May 27th, 2009


It's the time of the year when we have a row with Pride...

TransLondon issued a statement Collapse )

I want to use this opportunity to make a personal statement about my own involvement in this decision. As people will be aware, I spent months last autumn trying to get a firm undertaking from London Pride that they would be more sensitive to our concerns; it was never acceptable that trans people be discriminated against at Pride in a way that would not happen anywhere else. Part of the background to my eventual acceptance of Pride's apology, when they finally chose to make it under threat of legal action, was a clear understanding that they try to do better.

None of the assurances that London Pride gave us have been honoured; they appointed a trans worker, but they did so without consultation with the trans community. After what happened, only a completely transparent set of procedures about staff training and resource planning would have been acceptable and there has been no such thing.

It is not acceptable that this year, after such a debacle, Pride decided to exclude TransLondon and other groups from the consultation process until a very late stage, and only after questions were asked at City Hall, and that their trans worker be someone who has expressed publicly her disappointment and disgust with the original protest against the behaviour of the stewards in the Trafalgar Square toilets. It is especially unacceptable that Pride decide to impose on the entire trans community a set of outdated sexist stereotypes - particularly in a year where we have had to make another public protest, against Julie Bindel and Stonewall.

We are not all Priscillas and football players; we are not the cast of Grease. We are trans women and trans men and gender-queers and neutrois and a whole bunch of other people getting on with our lives and expressing our identities in our own individual ways. Our Pride is about our identities; London Pride does not have the right to tell us who we are or should be, any more than Julie Bindel does.

Some people are very unhappy with Diane Taylor, the Pride trans worker, but I think it important not to attack her personally. She has her own perspective on what her job is, even if it is one we reject. It is not necessarily her fault that large parts of the trans community have been excluded from the consultation process - my view is that she has been kept isolated from us as much as deliberately choosing to ignore us.

As to her attitude to Toiletgate, the discussion we had with the Borough Commander of Westminster, in which he showed us CCTV footage which he sincerely believed showed one of the demonstrators assaulting a steward, demonstrates that that footage is open to misinterpretation. (If you look at it carefully, keeping track of the timings, and then look at the other camera angle doing the same thing, it is actually clear that one steward pushed a demonstrator into another steward - from one angle you can see the steward's feet as she steps forward to shove and from the other angle you can see her shoulders as she shoves and her hands on the demonstrator- but if you are told that what you are seeing is an assault by a demonstrator it is easy to miss it.)Diane Taylor's attitude is the result of misunderstanding what she saw.

The important thing is that, after a year in which Pride screwed up royally, they have chosen to be petulant and Not Listen To Us, because we are troublemakers. Last year, some of us worked very hard to make Pride, and trans involvement with Pride, a success, and we deserved and deserve better than to be ignored.

The trouble last year was never of our making.

Trouble? They don't know Trouble.