The group led the parade for a short time, carried signs with anti-trans messages, and handed out leaflets
Distressing reports came through Twitter on Saturday, July 7, that an anti-trans activist group made their presence known at the Pride in London parade. Even more troubling, it seems that the group somehow managed to take over the parade, leading the marchers for a portion of the day and handing out leaflets with anti-trans messages to parade attendees.
Among the first to report on the incident was LGBT+ outlet Pink News. Their report doesn’t provide a name for the group but notes that the group was comprised of approximately 10 activists. It was not confirmed how the activists identified (although Pink News claims they were women), but one of the many messages they share via a parade sign was that “transactivism erases lesbians” while some members of the group commented to Pink News that they are “against transgender” people and wanted transgender people banned from using the toilets ostensibly aligned with their gender identity.
It appears the group may not have even registered ahead of the parade, implying instead that they showed up and infiltrated the event. Worse still, the group somehow took over as leaders of the parade with no intervention from parade organisers Pride in London (reports indicate parade directors actually approved the group could march after they showed up) or the police. This shouldn’t have been the case as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was scheduled to lead the parade alongside the NHS as part of the institution’s 70th anniversary.
One of the most upsetting parts of this entire incident comes from the Twitter account of LGBT+ Lib Dems, who reported that at one point, parade attendees were being encouraged to cheer on the group with the message “Make some noise, jump up and down, screams and shouts!” as they made their way down the parade route. It’s unclear how many parade attendees actually cheered that message.
Pride in London posted lots of photos to their Twitter account on Saturday, but they didn’t post any of the anti-trans activist group. After the parade, they released an official statement confirming they were aware of the group’s presence and chose to allow them to march. In a statement tweeted out by Pink News reporter Nick Duffy, a Pride in London spokesperson said, “Every year, Pride is attended by hundreds of thousands of people who demonstrate that Pride still matters. Given the hot weather and in the interest of the safety for everyone attending today’s event, the parade group was allowed to move ahead. We do not condone their approach and message and hope the actions of a very small number of people does not overshadow the messages of 30,000 people marching today.”
Watching video via @PinkNews. It’s true, @PrideInLondon are letting transphobic protesters lead their march. Reminiscent of disgusting scenes in 2008 when Pride banned trans people from the toilets.— LGBT+ Lib Dems (@LGBTLD) July 7, 2018
Live image of transphobes disrupting Pride in London, via @PinkNewspic.twitter.com/Ij8D48sxIa— LGBT+ Lib Dems (@LGBTLD) July 7, 2018
Once again, @PrideInLondon are letting transphobes lead the march. Apparently no attempt being made to remove them.— LGBT+ Lib Dems (@LGBTLD) July 7, 2018
Pride in London parade being led by anti trans hate protestors. No action being taken to remove them. Crowd cheering them as they hand out hate literature. @PrideInLondon need to get a handle on this now.— LGBT+ Lib Dems (@LGBTLD) July 7, 2018
Now @PinkNews reporting that after negotiations with @PrideInLondon directors, anti trans hate group being allowed to lead the parade.@PinkNews interviewing these women. They want trans people banned from places like toilets. “We are against transgender” pic.twitter.com/ZPczf4gfsO— LGBT+ Lib Dems (@LGBTLD) July 7, 2018
“Make some noise, jump up and down, screams and shouts!” - @PrideInLondon encouraging the crowd to cheer the transphobes over the PA system. Utterly shocking.— LGBT+ Lib Dems (@LGBTLD) July 7, 2018
BREAKING: @PrideInLondon organisers admit they decided to allow anti-trans protesters to lead the parade, “in the interest of safety”. pic.twitter.com/Gt3gHVpZa6— Nick M Duffy (@NickMDuffy) July 7, 2018