On Saturday, 14 September, 2,000 trans+ people and allies marched through central London, making history as the first ever London Trans+ Pride. The day started at Hyde Park Corner and saw a mass of trans+ pride flags and protest signs flood through Piccadilly Circus, down Shaftesbury Avenue, ending in Soho Square for speeches – made in true DIY activist style from a bench reimagined as a stage – by event organiser Lucia Blayke, as well as members of the trans+ and intersex community. Izzy MacCallum spoke on intersex rights, Radam Ridwan on growing up queer and gender non-conforming, Sakeema Crook on her own experience coming out, ending with Travis Alabanza giving an impassioned call to arms to organise as a community in the face of a rising TERF and far-right movement.
Their message of banding together as a community rang true with the crowd and was what I personally consider to be the biggest success of the day: it was a coming together of different and diverse groups of trans+ people, people who might never have met or been in the same space otherwise, into one unified call for pride in our identities and social and legislative change. Bex Day’s portraits from the day for AnOther show this concisely, beautifully and, most of all, organically. Those featured were whoever happened to be milling around Soho Square near Day’s backdrop, they span generations, representing different intersections of transness and other identities, and members of the smaller fragmented communities that exist within our wider community, but presented as an all encompassing whole.
The specific roots of London Trans+ Pride are in nightlife – in a younger community that found each other at Transmissions, in the basement of a nightclub in Dalston on a Monday night. I count myself as part of that community, and, while I’m proud of what we have established there, it is part of trans+ communities’ general tendency to exist in nightlife and after dark. To take it out onto the street on a Saturday afternoon is to open the doors to the countless trans+ people who would never have any connection to or reason to attend Transmissions. London Trans+ Pride’s value is in its reach and its wider appeal. It bridges the gaps in our community, offering a banner under which we can organise and stand strong together regardless of age, interests, the particular kind of trans+ and/or intersex you might be, and the result is a 2,000-strong march that shutdown Piccadilly Circus for an hour on a Saturday.
Travis made the point in their speech that the community isn’t big enough for us to view any one of us as disposable and it’s a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with. If we as trans+ people are going to see the change in the world that we want, that we need in order to make our lives safer and less riddled with institutional transphobia, we need every single one of us to be fighting for that. If we want better education, media representation, healthcare and housing for trans+ people, and an end to deportations that endanger trans+ lives, we need every voice from every community behind us. Whether you’re trans or intersex, a non-binary teenager or a trans person in their fifties, no matter where you’re from London Trans+ Pride needs every single one of you if it’s going to effect change.
Bex Day’s photos from the march show this side of Trans+ Pride in a more succinct way than I can express in words – those photographed are comfortable, relaxed, posing exactly how they want, showing the beautiful difference that exists in our community. Transness is not something narrow, it’s enormous and sprawling, and to have been part of something that begins to see the enormity of transness captured and harnessed towards social change makes me personally proud.
London Trans+ Pride 2020 will be held on September 20, 2020, location to be confirmed.
Photographic assistant: Celine Brekne.