Statement from Pride in London regarding the 2018 protest group

Jul 8, 2018

We are sorry.

Yesterday a group of individuals labelled as “Get The L Out!”, who were not a registered parade group, forced their way to the front of the parade to stand on the rainbow flag. Their behaviour was shocking and disgusting, and we condemn it completely.

The lesbian board members at Pride in London made their anger towards the unsanctioned group clear and our organisation as a whole condemns their actions. The protest group showed a level of bigotry, ignorance and hate that is unacceptable.

We reject what this group stands for. They do not share our values, which are about inclusion and respect and support for the most marginalised parts of our community.

We are proud of our trans volunteers, proud of the trans groups that are in our parade, proud of our trans speakers at events and proud of the trans people who take part in our campaigns and proud of those who cheered even louder for them yesterday.

Sadly, we could not forcibly remove the group as their protest was not a criminal offence. They demanded to march behind the rainbow flag, which marks the official start of our parade. We did not allow that as we did not want to legitimise them or their message.

We moved them to an area far in front of the official parade start to separate them. We are looking at what we could do differently if something like this happens again.

The Pride goers who were in London yesterday told us that the actions of 8 people did not stop the joy and love that was demonstrated by the 30,000 people who followed. They tell us that cheers for our trans siblings were even louder.

We are distraught by the messages and the hurt that has been caused and we held an urgent meeting with the Community Advisory Board this morning. We have also spoken to a number of individuals and groups including trans activists and Stonewall.

As volunteers, we are shocked and appalled by this behaviour, not least because some felt threatened by the protesters. We are treating this extremely seriously and will be reviewing what happened with the Greater London Authority, the Metropolitan Police, Westminster City Council, TfL and continuing to consult with our Community Advisory Board.

We will also be working with groups who have offered support given this issue must be stamped out and we will do everything we can to use our platform for good.

Again, we are sorry to any of our trans siblings and their allies who have been affected.

Additional comments from our community:

A comment from Patricia Curtis, Board Member: TransPALS

“It’s disappointing that anti-trans activists decided to hijack the front of a parade, an insult to all the hardworking staff in the NHS whose place they stole.” “But their vile stunt failed. London is a place that doesn’t tolerate hate. The reaction of the crowds to our groups was inspiring. We felt their support and goodwill all the way from Portland Place to Trafalgar Square. “Pride must look at what happened and see what lessons need to be learned before next year. “We urge all our fellow Londoners to respond to the Government’s consultation on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.”

Kristine Garina, President of European Pride Organisers Association, said:

“The Pride movement was begun by trans people and trans people must always be welcome at Pride. We utterly condemn the transphobic, hateful protestors who blocked the Pride in London Parade yesterday.

Hate has no place at Pride, and we stand with the organisers who have promised to review what happened to try and ensure it cannot happen again.”

A Metropolitan Police Service spokesperson said:

“Pride is a unique event celebrating London's diverse communities, and the Metropolitan Police Service has proudly and fully supported it for many years.

Every year we work closely with the organisers to develop our policing plan and ensure the event is as safe as possible.

On Saturday, the MPS took part in and policed an operation allowing people to enjoy a celebratory event. The Met was aware of the demonstration at the front of the parade and was in liaison with the parade organisers.

The group at the front of the parade did not commit any criminal offences and the role of the police is to facilitate peaceful protests. The group stayed within the law and as such, officers did not make any arrests.”