Despite all of the adversity facing the community, when we arrived at Hyde Park Corner for Trans Pride London this Saturday (26.06.21) it was alive with flags and banners, turning the green space into a rainbow. When we marched down Piccadilly, the crowd stretched so far that you couldn’t see the end of it in either direction. Tens of thousands of people of all genders raised their voices in unison, and chants of ‘Trans rights now!’ echoed across London.
GenderGP had boots on the ground at London Trans Pride 2021. We knew it would be a fun opportunity to celebrate the trans community – and we came away with an overwhelmingly positive sense that things were changing for the better.
The first London Trans Pride took place in 2019, in response to an anti-trans group storming the parade at London Pride. The decision was taken to make a space where trans people could be themselves, without feeling threatened or excluded. What London Trans Pride lacked in terms of the backing and reach of big organisations like Pride in London, it made up for in grassroots energy and passion. This was an affair organised by members of the community for the community. Despite the lack of money or connections the event went ahead successfully and it has gone from strength to strength. What started as a handful of uncertain strangers milling around Wellington Arch has, in just two years, swelled to more than ten thousand people.
A lot has changed in two years. Even besides the pandemic, which has affected everyone worldwide (and had a disproportionate impact on LGBTQ+ people), there has been a crisis precipitating around LGBT rights in Europe. Across the continent we are witnessing ‘backsliding’ on LGBT issues, with transgender people at the heart of it. This is particularly evident in the UK, where we have seen the government drag its heels on essential reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) despite overwhelmingly positive public opinion, and the ruling of Tavistock v Bell (now under appeal) which has blocked access to vital care on the NHS for thousands of young trans people.
Cleo and Rhy from GenderGP joined the crowds to celebrate the community.
The state of trans healthcare in the UK was a common theme at the event. One banner called for better provision of facial feminisation surgery, another pointed out the current lack of phalloplasty services. We were pleased to see information being circulated on how to talk to your GP about bridging hormones, as well as your rights around self-referring to a Gender Identity Clinic (GIC).
This wasn’t a community in despair, this was a moment of solidarity and hope. Once the march reached Soho Square everyone sat down together, shared food and drink, and heard speeches from trans artists and spokespeople like Munroe Bergdorf and Kae Tempest. “Take a second to understand how important this is,” said Bergdorf, “How necessary this is. How beautiful this is.”
GenderGP was formed in response to this necessity. We saw a need for better provision of trans healthcare, and better advocacy for trans people around the world. We are thrilled to see that more and more people are rallying with the trans community, and we know that their voices cannot be ignored. We look forward to the day that London Trans Pride isn’t a protest against the injustices faced by trans people – but a celebration of their victories. Saturday was certainly a movement in that direction, and such an affirming sight to see.
If you have a Pride story you’d like to share, you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you’d like to know more about how GenderGP is working to support trans healthcare in the UK, you can visit our Help Centre or listen to our podcast Q&A.
Photos by Cleo Madeleine