Pride in the city

There were some beautiful scenes in London yesterday when an estimated 22,000 people marched for Trans Pride. That number is absolutely astonishing: the crowd easily filled Trafalgar Square, and I saw lots of Pride veterans posting that the first London Prides – which were attended by people from the entire LGBT+ community, not just the trans and non-binary contingent – were much smaller.

I wrote about Pride and its importance for the closeted and newly out in my book:

When you’ve spent decades being ashamed of who you are there is something profoundly liberating and energising about standing among thousands of people just like you for the very first time.

And this particular Pride was an interesting contrast to the more commercial Pride event with its various corporations pridewashing their brands: where London Pride wants to be a highly profitable party, Trans Pride was a protest. A beautiful, joyful protest, but a protest nonetheless: a protest against the politicians who want to reduce our rights, and the newspapers that play the tune they dance to. And the sheer scale of that protest makes it very clear that despite the best efforts of the worst people, we are here and we aren’t going anywhere.

It’s interesting to compare the images from yesterday with the images from any of the anti-trans rallies held around the country, rallies where despite having the full-throated support of the media and bussing in people from all over the country the numbers are always laughably small.

The bigots may be loud and some of them may have friends in the media. But as Trans Pride demonstrated, there are many more of us, and we have many more friends.

The anti-trans goons are the real-world equivalent of the people who buy blue tick accounts on Twitter to ensure that while they have nothing of value to say, people are forced to hear it anyway. Or maybe a better comparison is the man with the mic I saw on my way to Glasgow Pride:

I was amused rather than appalled by the bible guy preaching eternal damnation through a megaphone as I clumped past him, his face as clenched as the fist holding his microphone. 5,000 marchers, 50,000 supporters, Irish popsters B*Witched and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon were getting ready to show that he was on the wrong side of history.

Then again, perhaps not – because unlike the preacher, these people prefer to shout their slurs from the safety of their sitting rooms. It’s a lot easier to shout at crowds when you know the crowds can’t shout back.