London Prude organizers are receiving criticism for letting an anti-transgender group lead Saturday’s parade.
A group of about 10 , cwomen marched at the head of the parade, carrying banners reading “Transactivism Erases Lesbians” and distributing anti-trans leaflets, and blocked the parade for a time by lying on the ground until police convinced them to get up and move, The Independent reports. Some observers described the group as TERFs, or trans-exclusionary radical femnists.
Several LGBT oranizations objected to the contingent’s prominent position. Among them was Jennie Rigg, chair of LGBT+ Lib Dems, who tweeted the following:
A statement from our chair, @miss_s_b re @PrideInLondon.
“I am appalled that transphobic protestors were allowed to lead the march and the crowd asked to cheer them on. This is a betrayal of the thousands marching. The Pride organisers should resign and offer a full apology."
— LGBT+ Lib Dems (@LGBTLD) July 7, 2018
The parade was supposed to be led by London Mayor Sadiq Khan and representatives of the National Health Service, which is observing its 70th anniversary. However, Pride organizers said the hot weather caused a shakeup in the parade order.
“Every year, Pride is attended by hundreds of thousands of people who demonstrate that Pride still matters," Pride London's statement read. “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.”
Through a spokesperson, Khan issued a statement to Pink News condemning transphobia. “Pride is about celebrating difference and London’s amazing LGBT+ community,” the statement read. “It’s about showing those round the world that in our great city you can be free to be whoever you want to be and love whoever you want to love. The vast majority of those present at today’s march respected and embraced that and the Mayor condemns the tiny minority who did not. Transphobia is never acceptable.”
The parade was the subject of other controversies as well. Some activists objected to the involvement of corporations, while longtime advocate Peter Tatchell said that limiting the number of parade participants amounted to “discrimination,” The Independent reports. But Pride director Christopher Joell-Deshields said the event was more diverse than it had ever been.