Saturday, 7 July marked London’s official Pride parade. However, a group of anti-trans protestors blocked the parade route, causing an uproar among the broader LGBTI community. Now, Pride in London has released an official statement apologizing for the incident.
A group of eight women carrying signs with slogans such as ‘transactivism erases lesbians’ blocked the parade for about ten minutes. They shouted things like, ‘A man who says he’s a lesbian is a rapist.’
These particular types of lesbian activists are known online as TERFs (or Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists), though they often reject that term. They use ideas of gender essentialism to justify hatred and bigotry directed at trans people, especially trans women.
Pride in London’s apology statement
‘We are sorry,’ Pride in London’s statement regarding the incident reads.
‘Yesterday a group of individuals labelled as “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,’ the statement continues.
‘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.’
‘Sadly, we could not forcibly remove the group as their protest was not a criminal offence. They demanded to march behind the rainbow flag, which marks the official start of our parade. We did not allow that as we did not want to legitimise them or their message,’ the statement explains.
‘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.’
‘The Pride goers who were in London yesterday told us that the actions of 8 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.’
‘We are distraught by the messages and the hurt that has been caused and we held an urgent meeting with the Community Advisory Board this morning. We have also spoken to a number of individuals and groups including trans activists and Stonewall.’
‘As volunteers, we are shocked and appalled by this behaviour, not least because some felt threatened by the protesters. We are treating this extremely seriously and will be reviewing what happened with the Greater London Authority, the Metropolitan Police, Westminster City Council, TfL and continuing to consult with our Community Advisory Board.’
‘We will also be working with groups who have offered support given this issue must be stamped out and we will do everything we can to use our platform for good.’
‘Again, we are sorry to any of our trans siblings and their allies who have been affected.’
After the incident, a group of lesbians put together a video condemning the actions of the protestors.
Using the hashtag #IStandWithTransPeople, lesbians from across the globe came out in support of their trans brothers and sisters.
‘I really need my cis-lesbian sisters to be vocal and take a stand on this! I am proud Black Lesbian socialist and those women and their anti-trans message do not speak for me! #IStandWithTransPeople,’ one Twitter user wrote.
‘Disgusted at the anti-trans protesters hijacking pride. Cis-lesbian comrades please be vocal,’ another Tweeted.