Anti-trans backlash reaches UK as protesters demand British ‘bathroom ban’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Furore about transgender people using public bathrooms has made it to UK shores – with protesters outside a Parliamentary equalities conference today demanding a bathroom ban.

More than 20 bills have been filed across the United States in recent months attempting to repeal vital LGBT rights protections, purportedly in order to stop transgender women from using the female bathrooms.

Many of the Republican-backed bills actually have wider implications for LGBT equality as they create exemptions from anti-discrimination protections, as do laws passed in North Carolina and Mississippi.

The issue has now landed on UK shores – with a protest outside the Westminster Social Policy Forum on trans issues today, which was hosted by Labour MP Ruth Cadbury and Lib Dem peer Baroness Barker.

The forum was aimed at discussing “how transgender equality issues are dealt with by Whitehall departments and agencies, as well as how they are treated by schools, the NHS and the criminal justice system”, as well as “steps for achieving transgender equality, and how legislation – including the Gender Recognition Act, the Equality Act 2010 and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act – is working for trans people”.

However anti-trans campaigners staged a protest outside the venue, Congress House.

The protesters held signs demanding  “No trans in womens toilets” and “no trans in womens changing rooms” – aping the rhetoric recently seen among the American Hard Right.

Some of the other signs read: “You can’t change biological sex, fact!”, and “lesbian rights are women’s rights. We are not trans”.

Baroness Barker told PinkNews: “I was delighted to chair this important event at which the needs of trans and non binary people were discussed with a wide range of people from government, professional organisations, academia and civil society.

“There was a palpable sense of people from different backgrounds being willing to listen, learn and understand.

“More than ever the LGBT community needs to be supportive and stand together in solidarity. Today, along with cis, straight allies, the majority did.”

The British Humanist Association wrote: “It will be an extremely depressing turn of events if this ridiculous aspect of the US culture wars takes hold over here.”