Home Youth activism How to be a better trans ally, say people at trans rights protest

How to be a better trans ally, say people at trans rights protest


Protesters in London. Photo: VV Shots / Alamy Stock Photo

From a scene outside Downing Street, 14-year-old Kate Gee addressed the crowd: “I think people don’t remember that the views of transphobic teens are mostly driven by the ignorance of their children. parents.

Last Friday, the young and proud trans girl joined a host of speakers and hundreds of people to protest the UK government’s failure to protect LGBTQ + people.

For intersex people, this would mean that it would be illegal to perform “corrective” surgeries on minors. For trans + people, end three to five year wait times for health care and provide care for those under 18. For gender non-conforming people, that would mean banning conversion therapy as promised and with no exceptions. Overall, the protesters also called for adequate training from government officials to healthcare professionals on the right to equal treatment.

We spoke to one of the organizers and some of the protesters about why they chose to be there.

What happened to the trans rights protest in Downing Street last weekend

Felix. Photo: Heather Glazzard

Félix, 33 years old

I organized this trans rights protest specifically targeting the government’s failure to protect and enable trans people in the UK.

Things have accumulated over the past four years. One of the biggest issues is the health of trans people and the incredibly dangerous waiting lists. The gender recognition law has not been reformed, trans youth are at risk of not receiving necessary medical care, and so many other issues that it is now difficult to list.

[Cis allies] need a platform for trans people. It is very important for them not only to show up at pride events – when there is going to be a party – but to show up at a protest. Online platform for trans people, write to MPs because, at the end of the day, cis people are the people others listen to.

Events like these always provide a wonderful sense of togetherness that trans people often lack when they are so far apart. Trans people often don’t feel like they have a community. It can help people feel empowered to keep struggling with things like this.

What happened to the trans rights protest in Downing Street last weekend

Rico. Photo: Heather Glazzard

Rico, 29 years old

I’m a black trans man, so I suffer from severe amounts of homophobia and transphobia in the work environment, and I ended up with PTSD. I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t know I shouldn’t be ashamed of who I was. It took me three years to recover. I couldn’t read or write, I couldn’t eat in public places. But today I’m a proud and proud black trans man.

I do not understand how this country can say that it is leading the change. They dissolved the LGBT Advisory Board, which means they think they have the right level of LGBT activism. Having the Secretary of State for International Trade as Minister for Women and Equality implies that Equality is a part-time job. You can’t do part-time diversity. Diversity is not a hobby.

We need someone who understands what communities are trying to work for. How can you have an Equality Minister who votes against social assistance? How can you have an Equalities Minister who, after the biggest civil rights movement in UK history, thinks it’s appropriate to say it’s a hot trend and then publishes a report indicating that racism does not exist in the UK? Liz Truss needs to hand over her role to someone who can do it effectively.

Trans Actual UK has a lot of resources for its allies. If you have five minutes, you can research trans and non-binary history and rights. If you have ten minutes, you can start being a trans, non-binary ally in your workplace. There’s even a free resource where you can update your company’s HR policy and dress codes to make them trans and non-binary. If you have more time, you can also write to your MP.

What happened to the trans rights protest in Downing Street last weekend

Kate. Photo: Heather Glazzard

Kate, 14

While we’ve come a long way in terms of trans acceptance, we still have a hell of a way to go. You only have to look at the people of Downing Street to see what needs to change. But not all political parties provide any kind of clarity for trans people.

I am so lucky to have a parent who supports me. I don’t know what I would do without it, but a lot of people aren’t. We need to support people who are not so fortunate with family.

I think cis people can offer support. They should be kind, respectful and feel free to ask questions. On a personal level, I want people to ask questions, because the more questions people ask, the more people understand. But don’t be aggressive and don’t ask questions you wouldn’t want to be asked.

What happened to the trans rights protest in Downing Street last weekend

Jobe at the trans rights protest, photographed by Heather Glazzard.

Jobé, 34 years old

Some of my friends are transgender. One of my friend’s kids came out last year as transgender and is struggling with that. I’m here for him and my other friends. We all need to support each other – you don’t have to be part of the demographic to support it.

I work for a board, and we’ve always wanted to try to do equality and diversity, but it seems to me that some things are missing from the point of view. We need a good education so that people know what a group represents, not what everyone thinks a group represents.

I myself am a cis person and identify myself as an ally. To be a good ally, if you see someone making a mistake, you correct them and explain how you know it’s wrong. I feel like sometimes a lot of the most important things are the simplest.

What happened to the trans rights protest in Downing Street last weekend

Siân at the trans rights protest, photographed by Heather Glazzard.

Sian, 24 years old

I am here because of the various structural injustices that transgender people face today. Health is particularly bad. I think with the referral rate on appointment between 2016 and 2020, if someone was referred to it now, they wouldn’t be seen for six to 12 years. This waiting time is killing us.

Recently, a consultation on the gender recognition law sparked massive waves of transphobia. But nothing has been done about the fact that if you are married, your spouse can veto your sex change. Nothing has been done about the fact that there is no recognition for non-binary people. It is a horrible situation for trans people in the UK.

In academia we are seeing what I would call scientific transphobia, and this is the same thing we saw with scientific racism back then. Then every day in the media we see more stories and opinion pieces that highlight transphobic narratives and transphobic disinformation.

What happened to the trans rights protest in Downing Street last weekend

James at the trans rights protest, photographed by Heather Glazzard.

Jacques, 27 years old

The government tries to deny us our rights and treat us as secondary human beings.

I have been in medical transition for at least seven years and socially for over ten. I almost got kicked out by my family and we disagreed for a very long time. So it is important to me that the government educates and supports the trans community so that the general population begins to understand that it is just a normal thing. We just want to live like everyone else. We don’t want to abuse anyone. We just want to pee in the toilet.

If you go back to the study of native communities, most of them have this kind of gender, which most people would now call trans or non-binary. He was revered. There is only Western society which is very strictly male and female. [This social model] takes away the beauty of what is trans and what trans people can be.

@heather_glazzard / @p_allingham