Anti-trans group hijacking Pride Cymru ‘drowned out’ by a united LGBTQ+ community

Video footage of Get The L Out members holding up banners at Pride Cymru

Anti-trans demonstrators were all but “drowned out by the shouts of solidarity” from the LGBTQ+ community celebrating Pride Cymru.

On Saturday (27 August), the streets of Cardiff heaved with rainbow flags, handmade signs and tossed confetti for the largest LGBTQ+ event in Wales.

But members of lesbian separatist group Get The L Out UK gatecrashed the march, holding banners reading “Lesbian, not queer,” “TransActivism Erases Lesbians” and: “Lesbians Don’t Like Penises.”

Mobile phone footage showed South Wales Police asking the around dozen counter-protesters to “move to the side” to let Pride-goers continue marching along St Mary Street. The group, police said, were trying to block Pride Cymru to put it to a grinding halt.

Officers said their presence was causing “confrontations” between them and Pride-goers, with a clip showing a participant shouting “f**k off” to a member of Get The L Out UK.

Predictably, many anti-trans people and groups characterised the incident as a damning indictment of how those opposing trans rights are mistreated. Some claimed Get The L Out UK needed a “police escort” or were arrested.

“The police failed to protect us today,” Get The L Out UK tweeted, adding in another tweet: “Lesbians forced to leave Cardiff Pride. Because they don’t like lesbians.”

But South Wales Police stressed in a statement that officers were simply telling the group to move along. Nothing more, nothing less.

“During the event, officers were required to engage with a small protest group who had assembled themselves on the route to block the procession,” the agency said.

“To ensure no further disruption to the event, officers asked the group to move to an alternative location nearby which they agreed to.

“Officers explained why they needed to move, provided guidance about protecting lawfully and offered to facilitate a lawful protest.

“The group was cooperated and left the area shortly after. Contrary to some social media reports, nobody was arrested or forcibly moved by officers.”

Pride Cymru saw thousands of people march from Queen street to St Mary Street before passing the castle on its way to City Hall for a ticketed festival.

Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford was among those in attendance, saying in a video: “The importance of the event is to both mark the enormous progress there has been in Wales over recent years but to look ahead as well to struggles still to come.

“No ground for any progressive movement was ever gained without a struggle and while today is a celebration it also marks the sacrifice and the contributions of those who have gone before and sets us on the path to an even more successful future.”

Also in the crowd was 35-year-old Welsh actor and podcaster Scott McGlynn. “I feel disappointed this happened. It’s a day we all come together as the LGBTQ+ community, celebrating Pride together as a family,” he told PinkNews.

As much as Get The L Out’s disruption dealt a blow to the months of organising by Pride Cymru volunteers, Pride is certainly “no place for hate”.

“We stand together within the LGBTQ+ community,” McGlynn added.

This is, after all, what Pride is all about, said Pride Cymru.

“Today’s Pride Cymru parade was all about celebration and LGBTQ+ rights,” said the group’s chair, Gian Molinu, in a statement. “Despite a small group of people interrupting the march, they were drowned out by the shouts of solidarity from the community and spectators.

“There is no place for hate at Pride. And as our parade said today loudly and clearly: ‘Trans rights are human rights.'”