All photos: Bex Wade
Trans activists left over 60 bottles of piss outside the offices of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on Friday afternoon to protest the government watchdog’s policy on trans access to public facilities.Masked representatives of the anonymous group Pissed Off Trannies (POT) ceremonially delivered the urine to the EHRC offices in Westminster, London and staged what they described as a “piss-in”.
One member pissed herself in her bejewelled gown, before pouring bottles of urine on herself and the pavement outside the building, all the while shouting: “The EHRC has blood on its hands and piss on its streets”.The activist, speaking to VICE on the condition of anonymity, described the dramatic action as “an extreme version of the public embarrassment that trans people experience on a daily basis, using the toilet that either doesn't fit with their gender or using the one that does, and then facing the backlash of people's judgement”.She added: “The Equality and Human Rights Commission… is more concerned with pushing its transphobic agenda than it is in protecting the civil rights of the people it's meant to serve, which is UK citizens.”VICE World News previously published leaked EHRC guidance to exclude trans people from single-sex spaces, such as bathrooms and changing rooms, unless they possess a Gender Recognition Certificate. POT made a swift exit after the piss-in, leaving behind the bottles of urine and the bewildered and annoyed EHRC security team, who called the police. Over 20 officers subsequently arrived in vans to cordon off the area with police tape.The EHRC is a non-departmental public body responsible for the enforcement of equality legislation in Britain. However, it recently issued guidance advising that excluding trans people from single-sex services and spaces could be considered legal if it is a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. In January, it also advised that the government ban on conversion therapy should not apply to trans conversion therapy.
Nineteen LGBT+ groups, including Stonewall, have also called on the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions to strip the EHRC of its A-rating as a human rights body.A previous VICE World News exclusive revealed that multiple staff have quit the equality and human rights body, citing an “anti-LGBT culture” adopted by senior leaders. The EHRC has denied that the organisation or its senior leaders are anti-trans.POT say that they are inspired by the tradition of 70s and 80s ‘zaps’ — outrageous demonstrations designed to draw attention to issues facing queer people, and previously included everything from Conservative politicians being pied in the face on live television to drag nuns can-canning at Christian conferences. “We want queer people to know that protests can be enjoyable, they can be theatrical, they can be exciting, and they can be full of rage,” the activist who spoke to VICE said. Check out photos from the demonstration below.