Pride in London and the trans community have had a difficult relationship, particularly since 2008’s ‘toiletgate’, but old wounds are healing
|Some trans groups turned their backs on the delegation from charity Stonewall |
at Pride London last year. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
At Pride in London, gay Muslims, Catholics and Jews march together, following chorus bands and classical orchestras, along with boxers and rollergirls, bankers and politicians. But there is one group that has historically felt unwelcome.
Pride has had an uneasy relationship with the trans community. In 2008, trans participants were denied access to toilets by security staff. Some trans groups that marched last year turned their backs at the Stonewall delegation in protest at the group’s then refusal to advocate for trans rights.
This year, animosity is healing and trans groups say for the first time they are starting to feel welcome at Pride.
Trans rights are on the media agenda: reality TV’s Caitlyn Jenner was on the cover of Vanity Fair, Orange Is The New Black’s Laverne Cox has become a global superstar, and in the UK, boxing promoter Kellie Maloney is challenging perceptions about transition. This year’s Pride Power List, which coincides with the march, has a transgender category for the first time.
Most significantly for many, Stonewall’s new chief executive, Ruth Hunt, announced in February that the charity would start working for trans equality, apologising for its past failure to do so.
London-based group TransPals will be marching as an official participant for the first time this year with its sister organisation FTM London. “Pride has changed, this year does feel different,” said the group’s chair Patricia, who said she prefers to be referred to by her first name only.
“I never wanted to go to Pride before last year, which was the first time we marched, and even then we didn’t have a group. We turned our backs on the Stonewall group as they passed, but this time we won’t have any of that.”
This year the atmosphere around trans rights has changed “a heck of a lot”, she said, particularly within the LGBT community. “It feels now we are on the same level, we are working together because we all need the same thing, to live normal lives, to be happy, that’s our common goal.”
Radio presenter Stephanie Hirst, one of the trans people honoured on the 2015 Pride Power list, said she would miss the parade but felt particularly “gutted” because it appears to be a momentous year for trans inclusion. She said: “There’s a real buzz that hasn’t been there in previous years. Trans isn’t a sexuality, I think that’s been a barrier in the past. But Pride is also about being yourself, celebrating who you are.”
Stonewall said it was determined that this year it was not just making efforts to be inclusive at Pride London, but would also make sure it was represented at other upcoming trans-focused events.
Ayaz Manji, the charity’s policy officer, said: “It’s great to see Pride events around the UK making a conscious effort to be more trans inclusive. However, the trans community lives through a number of struggles that lesbian, gay and bisexual people don’t face.
“For this reason, it’s important for us to have trans specific Pride events like [Manchester march] Sparkle and Trans Pride in Brighton.” Stonewall plans to have a presence at both this year as part of its trans-inclusion efforts, he said.
But there is still a lot of healing of the relationship between the gay community and trans people, said Jane Fae, a writer and campaigner on transgender equality. “We are moving at two different speeds, Pride feels like a celebration of rights than have been already won,” she said, describing the trans community as the “poor relation watching our gay cousins go to the ball”.
“We have only been fighting the battle in public for a decade or so, where as the gay struggle has been for half a century. The gay community is now very respectable, there’s the pink pound, and all the big corporations want to be associated with Pride.
“The reality is that we in the trans community have not won our battles yet, there’s a lot of fighting still to do on issues that do not affect the LGB part of the acronym – like medical ones, like unemployment.”
Fae, who has been to several Pride marches in the past, said anger about incidents such as “toiletgate” in 2008 was still raw, and the relationship with Stonewall would take time to rebuild. She said: “I am not entirely positive. I think things will get better, or we may eventually take the decision that we can’t trust the relationship we have with the gay community, and we have to fight our battles alone.”
"The Akashic Circle" – Jul 17, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Religion, The Humanization of God, Benevolent Design, DNA, Akashic Circle, (Old) Souls, Gaia, Indigenous People, Talents, Reincarnation, Genders, Gender Switches, In “between” Gender Change, Gender Confusion, Shift of Human Consciousness, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)
“… Gender Switching
Old souls, let me tell you something. If you are old enough, and many of you are, you have been everything. Do you hear me? All of you. You have been both genders. All of you have been what I will call between genders, and that means that all of you have had gender switches. Do you know what happens when it's time for you to switch a gender? We have discussed it before. You'll have dozens of lifetimes as the same gender. You're used to it. It's comfortable. You cannot conceive of being anything else, yet now it's time to change. It takes approximately three lifetimes for you to get used to it, and in those three lifetimes, you will have what I call "gender confusion."
It isn't confusion at all. It's absolutely normal, yet society often will see it as abnormal. I'm sitting here telling you you've all been through it. All of you. That's what old souls do. It's part of the system. …”