Brighton sees biggest ever turnout for 10th anniversary Trans Pride: ‘A beacon of hope’

Brighton Trans Pride

More than 30,000 people took to the streets of Brighton to march for equal rights and celebrate trans joy at the city’s annual Trans Pride.

On Saturday (15 July), the East Sussex seaside resort saw the biggest ever turnout for the 10th anniversary of Brighton Trans Pride, which one of the event’s co-founders described as “a beacon of hope”.

Fox Fisher, co-founder and trustee of Trans Pride Brighton, told PinkNews the weekend’s events were “the essence of our resilience, our courage, and our determination, to step into a more inclusive and diverse world”.

Organisers had expected between 5,000 to 10,000 people to attend, after a yellow weather warning for wind and rain meant they had to make a last minute change to the march route, but at least three times that number turned out on the day. Last year’s march saw 20,000 attendees.

More than 30,000 people marched for trans rights and to celebrate trans joy at Trans Pride in Brighton on Saturday (15 July). (Sharon Kilgannon)

On Friday (14 July), Trans Pride Brighton organisers explained on social media that the march route had been changed due to extreme weather concerns and shared that organisation was struggling financially.

The official Twitter account for Trans Pride Brighton posted: “As many of you know, we suffered significant financial losses this year so a low turnout poses a threat to Trans Pride Brighton’s future … if you planned to attend tomorrow please do show up and support regardless of venue.”

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And show up people did, with a record-breaking number of attendees coming together to march for trans equality, including beloved comedian Suzy Eddie Izzard, who shared a selfie from the crowd.

Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas spoke at the event, and Green councillors Raphael Hill and Siân Berry were also in attendance, along with representatives from the Brighton and Hove Labour Party.

Cllr Hill, Brighton and Hove’s first openly trans councillor, told PA news agency that Trans Pride in particularly important in the “current political climate”, where the trans community feels treated as a “political issue” and a “problem”.

“We are people, we deserve rights and have feelings the same as anyone else,” Hill added.

Trans Pride Brighton is Europe’s first and largest Trans Pride event, first held in 2013 because “we knew we wanted to help form a community”. Fisher told PinkNews that the founders have “succeeded in this”.

Fisher stressed the importance of trans joy at a time “when the rights of our community are under threat”. They described Brighton Trans Pride as “our response to those who seek to erase us, a powerful defiance that challenges their negative narratives”.

“It is a celebration of our milestones, the recognition of our struggles, and the envisioning of a brighter future,” Fisher continued.

“Above all, trans joy is about unity. It is about standing together, holding each other up, and supporting our most vulnerable members. It is about the power of community, the magic of solidarity, and the beauty of diversity.”

The 2023 festivities kicked off on Thursday (13 July) with the 10th Annual Trans Pride Film Screening, curated by Fisher at My Genderation. This was followed by a 10th anniversary fundraising gala on Friday, featuring performances from Drag Race UK stars Cheddar Gorgeous and Dakota Schiffer, as well as Drag Queen Story Hour host Aida H Dee, cabaret star Alexa Vox and comedians Bethany Black and Jordan Gray.

Saturday’s live performances were moved inside due to predicted weather. Fisher told PinkNews that the committee’s flexibility in coming up with an alternative plan rather than cancelling the event, was an example of “how resilient we are as trans people”.

“The changes to the original plan meant that we marched right through the centre of town, which felt incredibly powerful,” Fisher shared.

“Instead of the park event, we re-directed people to five venues, which all stepped up to accommodate us including the Brighton Dome, The Queery, the Ledward Centre and The Actors who all offered their space for free.

“For me, this is what Trans Pride is all about – resilience, perseverance and grass roots community-building. The feeling of marching at Trans Pride in Brighton is of pure joy and togetherness.”

Due to a fire at the Royal Albion Hotel on the seafront, which was attended by fire services just before 5:30pm on Saturday, Trans Pride Brighton shared that the decision had been made “with heavy hearts” to cancel Sunday’s beach party event for safety reasons.

Trans Pride organisers also shared on social media that they were helping to relocated people displaced by the fire.

According to The Guardian, firefighters confirmed that no one was injured in the blaze.