Hundreds protest outside Downing Street after Rishi Sunak’s anti-trans comments

Rishi Sunak during the Conservative Party Conference.

Hundreds of trans activists gathered outside Downing Street this week to protest against comments Rishi Sunak made at the Tory party conference.

Activists from across the UK joined together outside the gates of Number 10 to chant messages of pro-trans solidarity in response to the government’s growing animosity towards the transgender community.

The prime minister received widespread criticism for the party confererce speech he made on 4 October, in which he claimed misgendering trans people is “common sense.”

In the speech, Sunak claimed the British public are being “bullied” into believing “people can be any sex they want to be.”

He went on to say: “A man is a man, and a woman is a woman. That’s just common sense.”

LGBTQ+ rights groups and organisations collectively shamed Sunak, claiming he was using culture wars to distract from the “real social, economic and environmental issues” facing the country.

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In an Instagram post following the speech, LGBTQ+ activist and advocate Jaxon Feeley announced he was organising a day of action in response to the PM’s words, asking people to “do the right thing” by protesting.

“[The protest is] to bring people together, stand together, and show people that there is support and there are people who care, and to hopefully get our message across as far [and] wide as possible.

“If you consider yourself an ally in any way shape or form, then please come and support because that is what the country needs,” he wrote.

“The country needs to know and feel that people understand and people know [that there is support] because the majority of people do.”

Statistics published by YouGov following Sunak’s speech showed that 55 per cent of Britons agree that trans people are valid.

Activists chant

Hundreds of activists and allies heard the message and joined together at 3pm on Wednesday (11 October), holding pro-trans signs and trans Pride flags.

“What do we want? Trans rights. When do we want it? Now,” the crowd chanted.

The chanting lasted more than 90 minutes, with activists holding signs reading “Science stands with us” and “Binary thinking is so dated.”

Days before the protest, Feeley urged attendees to keep the day peaceful and to refrain from “screaming and shouting.”

He added that he didn’t want the protest to feed into the “current narrative” that trans-rights protestors are “angry and aggressive.”

Instead, the protest became a safe space for trans and non-binary people to vent their frustrations at the government’s rhetoric.

One person, who spoke at the protest, said: “I’m just here to say that trans rights are human rights and we will not let them bully us any more.”

Another said: “When trans lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back.”