Joyful protesters sing and dance the ‘YMCA’ to drown out anti-trans activist Posie Parker

A photo showing trans rights protesters in Glasgow holding placards with messages saying "Lesbians love trans women"

LGBTQ+ people and allies spent upwards of two hours singing and dancing in counter-protest to a rally led by anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen, also known as Posie Parker.

Posie Parker bought her “Let Women Speak” rally to Glasgow’s George Square on Sunday (5 February), where it was met with a counterprotest organised by Scotland-based protest collective Cabaret Against The Hate Speech.

Hundreds showed up to drown out Parker’s event, with a karaoke machine blasting the likes of Lady Gaga, ABBA and Liza Minelli.

Interspersed between “Cabaret”, the “Time Warp”, “I Will Survive” and the “YMCA” were speeches and performances by people affected by Parker’s rhetoric.

This included a reading of a Jewish prayer (Hitler’s Mein Kampf was quoted at a “Let Women Speak” rally in Newcastle last month), a poetry reading and speech by The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a performance by a trans country artist and disability activist and a group rendition of the Industrial Workers of the World solidarity song.

As promised, Furries Against Fascism also came to show their support for the Cabaret group.

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The two groups were separated by police barriers and discouraged from mixing.

On Cabaret’s end of the square, medics, mental health professionals and volunteers for a wellbeing area were there to address any threats, harm or even exhaustion prompted by hate speech.

furry against fascism
Furries Against Fascism came to support the Cabaret’s resistance efforts. (PinkNews)
Members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence address the crowd. (PinkNews)

“I’m a doctor. I’m a trans woman. I want to make sure that everyone is going to be OK,” Hayley, 29, who has volunteered as a medic at protests in the past, told PinkNews. “I’m here to try and help and protect the folks that are here.”

Glaswegians stand – and sing – against ‘imported hate’

Protest-goers were intent that Posie Parker’s rally was not representative of Glasgow’s values.

“We don’t want to see this imported hate that we’re seeing right now,” Beth Douglas, 29, a co-convener of the LGBTQ+ wing of the Scottish Greens, told PinkNews.

Douglas said Parker’s nationwide call for supporters prompted out-of-town travellers to come to Glasgow for Sunday’s rally. She compared this to Cabaret’s counter-protest, which she said was populated by masses of locals.

“These are local people from the local community,” she said. “And I’m very very proud of everyone who’s come along and sang so far, and danced. If I’m looking at both protests, I know which one has the better vibes.”

Douglas co-organised the Edinburgh protest against the Tory government blocking the Scotland gender bill in January, which brought together nearly 400 people.

conga line
Cabaret Against The Hate Speech forms a conga line and sings in Glasgow’s George Square. (PinkNews)

Others echoed Douglas’ pride in local values.

“I love this city so much,” Mousey, 31, a protester who lives in Glasgow, told PinkNews. “It’s disgusting to see this kind of rot creep in.”

“There’s such trans joy in the city,” Hann, 23, who also attended Glasgow’s protest against the gender reform block in January, added.

“There’s a major community here … to see them come in and try to sully that … they can’t. No matter if there’s one trans person here, we will always win.”

Posie Parker counterprotest organisers feel ‘hopeful’

The Cabaret’s spokesperson – remaining anonymous for safety concerns – told PinkNews they felt “empowered, energised and hopeful” after the event, which was the group’s second protest and which they said seemed to match Parker’s crowd in number.

They added that the Cabaret could be called on to show up against any type of hate speech, but they made it clear that the group’s role was simply to facilitate a space for community protest – not to take over as the central voice.

protesters do YMCA
Protesters do the ‘YMCA’. (PinkNews)

“Taking advice from the community, learning from others,” they said. “It’s about supporting the community … we are there to listen, engage and learn.”

The community seemed largely intent on one thing: Queer joy and love are the way forward.

“We love. They will never feel the rich love we do,” Hann said. “They will never see the world in as many colours as we do … Trans joy is authenticity and community. It’s small cells of people just getting by, loving one another, supporting one another, sharing resources and lifting each other up.”

“We will never stop fighting,” she said. “To the last person … to the last of us.”

At one of Posie Parker’s rallies in January, a so-called gender-critical activist was caught on camera quoting Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf in a speech against trans rights.

The rally featured several anti-trans speakers who addressed the crowd, including UK Guild of Hypnosis Practitioners chairperson Lisa Morgan, who said: “I know about language, and I know that this [gestures to counter-protesters] is based on something that we call the big lie. 

“Do you know the big lie? The big lie was first described by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf

“The big lie is such a big lie that ordinary people like us think, ‘Well, that can’t be a lie because I would never tell such a big lie as that. We only lie in small ways.’ 

“The big lie, well there is one big lie going on, and it was begun by men in the early part of the 20th century. It began when they had an erotic fantasy and they decided they were going to sell us the big lie – and what is the big lie? 

“The big lie is that trans women are women. But they’re not, are they? They’re men and we know that.”

The term “big lie” was coined by Hitler in Mein Kampf (My Struggle), and was used to spread horrific propaganda against Jewish people in Nazi Germany. 

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