This year as we mark just over 50 years of that movement, the UK has seen a summer of counter-protests at pride. Though it's something our community is plenty used to, it's usually from people outside the community, not within it.
As we mark just over 50 years of that movement this year, the UK has seen a summer of counter-protests at pride.
Though it's something our community is plenty used to, it's usually from people outside the community, not within it.
Last week, at Pride Cymru in Cardiff, there were anti-trans protests from the group ‘Get The L Out UK’. The group describes itself as a grassroots lesbian feminist activist group. They argue that the only way to end hate against lesbians is to get "the L out of the GBT community."
The group interrupted the parade two-thirds of the way into the route and were moved on by police for "safety reasons" - BBC
As a queer activist for several years, I've seen similar notions raised by all kinds of different LGBTQIA+ people. The themes generally boil down to a concern that if a particular identity is seen to be 'tarred with the same brush’ as the rest of the community, it will impede their progress.
But as history and the very science of communication show us, when we find common ground and unite together, we're much more likely to make progress.
The anti-trans sentiment of ‘Get The L Out’ sits in a much bigger picture. Anti-trans headlines across the UK media are becoming increasingly brazen with their hate. The outgoing PM and both his potential successors have repeated anti-trans dog whistles, normalising this kind of prejudice to millions at home.
This rhetoric is spilling into the streets. Data on hate crimes against LGBTQIA+ released last month showed a 348% rise since 2014-15.
Plus, alongside this protest in Cardiff, the UK's only transgender memorial was irreparably damaged after someone set it alight amid Manchester’s Pride celebrations. It's a scary time for transgender people and all of the LGBTQIA+ community. Because if one of us is in the firing line, we all are.
And these are not the first anti-trans protests led by people in the community. We’ve seen them at other major prides too, including in London.
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No matter who threw the first brick at Stonewall, we must never forget that a pioneering group of trans and gender-diverse queer people booted the modern gay rights movement into overdrive.
To forget that now is an insult to over 50 years of progress, unity and strength. And it’s a lesson that should have stuck with us from day one. But it’s fair to say that our movement has forgotten it many times before.
It’s one of the key arguments these radical voices use. Many queer women, and indeed gender-diverse folk, will quite fairly recount stories of gay men and others with privilege, leading campaigns without thinking about different lived experiences. But to use this as an excuse to exclude another group reeks of hypocrisy.
Young queer folk recognise that when we embrace intersectionalities and trust people’s lived experiences, we get further faster. So no matter what a small, vocal group says, trust in the new queer generation who know; we’re stronger united.
Indeed, I take great solace in the fact that a handful of anti-trans ‘Get The L Out UK’ protestors tried to hold up Pride Cymru while 15,000 marched and drowned them out, screaming, "Trans rights are human rights!"
It’s inherently queer to do something because you’ve been told not to.
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