Trans group boycotts London Pride march

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TransLondon, the largest group in the capital for all trans-identified people, has announced it is boycotting London Pride.

The decision comes after trans women were denied access to female toilets at last year’s Pride and one was allegedly sexually assaulted.

The trans group has also said that an unelected trans representative is forcing “negative media stereotypes” on trans marchers at the parade.

This will be the first year TransLondon has played no part in the London festival.

A TransLondon statement said: “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.”

It added: “Requests for information about funding, how decisions were made and who participated in the decision-making process have been rebuffed.”

The group state that last year, an elected Trans@Pride committee held consultation with “over a dozen groups and hundreds of individuals” on issues such as travel bursaries, artwork and performers.

According to the group, plans to hold a trans float at the back of the parade would “pander to the most tired and inaccurate media stereotypes of trans people”.

It added: “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.”

Sarah Brown, a member of TransLondon, an elected member of Trans@Pride 2008 and co-founder of the London Transfeminist Group said, “If I am to march at Pride, it would be as the lesbian woman I am, not dressed up as a corporate parody”.

Members of TransLondon voted whether to march in the parade, march independently of the official ‘trans’ float, or boycott London Pride altogether.

Option three, to boycott the parade and rally received 65 per cent of the votes cast.

Christina Alley, co-organiser of TransLondon and elected member of Trans@Pride 2008 said, “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.”

Paul Birrell, chairman of Pride London, refuted the organisation’s claims.

He told “Some of the main comments are incorrect.

“Trans@Pride is still running. It has not been shut down and is operating fine.

“A lot of this is misdirected. Christina is unhappy about the direction of this year’s Pride in terms of funding.”

He added: “Regarding the objection to the float, the idea for it came from the trans community. What Christina said is a grotesque parody of what the float actually is. It’s diminishing the hard work put in by the trans community.

“We’re very sorry TransLondon has chosen not to participate this year. We do wish they’ll get back on board and continue to participate in the event.”

Last year, a senior Metropolitan police officer was forced to apologise after a joint report issued by the police and Pride organisers claimed trans attendees had engaged in violence after a trans woman was denied entrance to the female toilets.

After meeting with trans groups, Commander Steve Allen said that “deep upset” had been caused by the initial statement, adding that trans people were “clearly the victims” in the incident.