Trans boycott of Pride London 2009

Pride London May 28th, 2009

London’s largest trans support group has said it will boycott Pride London 2009.

The boycott is a result of breakdown in relations between TransLondon and Pride London, following allegations of discrimination and sexual assualt against trans women at the 2008 Pride, and anger that the 2009 Pride is perpetuating ‘tired and inaccurate’ stereotypes of trans people.

At the 2008 London Pride march a number of trans women were denied access to the women’s toilets by Pride security stewards. One woman was subsequently sexually assaulted after being told to use the male toilets.

Pride London subsequently apologised for the incident, but Roz Kaveney, one of the women targeted in the 2008 ‘ToiletGate’ incident, believes the discrimination against trans women in the 2008 rally was never taken seriously, and that the apology was only made under threat of legal action.

TransLondon’s boycott claims that the 2009 Pride organisers have snubbed the involvement of trans community groups in its decision-making for the parade, resulting in a trans presence that ‘panders to the most tired and inaccurate media stereotypes of trans people.’

The planned trans presence for Pride was for a float at the back of the parade to complement a float at the front of the march with members of the cast of the West End musical ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’.

“Trans women would, in Pride’s vision, be dressed in sequins, high heels and fairy wings and, apparently as an afterthought, a few trans men would be invited to pose in football strips,” said a representative for TransLondon.

“Rather than address the true diversity of the trans community, members of TransLondon felt that participating in such an event would serve only to bolster the kind of negative media stereotypes which portray trans people as ‘the cast of Grease’, and that these undemocratic plans constitute an insult to London’s diverse trans community.”

Christina Alley, co-organiser of TransLondon and elected member of Trans@Pride 2008 added “Volunteers from a dozen trans groups worked incredibly hard for Pride last year.

“Members of TransLondon are extremely disappointed at being betrayed, marginalised and stereotyped in this way by Pride.  Members have made their disappointment clear in a democratic vote to boycott this year’s march and rally.”

Pride London was contacted by Lesbilicious for comment on this issue, but at time of publication had not responded.

TransLondon is keen to hear from other trans groups, allies and any groups from other parts of the LGBTQ community who also feel disenfranchised by Pride London this year and who would like to discuss alternative arrangements for a celebration of the diversity of the LGBTQ community.

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