Author Shon Faye celebrates ‘power and talent’ of trans people in rousing Mighty Hoopla speech

Shon Faye

Activist and writer Shon Faye lauded the “power, creativity, and talent” of trans and non-binary performers in a heartfelt speech at pop festival Mighty Hoopla.

The trans author, best known for her 2021 non-fiction book The Transgender Issue, delivered a message of trans liberation to hundreds of attendees at the music festival in Brockwell Park, London, on Sunday (4 June).

“Hoopla is such a special space for so many people not just because of the incredible acts and atmosphere, but because it is a festival that centres the culture, taste and expression of LGBTQ+ people,” Faye said.

“So many of us get to come here and hear artists that shaped our consciousness and tastes before we were allowed to be ourselves in school, work, our family homes.”

The LGBTQ+ community was well represented during the weekend-long festival, with amazing performances from stars including Olly Alexander, Eurovision winner Loreen and Kelly Rowland.

In Shon Faye’s rousing speech, ahead of a performance by Scissor Sisters star Jake Shears, she noted that while Mighty Hoopla celebrates the LGBTQ+ community, this year’s Pride Month should be about protest, too.

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After inviting the audience to join her in a “trans power” chant, Faye continued: “Events like Mighty Hoopla wouldn’t be able to work without the power, creativity and talent of trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people.

“In acknowledging their contribution, I need to point out that trans performers, including many who have performed at Mighty Hoopla, have not been experiencing the safety they are entitled to in other festivals,” she said.

“This summer, there have been unprecedented levels of harassment, abuse – and even physical abuse – directed at trans and drag performers.”

The UK is becoming an increasingly hostile place for trans and non-binary individuals, with a rise in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric from politicians and legacy media outlets.

One example of growing anti–LGBTQ+ sentiment is protesting of the Honor Oak Pub in south-east London by members of far-right group Turning Point UK. Protests against the venue’s family-friendly drag events have been attended by GB News host Calvin Robinson and actor-turned-right-wing pundit Laurence Fox.

“Transphobic hate crimes have increased by 56 per cent in the face of a viciously homophobic, transphobic and racist government determined to scapegoat trans people to avoid talking about its own failings,” Shon Faye continued.

“If you are lesbian, gay, bi or some other shade of queer or if you are an ally here today with your friends, I ask you please, please ask yourself what you are doing in this moment to stand in solidarity with your trans, gender non-conforming and non-binary siblings.”

As the trans author ended her speech, the audience raised their voices in another cry of “trans power”.

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