It’s been quite a week, what with being given 5 minutes notice to appear on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday morning, giving a number of briefings, attending the Mayor of London’s Pride party and a reception at 10 Downing Street. The last major event of the week for me was marching at London Pride for the first time.
Another Shameful Pride?
One of the big findings from the Government’s LGBT Survey published this week was that a large number of LGBT people “self-censor”, in that we frequently calculate risk in situations that straight cis people simply don’t think about. The civil servant announcing this finding gave his own examples.
London Pride is not without incident. In the past trans women have been barred from women’s facilities. And it’s a weird mixture of protest and celebration.
But going into London on the train, I realised that I was also apprehensive, because I thought it was likely that there would be protests about trans people being included. I wasn’t keen on being involved in confrontation.
As we waited on the baking tarmac near BBC Broadcasting House, news filtered through of a sit down protest by a small number of anti-trans women, protesting that transition was equivalent of conversion therapy – a nod to Government’s announcement on Tuesday that they were intending to ban conversion therapy for LGB (and hopefully T) people -implicitly wanting to “ban trans people”.
My first London Pride, meant to be an inclusive event, was being hijacked by people telling me I shouldn’t be there. I chair one of the main LGBT charities, and I was being made unwelcome, as were other trans people, by a handful of people who were apparently getting special treatment from the organisers.
Apparently people “encouraging” others to be trans (as if such a thing was possible, let alone desirable) is erasing lesbians. No mention of the erasure of trans men by applying social pressure to label them lesbian. Also no understanding of what conversion therapy actually is.
Those around me rallied round and I felt super-included by members of my political party, and the crowd was loud, noisy and supportive. And people will always protest, and be hateful. However London Pride appears to have facilitated this in some way, and that is shameful.