People came out in support of Black Trans Lives Matter across the UK (Twitter/@JoshuaPotash)
Thousands took to the streets of Manchester and London this weekend for peaceful protests in solidarity with Black Trans Lives Matter.
On what would have been the weekend of Pride in London, protesters braved bad weather to honour the UK’s Black transgender community and raise awareness of the heightened rates of violence and prejudice they face.
Among those remembered were the Black trans women Rem’mie Fells and Riah Milton, who were killed in the US earlier this month. Others were closer to home, including the British trans woman Naomi Hersi, who was drugged and murdered by a man at a hotel near Heathrow Airport in 2018.
As requested by organisers, many carried bouquets of flowers in memory of the lives that have been lost.
Protesters in both cities carried banners and placards bearing the messages: “Fight police brutality, fight racism!”, “Fight imperialism!” “Black Trans Lives Matter” and “White silence is violence”.
Supporting beautiful TRANS people who showed up today at London #blacktranslivesmatter demo.
#LDNBLM #blmlondon #blacklivesmatteruk #BLMLDN pic.twitter.com/kh2uGFHuxs
— MaxGor (@max_gor) June 27, 2020
The London march began at Hyde Park Corner and culminated near the statue of former prime minister Winston Churchill in Parliament Square.
In Manchester, demonstrators gathered before the statue of Queen Victoria in Piccadilly Gardens, sheltering under umbrellas in the rain as trans allies and activists gave speeches to the crowd.
As well as opposing systemic racism, protesters raised alarm at the government’s alleged plans to roll back trans rights in the UK by scrapping reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.
Their message was echoed by the Labour MP for Nottingham East, Nadia Whittome, who highlighted the fact that there are still no openly trans MPs in the UK.
“Thousands marched for #BlackTransLivesMatter today, past a Parliament that currently has zero trans MPs and is eroding trans rights when we must urgently extend them,” she wrote on Twitter. “This will change. My inbox is always open to trans people wanting to stand for election.”
Thousands marched for #BlackTransLivesMatter today, past a Parliament that currently has zero trans MPs and is eroding trans rights when we must urgently extend them.
This will change. My inbox is always open to trans people wanting to stand for election. pic.twitter.com/WmyW2MJz08
— Nadia Whittome MP (@NadiaWhittomeMP) June 27, 2020
Members of every major political party – including the Tories – have now condemned the government’s alleged attack on trans rights.
Earlier this month the LGBT+ groups of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, Greens and Alliance parties all issued a joint statement expressing deep concern at the “proposal to place unnecessary restrictions on trans people, hindering their ability to live freely and without fear.”
Further protests in support of the UK trans community are being held in London on July 4. The march will begin at 1pm in Parliament Square.