london pride organisers apologise for the presence of anti-trans groups

An anti-trans organisation pushed their way to the front of the march on Saturday.

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09 July 2018, 10:03am

This weekend tens of thousands of people, both adults and children, LGBTQ and allies, gathered in the scorching hot London temperatures to celebrate Pride. It was a commemoration of togetherness, community and tolerance, but unfortunately not everyone joined in the spirit. In fact, organisers of the annual Pride celebration have been forced to apologise after a group of anti-trans campaigners managed to push their way to the front of the parade and, after a brief protest, were even allowed to lead the march.

The small group of around 10 women took the place previously reserved for London mayor Sadiq Khan. He had been scheduled to lead the march in conjunction with NHS staff, after the country celebrated the National Health Service’s 70th birthday earlier last week. The women, part of the extreme group Get The L Out, carried flyers which accused trans politics of lesbian erasure and misogyny, and argue that the trans men promote the “social transition of lesbians”, even likening trans identity to “nothing more than a form of conversion therapy”.

“This new ‘queer’ LGBT politics thus coerces lesbians to accept the penis as a female organ and promotes heterosexual intercourse between male and female as a form of lesbian sex”, the group, who also carried placards espousing that “transactivism erases lesbians” said. “This is simply a new facet to rape culture and compulsory heterosexuality.”

Because of the heat and safety concerns -- London’s Pride celebration took place on one of the hottest summer days in recent memory, with temperatures reaching 33 degrees by afternoon -- police, security and organisers chose not to intervene and allowed Get The L Out to lead the march -- something for which they have now apologised. “Sadly we could not forcibly remove the group as their protest was not a criminal offence,” Pride organisers said in a statement.

“They demanded to march behind the rainbow flag, which marks the official start of our parade. We did not allow that as we did not want to legitimise them or their message. We moved it to an area far in front of the official parade start to separate them.” The statement goes on to promise: “We are looking at what we could do differently if something like this happens again.”

The presence of anti-trans activists was also condemned by Kristine Garina, President of the European Pride Organisers Association, who pointed out: “The Pride movement was begun by trans people and trans people must always be welcome at Pride. We utterly condemn the transphobic, hateful protestors who blocked the Pride in London Parade yesterday.

“Hate has no place at Pride.”