London Trans+ Pride wants trans people to know they are valid ‘as all hell’

A crowd of people hold up a sign reading "trans rights are human rights" during the 2022 Trans+ Pride event in London.

Organisers of London’s upcoming Trans+ Pride protest want every transgender and non-binary person to know they are “valid as f**k”.

The volunteer-driven nonprofit is celebrating its five-year anniversary on Saturday (8 July) during a grassroots protest march through central London.

Starting at 1pm from Trafalgar Square in the UK capital, the march has historically hosted tens of thousands of trans rights activists, LGBTQ+ supporters and allies protesting for trans rights.

Activist and London Trans+ Pride co-volunteer Em Williams told PinkNews that, while the protest is an avenue for the trans community to have their voices heard, it is also about “just people existing”.

“I think there’s something gentler about it in the trans community,” Williams said.

“A lot of us are calling for absolute revolution and anarchy, but there’s also equally valid as hell trans people who just want to sit down with a cup of tea.

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“We are angry, we are furious, we are protesting, the march is a protest through and through, and there’s nothing corporate about it.”

An activist holds up a sign saying "conversion therapy is f**ked up" during the London Trans+ Pride protest.
Members of the community will have the chance to have their voices heard. (Getty)

Launching in 2018, the group has hosted marches annually that have seen more than 30,000 people attend.

This year’s event is expected to attract so many attendees that its usual march route was changed to move through Piccadilly Circus, before leading protesters to Hyde Park.

There, several community speeches are set to take place, where activists can have their voices heard on issues affecting the trans community in 2023.

This year’s march, Williams said, has a particular focus on accessibility for disabled trans activists and volunteers have been doing as much as they can to create a welcoming and accessible march for all.

“At the front of the march, we are having a disabled mobility aid and wheelchair section that will be more spaced out,” Williams said. “That’s where our BSL support and our guided walk support is going to be, because they are going to set the pace.

“We also have designated zones [that are more] chilled out, like the sober, no amplified music spaces.”

Williams recommended those attending ensure they are made aware of safety guidelines and bring water, a map with the designated stopping-off points, and a face mask.

“Bring masks because COVID is still here. It affects everyone, it is a danger to everyone, especially our disabled and immunocompromised community.

“Be aware, be respectful of people’s spaces,” Williams continued. “Bring masks, sunscreen, water, all the kind of classic camping paraphernalia and just whatever you need to look after yourself.”

Why London Trans+ pride is so important right now

For Williams and so many others, London Trans+ Pride is more important than it ever has been due to the sheer volume of anti-trans rhetoric from legacy media, the Conservative government and hate groups.

While members of the community are expected to speak on various subjects, for Williams, it’s the recent controversy around the now-defunct Scottish Gender Reform Recognition bill that remains still fresh in their minds.

“There was so much hope in that,” Williams said. “My brain went ‘if Scotland does it, then England’s going to have to respond’, you know? And I think it’s being so close to people seeing us.

“It’s the being so close that we can taste it, and then it being ripped away and witnessing the silencing of empirical evidence and data of us just existing.”

The committee also acknowledges that, in London Trans+ Pride, there is an opportunity to arm activists with the knowledge that they are not alone, especially in times as trying as these.

“I recognise that, even as a volunteer, I am in a position of power on the committee on the Trans Pride organisations,” Williams said. “I recognise that position of power and what I can do to change things from, you know, the chosen committee at this time, even though it is a bunch of volunteers doing as much as they can with their free time.

“I think that there is a constant drive of human beings who have this much hate fuelled in them which comes from an underlying fear of something being ultimately taken away from them.

“We’ve seen it done for immigrants, we’ve seen it done for Black people, we’ve seen it done for east Asians, we’ve seen it done for people on benefits, for disabled people, and even single working mums – they’ve always got to find a new scapegoat,” Williams continued.

“The trans community have recognised this coming for a very long time, and that’s not even mentioning the intersectional elements of that, you know, with the disabled community or trans single mums. And it’s because of this rhetoric that if [marginalised] people get anything, then something is going to be taken away.

“Actually, it’s focussing attention on the wrong people who aren’t holding the full pie.”

As a final message to the trans people who either can’t make it to the event or will be watching on social media, Williams said: “You are valid as f**k.”

“You are valid as all hell and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I hope that you can be galvanised by these images on social media or what have you. I know that when I can’t get out on a day because, you know, my fatigue or various illnesses, that watching these things on Instagram does give me those dopamine hits and it gives me a hell of a lot of hope”