Flying the flag at London Pride 2013
My first London Pride was a disaster.
Fairly new to the scene, I went to the 2011 event by myself. Hoping to be surrounded by friendly and accepting crowds, instead I was met with aggression and bullying at almost every turn. I would get comments about my appearance from groups of gay men, and one lesbian was so incensed by my presence she forced her way through a crowd to tell me to my face ‘You’re not a woman, and you never will be!’ before storming off.
Pride 2011 remains one of the few times I have experienced transphobia in public. So I was wary of attending this year in case the story was to repeat itself.
Miss Universe contestants always talk of ending war and world hunger. Not one of them has done anything about it
Transgender pride events are virtually non-existent.
Sure, there are pride events worldwide. But all too often the T in these LGBT events are sidelined in favour of more exposure to sexuality. In fact, with the exception of Sparkle in Manchester, the idea of a trans* pride seems to be confined to small self-help groups and inward facing communities.
So opening up my copy of Time Out magazine on the tube on Tuesday, I was happy to see word of a ‘transgender pride’ event here in London, known as London Diamond Transgender Day. Reading the beginning of an interview with organiser Dee Chanelle filled me with hope, where she said:
Trans people don’t have their own Pride event… And we need one, desperately. We’re invisible at Pride. Either that or we’re lumped in with the drag queens. Nobody raises awareness about us.
The simple thought of a trans-exclusive pride day in London got me excited. I’ve always been a believer of the idea that trans people should be open about who we are, celebrate where we’ve come from, and fight for our future. However, further reading showed that LDTD wasn’t so much a celebration of the trans community, but something else entirely.
It’s been well over a month since I moved away from North Wales up to London. It’s certainly a whole world apart from what I’m used to. Every day on the way to work I pass world famous landmarks like the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. From my office, I can see The Shard, the looming skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, and the still rather bizarre looking ‘Gherkin’ (which I still think is a stupid name, and and truth be told looks more like something that’s kinda rude). The diversity I see in the crowds is completely different from the almost whitewash of faces I used to see every day around Chester. It’s a place where straight, white males aren’t necessarily the majority all the time (when I started my job, for example, there was only one guy in the group, and he is Asian. I’m 99% sure he’s straight, though). So really, London is a place where there is everything for everyone.
Well, almost everyone.