London Pride is one of the most joyously upbeat celebrations of being queer you could possibly imagine.
During Saturday’s parade – and Sunday’s UK Black Pride celebration – the streets are filled with glitter, amazing colour and queer people proudly being themselves and making their voices heard.
Unlike most days when LGBTQ are afraid to even hold a partner’s hand in public, you’ll find queer people doing whatever they want, wearing whatever they want and snogging whoever they want. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
This year, however, things quickly took a sour turn when a group of so-called TERFs hijacked the beginning of the parade.
The anti-trans protesters carried banners and flyers stating “transactivism erases lesbians” and describing the trans movement as “anti-lesbianism,” according to the Evening Standard.
The protesters crashed the front of the parade, which was supposed to be led by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and were allowed to march uninterrupted until reaching Trafalgar Square.
Questions were immediately asked about why they were allowed to hijack the parade and weren’t removed.
In a statement, Pride in London organisers said: “Every year, Pride is attended by hundreds of thousands of people who demonstrate that Pride still matters.
“Given the hot weather and in the interest of the safety for everyone attending today’s event, the parade group was allowed to move ahead.
“We do not condone their approach and message and hope the actions of a very small number people does not overshadow the messages of the 30,000 people marching today.”
A spokesperson from the Metropolitan Police added: “A small group at the front of the Pride in London parade were dealt with quickly and safely by event organisers at 1pm on Saturday. Police did not need to intervene. No arrests were made.”
Understandably, people were outraged at the anti-trans hostility leading the march.
Model and trans activist Munroe Bergdorf said on Twitter: “TERFs are negatively impacting the mental health, safety, public understanding and livelihoods of British trans people. Something has to be done before the situation spirals out of control. What happened yesterday should have been stopped. Trans lives matter. We matter.”
Stonewall’s Jo Garwood wrote: “Not in my name. Pride started as a riot led by trans women of colour. As a cis lesbian, I want my trans, non binary siblings & everyone who identifies within the trans umbrella to know that I stand with them, today & all days. Sending love & solidarity.”
But what exactly is a TERF?
The term TERF stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. This group essentially believes that by accepting and celebrating trans people, women and lesbians are being sidelined and even erased.
But despite being pretty hateful, one of the most ironic things about the hijacking is that it ignores an important part of LGBTQ history.
The London Pride parade, and parades all around the world, are held in June and July to commemorate the Stonewall riots – the protests in 1969 that initiated the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
And the person who is widely believed to have started the protests was gender non-conforming activist Marsha P. Johnson, who was remembered in a New York Times obituary as a “transgender pioneer.”
We all knew that the movement for LGBTQ rights and equality still has a long way to go - and Saturday’s divisiveness simply proved that.
(Images: Getty / Netflix)