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Trans rights protest at the LGB Alliance conference
Photography Bex Wade

How trans activists and allies disrupted the LGB Alliance Conference

A group of 100 protesters demonstrated against the anti-trans pressure group last week, with the roaring chant: ‘Fascist TERFs off our streets’

Last Thursday (October 21), the LGB Alliance, one of Britain’s loudest anti-trans groups, staged its first annual conference in London. The so-called advocacy group has faced fierce backlash since it was founded in 2019. It claims to “advance the interests of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals”, but focuses most of its attention on attacking trans rights.

The group was granted charity status earlier this year to the anger of LGBTQ+ activists. It has since gone on to make headlines for comparing LGBTQ+ inclusion to beastiality, refusing to denounce its neo-Nazi and homophobic follower base, and has defended working with the anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion Heritage Foundation. 

In case you needed any more proof, the LGB Alliance founder Malcolm Clark spent parts of the conference posing with a JK Rowling cardboard cutout and has previously denounced LGBTQ+ clubs in schools, saying they shouldn’t exist because of “predatory gay teachers”.

With this in mind, LGBTQ+ protesters, including notable figures in the trans community such as artist Daniel Lismore and Loose Woman’s India Willoughby, took to the conference to voice their anger. With crowds ranging from 50 to 100 people at any given time, demonstrators shouted cries of “LGB WITH THE T” and “Fascist TERFs off our streets”. As Dazed photographer Bex Wade reported, “Conference attendees couldn’t seem to pull themselves away from the windows to watch the crowd of protestors outside – a powerful visual metaphor for what many suspect is at the route of their organisation – a love of attention”.

“It is dangerous to legitimise an organisation that deliberately misrepresents trans peoples‘ place within the greater queer community, all the while aligning themselves with far-right groups. Transphobia harms all of us – and policing others’ experience of gender will not benefit lesbian, gay, and bisexual people,” the protest organisers said in a joint statement. 

“An ideology that is predicated upon making an easy scapegoat out of the most vulnerable is not one that can liberate us, and ultimately only serves capitalism and patriarchy. We do not believe that this path will end in anything less than fascism, and the groups that the LGB Alliance has chosen to ally with demonstrates this,” they added.

Below, Dazed speaks to attendees of the protest about why they decided to demonstrate the annual conference and the importance of LGBTQ+ solidarity.

JACKSON, 19

“I’ve come here to protest against the LGB Alliance because they are a hate group that is oppressive. So many of them, as I learned yesterday, aren’t even lesbian, gay, or bisexual. It’s a lot of straight people, straight cis people, who are falsely advertising for this hopeful division of our rights. 

On the sign I made and brought I’ve got images of those in the trans community who have been murdered across the world this year. The people inside that conference think the T doesn’t exist with LGB. But, as the quote on my sign says, ‘Marsha and Sylvia guided us, you divided us’. I think trans people have paved the way for all of us, so it’s awful for them to absolutely betray us within our own community, promoting hate and persecution. I can never sit back and watch this happen.”

GENIE, 25

“I’m just tired. I’m tired of weird types like Graham Linehan who I really think just needs to get over his divorce and he needs to stop taking it out on people. I’m tired of being harassed in the street, I’m tired of not being able to access the healthcare I need, I’m just tired.

The fact that these people have got charity status is an absolute farce. Their whole existence is to funnel money from a sporadic and disparate group of anti-trans entities, verging on actual fascists and just ‘concerned parents’ who have had their interest in their child’s welfare usurped by a narrative of just nonsense. There’s so much coercion and destruction behind them. I think what we’ve got is a weird and uncomfortable coalition between people who wouldn’t otherwise be talking to each other, with a lot of money from known fascist groups. It’s just a bit weird that we’re even giving them credence and charitable status, given that every LGBTQ+ community charity in the country have said that they shouldn’t have it and that they are not supportive of queer people at all.”

KEL, 40

“I’m here from ‘Pride in Surrey’ and I want the LGB Alliance to know that there is no Pride without the T. It’s an exclusionary hate group as far as we’re concerned. We are an all-inclusive pride, we support our trans siblings. As a queer person myself, I know that we didn’t fight for our rights for 50 years to pull the ladder up behind us. So I’m going to continue to fight for equal rights for everybody.”

MARTINA, 21

“The LGB Alliance is spreading a harmful and violent discourse about trans people. As a community we are supposed to stick together. They are spreading these false narratives of how trans people are a threat to our community, when actually they are the people who are under threat from violence or death. They are the ones who are being killed and discriminated against in the street. This is why it’s important to come here and support, standing in solidarity with the trans community. The T is part of LGBTQ and there’s no way we can exclude them. Historically, trans people have led the movement for queer liberation and yet they have always been marginalised and silenced by cis gay men. It’s important that we amplify and uplift the trans community, the voices of trans people and their rights.”

INDIA, 55

“I think it’s really important to be here today. I don’t think there’s been a worse time for trans people and people who are gender diverse in the UK. The situation couldn’t really be any more disastrous. I think it’s really important that everybody, whatever strand of trans you come from, actually pulls together at this moment. It’s so disappointing to be outside a government building, with the banners of what I consider (and many trans people consider) to be a hate organisation, flying with government approval. These are people who want to demonise, attack, and block trans people at every opportunity. For me, calling themselves LGB alliance is a false flag, they’re not interested in lesbian, gay, or bisexual people. Every policy, every utterance is to do with trans people, or making our lives more miserable.”

RITA, 45

“Trans communities are being persecuted, this is going on worldwide.  Considering we’re in the west, this shouldn’t be happening. We should have rights. From identity, to being non-binary, having ‘x’ on the passport and not being allowed that, we’re still fighting and it’s a never ending battle.

We’re here today to come in unity, to say to people out there that we are one and not divided. You just can’t have the LGB without the T, we’re all a family. I thought the LGBTQ+ was all one branch, all one people, but it seems now that there are divisions amongst our own.”

DANIEL*

“I’m here today because this is not a political issue, this is a human rights issue. This group is a hate group. I don’t even want to say their name to be honest. They don’t deserve any more than to be silenced. These people are funded by hatred, their money comes from questionable places like the evangelical church who are trying to cripple LGBTQ+ rights. They’re a hate group, they prove that. The Charity Commission have ignored it, they’ve completely ignored it. Someone needs to hold the Charity Commission accountable and the fact that the government are supporting this.

They are led by hate, only hate; misinformation and miseducation. The misinformation that they have been preaching online to people needs to be addressed. There is so much organised hatred behind the scenes. They use bots and it’s been proven. For example, LGB Alliance Saudi Arabia is not real. Generally most of the LGBTQ+ community are against this. This is a very small minority of people with a lot of money behind them. So this proves that money can change human rights situations and it is corruption. It’s corruption by the charity commission, it’s corruption by the government, and it’s all just corrupt.”

*age not given