Laura Kate Dale explains why it’s time to stand up for trans rights

The last time I went to a UK Pride event was Trans Pride Brighton in the summer of 2019. Things were not looking great for the trans community, but there was a sense of solidarity, hope and optimism that filled the streets as we marched along the seaside towards Brunswick Square. We shouted slogans and affirmations at onlookers and it felt like exerting some degree of control over a worrisome situation.

When you’re part of a minority group, there’s power in group solidarity. Being in a crowd of thousands, it is easy to feel like you outnumber those who want to see your rights stripped away, and like things will get better with time and visibility. 

Then, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, putting a halt to in-person Pride celebrations and, with it, a halt to that sense of physical in-person community that Pride events are so good at fostering.

Things have undoubtedly got worse for the trans community in the UK since summer 2019. Transphobia in this country has become louder, more prominent and found more of a foothold in our political system. Healthcare wait times for a first gender identity clinic appointment have ballooned, trans youth have been stripped of healthcare agency, Gender Recognition Act reforms have been drastically minimised and attempts have been made to strip the trans community of the limited rights we have in this country.

The UK currently has an Equalities Minister who is listening to anti-trans hate groups on matters of trans rights, had an LGBT Advisory Panel disbanded for supporting self-ID and has failed to commit to any meaningful change for the trans community. The person in government who should have our backs has actively sided against our fight for rights.

The past two years have seen constant rollbacks for the trans community. In that vacuum without Pride, many of us have found that the part of us that craved pride has been replaced instead with a drive for protest. After a year of staying inside to keep others safe, we’ve grown unwilling to wait for improvement. We need real change.

On 6 August, myself and Felix Fern are organising a Trans Rights Protest outside Downing Street in London. You can read our full list of protest demands here, and learn more about the protest itself here. But put simply, we are fed up with waiting for things to improve and we’re taking our grievances with the current government right to their doorstep.

We are tired of watching the current Conservative government fail to protect trans rights, ignore public support for improving our rights and parroting dangerous misinformation about the trans community.

We are tired of mainstream British media treating trans people like villains, sharing easily debunked lies painting us as dangerous, aggressive rapists or confused children misled into our identities.

We are tired of going through the same struggles the lesbian and gay communities went through decades ago, with people seemingly unable to see the recycled homophobia being repackaged and applied to us.

We are tired of being made to wait years for even basic support, treated like we are mentally ill and having our existence treated as a terrible secret.

We are tired of a small but vocal minority claiming to speak for the entire country when they say trans people are dangerous.

If you want to show your support, whether or not you are trans, we welcome you to join us on 6 August at 1pm outside Downing Street for three hours of speeches from a variety of different perspectives, united in their desire to see things improve for the trans community.

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