out against the minority claiming to speak for the wider lesbian community:

I just want to say this, as a lesbian, as a woman, you “#GetTheLOut” people don’t speak for us. Yes, there is lesbophobia in the lgbt community but we will NOT fucking fight that with transphobia. You want to fuck with my trans sisters you gotta get past me first.

— Noor ☪️☭🇵🇸🇮🇹🧕🏼 (@MuslimMissWorld) July 7, 2018

One twitter user summed up the contradictory nature of the group’s arguments:

Pink News reported there were several altercations between the women protesting and other LGBT people attending the event during the march. Many expressed anger that Pride was visibly being led by a group who seek to exclude trans people.

Calls for CIS female lesbians to stand against the hatred with their trans sisters began filling social media, with the hashtags #LWithTheT and #NotADebate quickly rising.

Others highlighted the crucial role black trans woman Marsha P Johnson played in the creation of pride:

Happiful supports LGBT+ individuals of all orientations, backgrounds, and experiences, including trans individuals. Through our Pride Pledge, we strive to make a lasting, definitive effort to challenge systemic discrimination.

Discover more about gender dysphoria and gender identity disorder from our friends at Counselling Directory. Find out how you can support a loved one as they come out as trans, read counsellor tips on families and gender transition, helping teens transisition: a guide for parents, and tips for transitioning teens.

Learn more about the mental health benefits of calling trans kids by their chosen name.

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