This week on “What Did You Do This Weekend” we spoke to @sammoirsmith, Trans Activist, Scholar, Inclusion Consultant and Model who took part in Trans Pride in London last Saturday.
“Protect Trans Youth! Protect Trans Women! Trans Rights are Human Rights!
“Stepping off the tube at Hyde Park Corner, myself, my girlfriend and a few mates exchanged confused and surprised glances as we saw a substantial queue for the escalator heading towards the Hyde Park exit. Since all but one of us are queer, we knew pretty quickly that the rest of these people were too, taken by their colourful floral print clothing, dyed hair or assless chaps. It was clear we were all headed to the same event, the second official Trans Pride in London.
Arriving at Wellington Arch, the startpoint for the march, I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes. Hundreds of people had turned up. As far as I could see, makeshift signs with ‘Trans Rights Now’ waved as people cheered and laughed, eager for the start of the march. Drums booming in the background notified the crowd that the march would be beginning soon, and the anticipation to get moving could be felt in the air.
Some of the friends who came with me are also trans men, and we all became instantly overwhelmed by the number of people out here to support us and the community. See, it’s been an especially exhausting and debilitating year for trans people and our rights. Constant onslaught from the biggest and most powerful British media, court cases deciding to take healthcare away from trans youth, and an astonishing amount of misinformation spread online are only a few of the most significant issues.
Yet looking around, there was no opposition. No red-faced, shouty TERFs denying our existence whilst we stood in front of them. No placards bouncing insults in the sky above our heads. Not even that much of a police presence. Instead, I saw my community united by a sense of agency.
As the march started, I found myself right at the front. Unfortunately, I had grossly underestimated how emotional this would be, and spent the first 10 minutes trying not to get choked up by the sheer volume of people shouting ‘Trans Rights Are Human Rights!’ behind me. Turning round to capture a picture of the moment, I stopped in my tracks. The hundreds of people I had seen at Wellington Arch had transformed into at least two thousand people. Making our way towards Soho, people on the street applauded and cheered along with us. It was a very strange feeling making myself so publicly visible as a trans person since I spend so much of my time hoping to avoid violence, but this moment was extraordinary and I have never felt so empowered.
I truly hope that the turnout yesterday makes an impact on our ability to have our voices heard. Too often trans lives are held in the hands of cisgender gatekeepers, deciding what is right for us and how we should live our lives. We need more of our opinions voiced for a change. Listen to trans people when it comes to their needs. For everyone who came out to support us, thank you so much.”