Trans in the City CEO accuses UK government of ‘vendetta’ against trans people at Pride in London

Trans in the City protest banner on July 1, 2023 in London, England. Pride in London is an annual LGBT+ festival and parade held each summer in London. 35,000 people are expected to march this year making the event the largest in London to date. (Footage by Mark Case/Getty Images)

The CEO of Trans in the City has stressed that trans and non-binary people “are not going away” while accusing the UK government of having a “vendetta” against the community.

Bobbi Pickard, who co-founded the trans business inclusion group in 2017, took aim at the Conservative government during an impassioned speech at Pride in London on Saturday (1 July).

While opening proceedings at the event’s newly-introduced Soho Square Stage, which hosted performances by trans and non-binary artists, Pickard highlighted shocking rates of suicide and suicidal ideation within the trans and non-binary community, declaring: “I’m lucky to be here, you’re lucky to be here – because so many trans people aren’t.”

The campaigner urged all LGBTQ+ people to stand up and be counted as she criticised the media and politicians for their ongoing demonisation of the trans and non-binary community, stating: “Being trans is such a blessing. Being trans is beautiful. Being trans is valid. We have these problems because we have a media that gives seven and a half thousand anti-trans stories a year.”

She went on: “We have a government that runs a vendetta against trans and non-binary people. We need to say that enough is enough. We need to stop being politically apathetic. You need to write to your MP, you need to go visit your MPs, you need to complain the the media and tell them “Enough is enough”.”

Pickard concluded: “Trans and non-binary people are valid. We are here. We are not going away. We will be here this year, next year, every f**king year, until they recognise our rights and they give us a place in our society.”

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This year’s Pride in London came with the accompanying campaign, ‘Never March Alone: Championing Trans Allyship, placing trans and non-binary equality firmly at its centre. That mission was firmly on display as members of Trans in the City helped to lead Saturday’s march through the city.

In 2022, PinkNews announced a three-year media partnership with Trans in the City to to further bolster the LGBTQ+ awareness it brings to the global business industry.

Pickard was greeted at the start of the parade route by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who demanded in an interview with PinkNews on the day that prime minister Rishi Sunak apologise over a leaked video showing him mocking trans people. 

Not only has the governing Conservative Party signalled its anti-trans stance on multiple occasions, institutions across the UK have also made things significantly worse for the community.

Statistics show that hate crimes against trans people have risen by 56 per cent over the last year – an increase that several human rights groups have blamed on a mixture of anti-trans coverage in the media and policy from right-wing institutions.

Additionally, a recent UN report highlighted “deep concerns” over the UK’s treatment of LGBTQ+ rights under the Tory government.

In a statement to PinkNews on Monday (3 July), Pickard criticised the media for side-lining trans voices, arguing that trans and non-binary people in the UK currently “exist in a media vacuum”.

“It was such an honour, and huge thanks to Pride in London, to lead the parade and so important for trans and non-binary visibility to share that with other groups such as Not A Phase”, Pickard said.

“The media blackout of trans people continues, with little recognition of the part Trans in the City played on the day, no recognition of the attention, visibility and love we tried to share with every trans and non-binary person on the march route [and] no coverage of the first ever and hugely successful Trans Stage in Soho square, or my speech or other trans and non-binary people’s words.

“At the moment we exist in a media vacuum, we need all our allies to help us fill that with our voices and experience, we need them all to help us.”

More than a million people flocked to the capital over the weekend to celebrate Pride in London, which has been taking place in the city in various forms since 1972.

Controversy hit the event after Just Stop Oil activists blocked the parade route to protest Pride in London’s commercial ties to major corporations. The Met Police confirmed they have charged five people aged 22-68 under the Public Order Act, who have been bailed to attend Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 4 August.

Elsewhere, the cast of Netflix’s hit teen drama Heartstopper continued to win fans after giving the middle finger to anti-LGBTQ+ religious protesters from atop their float during the parade.