Love is stronger than Pride

July 7, 2008

On the subject of Pride, which I was, here, sort of – Roz Kaveney blogs here about a rather disgraceful outbreak of rest room panic that she experienced at Pride at the weekend.

Official stewards who were running the toilets at Trafalgar Square announced that I, and any other transgender or transsexual woman, had to use the disabled toilets and was not allowed to use the regular women’s toilets.

Roz then rounded up a group of other trans people to protest – and the stewards promptly radioed for police backup – “HALP! HALP! OMG! WE’RE BEING ATTACKED BY AN ARMY OF FIERCE TRANNIES! HALP! HALP!” The single police officer who came to the rescue – and who, apparently, was an LGBT liaison officer – said that trans women would only be allowed in if they produced their Gender Recognition Certificates! I mean, seriously, wtf???

Bit of a tactical error pulling a stunt like that on Roz, though – she had been involved in drafting the Act and knew full well that it did not take away rights that existed before it.

The whole sorry tale is over at Roz’ blog – and if you click over to Rebecca’s blog, she has kindly provided the contact details for Pride London. Time to start emailng…

As the saying goes: It’s always about the rest rooms, isn’t it?

(Curtsey to Rebecca for the wake-up call)

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Afterthought: Interestingly, at the Trans Community Conference I attended on Friday last, all the toilets were unisex. This was in the Met Police HQ building at Earls Court, btw…

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Later edit: This breathtaking example of discrimination has been recorded by PFC, and there’s also a petition here.

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Further update: Roz has received a “Public Statement on the Incident at the women’s toilet at Pride involving a Trans woman” from a Pride HR Director who has, it seems, been specially appointed (by whom?) to handle this issue.

Link here.

Roz adds that the Met Police are being very helpful – as well they should…

Every day, in every way, I grow more and more cynical about the increasing numbers of arrogant fools who simply presume to know what trans people think and want, without actually bothering to find out for themselves. Talk to us, not at us and maybe you’ll even learn something.

Because, y’know, we’re all just sitting around polishing our nails and plucking our eyebrows while we wait for them to deign to share their superior knowledge of us.

When we’re not too preoccupied with just actually getting through the day in one piece without facing yet more transphobic hate speech, discrimination and all-round harassment from any one of 60 million random passers-by, that is.

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Further, further update: Roz says that the Pride apology is conditionally accepted (link here) – and also that the Westminster Police have issued a press release (link here to the full statement as published at Pink News). She adds that:

We dispute some of the facts in the statement and will make further representations in due course. We are being advised by GALOP on this. We encourage people in London to attend the public meeting on 29th.

The whole thing is an absolute shambles and, as yet, I can find no reason to change my opinion and make plans to attend next year – not that staying away is a particularly useful response, either…

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I wish myself I was back at home
But there’s nothing safe in watching TV

(Lyrics from “Lovers Town Revisited” by Billy Bragg)

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©2008 Helen G

3 Responses to “Love is stronger than Pride”

  1. Winter Says:

    I think some analysis should be done on what this obsession with toilets says about society.

    At an event like Pride with so many genderqueer people in attendance, unisex toilets do seem the sensible way to go because it’s a situation in which the binary gender system (of which gender segregated toilets are a part) has already broken down.

  2. Roz Kaveney Says:

    Interestingly, the National Film Theatre had both gender segregated and unisex loos during the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and were talking about continuing them thereafter…And got attacked for this in The Guardian by – hold your breath for no suprise at all – Julie Bindel, who turns out to be surprisingly a shrinking violet when it comes to toilet space.

  3. Helen G Says:

    Roz: In my opinion, Bindel is a hateful and ignorant bigot. End of.

    Thanks for dropping in, by the way!

    Hope you had a good birthday and that the Pride of loons lions are waking up to their stupidity…

    PS Oh, and I’ve stolen the Lolcats ‘doin it wrong’ image from your LJ- let me know if it’s a problem and I’ll remove it – otherwise who should I credit?


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