PRESS RELEASE 22 JUNE 2009
MEMBERS VOTE TO LIFT PRIDE BOYCOTT
Two TransLondon organisers attended an open meeting hosted by Pride London’s representative for the trans community on Saturday 6th of June. At that meeting, it became clear that Pride London has been listening to the concerns expressed by members of TransLondon and other LGBT groups.
In particular, Pride London’s representative explained the following changes of policy:
- trans people will not be expected to participate in a “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” style float. Pride London is planning an open top bus instead and will allow individual participants to decide on their own mode of dress. Trans groups may nominate people to ride on the bus, but written applications would have to be made as usual.
- there will be no “cordon of stewards 'for our own protection'” around the trans marching groups. As is required by health and safety regulations, there must be the usual four “wheel stewards” at the corners of all buses.
- the toilets in Trafalgar Square will be unisex this year and security steward will not be permitted to decide who may or may not use the toilets.
- Pride London’s representative has planned a flagged stall in Trafalgar Square to act as a focal point for trans attendees after the parade. Trans groups may put their literature on this stall.
- while Pride London have not been able to arrange any trans performers for the main stage this year, it is planned that a trans person will be making a speech on the subject of the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
TransLondon held a meeting on Tuesday 16 June, where members were informed about Pride London’s change of policy. While there are still concerns about Pride London’s lack of accountability and consultation, members were generally pleased that Pride London would no longer be dictating the terms of trans people’s attendance at Pride this year and voted to overturn TransLondon’s boycott.
The details of the votes were:
Should TransLondon end the boycott of this year’s Pride?
- boycott 28%
- attend the march under protest 48%
- attend and not protest 0%
- abstain 24%
Result: after discussion, it was agreed that TransLondon members would march at Pride but that we should make Pride London aware that we would like them to review their processes of consultation, decision making and accountability.
Should members take the TransLondon banner to this year’s Pride march?
- yes 42%
- no 10%
- abstain 46%
Result: after discussion, it was agreed to take TransLondon’s banner to the march but not to associate it with the ‘official’ Pride trans presence.
Should TransLondon attend the Trafalgar Square Rally or go for a picnic instead:
- attend the Pride Rally in Trafalgar Square 0%
- go for a picnic 76%
- abstain 24%
Result: it was agreed that TransLondon members preferred to go for a picnic instead of attend the official Pride Rally in Trafalgar Square.
The following day, two TransLondon organisers attended the annual meeting of trans groups at City Hall. At that meeting, they explained that member’s original objections concerning Pride London’s lack of accountability, consultation and transparent decision-making processes still remained but that we have been sufficiently encouraged by Pride London’s revised policies to lift TransLondon’s boycott.
TransLondon would like to make it clear that we support the intentions behind Pride events. For trans people, Pride must be a safe space where we are accepted for who we are and how we choose to present ourselves. The boycott has been lifted now that Pride London has revised its policies. We hope that Pride London will not make the same mistakes next year and look forward to engaging in an open consultation and decision-making process in a timely way regarding the participation of trans people in next year’s Pride event. TransLondon hopes that it is recognised that we made our concerns known in a peaceful and democratic way and that we always sought to be good-natured in asserting our rights.
Personally, I wholly endorse all of this - Pride's behaviour, including claiming at the GLA trans caucus last week that all of this was the work of a small group of agitators, has been a slap in the face to me personally, given the promises they made at the point where I accepted their apology. I feel that I argued for accomodation at that point, and that my good faith was exploited.
Nonetheless, we have to find a way forward that keeps our self-respect as a community without making us look utterly unreasonable. And this would seem to be it.