Anti-transgender protests mar London Pride march
London’s annual LGBT Pride celebration was hit by anti-transgender protests from a group who forced their way to the front of the parade last Saturday, March 7.
The protestors, identifying themselves as ‘Get The L Out,’ carried anti-transgender signs.
Though the organizers, Pride in London, did not doing anything to stop them, they later condemned the act and offered an apology to the LGBT community.
Radical lesbians lead anti-transgender protests
The group of 8-10 women included themselves in the march without accreditation, with five them lying down on the road in front of the parade and holding a banner that read: “Transactivism erases lesbians.”
The group blocked the parade route for ten minutes, with one activist shouting, “A man who says he’s a lesbian is a rapist.”
Others in their group also had a banner that read: “Lesbian = female homosexual.”
They distributed flyers declaring that “The trans movement is… coercing lesbians to have sex with men. We firmly condemn this vicious form of anti-lesbianism disguised as progress.”
Another protestor said, “Only women can be lesbians. Only women can be lesbians. A man who has surgery can never be a lesbian.”
Sarah Mason, founder of Get The L Out, told GayStarNnews that their group is “a coalition of individual lesbians and feminists.”
Meanwhile, a Get The L Out spokesperson told BBC: “We protested to protect our rights and on behalf of all the lesbians intimidated, threatened, and silenced by the GBT community everywhere.”
Pride allowed anti-transgender protests
The march organizers, Pride in London, allowed the group to stay in the march. However, they later apologized, saying the protestors were “not a registered parade group.”
Pride in London told Gay Star News that: “‘We do not condone their approach and message and hope the actions of a very small number people does not overshadow the messages of the 30,000 people marching today.”
They also said they allowed the protestors to remain in the march because of safety issues: “Given the hot weather and in the interest of the safety for everyone attending today’s event, the parade group was allowed to move ahead.”
“Sadly,we could not forcibly remove the group as their protest was not a criminal offence,” they later told The Guardian.
“We moved them to an area far in front of the official parade start to separate them. We are looking at what we could do differently if something like this happens again,” they noted.
Police and security elements also did not intervene when the protestors disrupted the march.
Reaction to anti-transgender protests
While 30,000 from 500 LGBT groups took part in the London march, almost a million were there to watch, support, and celebrate the march.
Even the London Mayor Sadiq Khan took part in the celebration. In reaction to the protest, Khan told PinkNews that: “Transphobia is never acceptable.”
Meanwhile, Jennie Rigg, the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats chair, said: “I am appalled that transphobic protesters were allowed to lead the march and the crowd asked to cheer them on.”
“This is a betrayal of the thousands marching. The Pride organisers should resign and offer a full apology,” Rigg said.
Members of the LGBT community online expressed dismay at the actions of the anti-transgender protestors, citing the role of transgender women– especially transgender women of color– in the LGBTQ movement.
On Twitter, they noted trans women of color Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, as well as lesbian woman of color Storme DeLarverie, in their role during the Stonewall riots of 1969.
A new hashtag also emerged, #LWithTheT, with a matching slogan: “I’m a cis female lesbian and I support trans rights. Trans women do not erase me. Keep the L with the T.”