Life

London's First Trans Pride Was a Much-Needed Celebration

"We live our day-to-day lives just like everybody else. All we want is acceptance, peace, love and respect for each other as humans."

by Kumba Kpakima; photos by Heather Glazzard
16 September 2019, 1:07pm

All photography by Heather Glazzard

On Saturday the 14th of September, trans people and their allies made history. They took part in London's first ever Trans Pride – an event which saw the community take up as much public space as possible, marching for the rights of transgender, intersex and non-binary people across the UK. Following in the footsteps of Brighton Trans Pride, which launched in 2012, more than 1,500 demonstrators showed up in the capital with banners and signs, making their way from Hyde Park to Soho Square over the space of one beautiful, sunny afternoon.

It felt like a celebration, yes – but most importantly, it felt like a protest. "We want to stop the deportation of trans people to countries where it is not safe for them to live," said performer Lucia Blake, who co-founded London's Trans Pride with Finn Love. "We need social housing specifically for trans people, because w'’re at a high risk of homelessness and it's not safe for us to be on the streets."

New research recorded by police forces in England, Scotland and Wales has revealed that transgender hate crimes recorded by police have risen by 81 percent – a terrifying number. And at a time when trans people's basic rights are still somehow being debated in the public sphere, it feels important to finally have a pride parade in London that emphasises the "T" in LGBTQ.

As I heard from attendees, this historic march provided a confluence for ideas of belonging, hope and well-justified drive to see change.

'I knew I was coming to a safe space and it feels amazing'

Finn London's First Ever Trans Pride VICE Photos

"I'm here to celebrate Trans Pride. It's the first one ever [in London], and I want to make history with everyone else. I think it's important that we're all here to fight for our rights together and to support each other in solidarity. Because Gay Pride is obviously amazing, but even at Gay Pride there could be discrimination against trans people, so it’s important that we have this specific event.

"Trans Pride makes me feel really happy, to be honest. I feel so empowered. Walking here, I felt a lot safer than I usually do, because I knew I was going to be with other people like myself. I knew I was coming to a safe space and it feels amazing."

- Finn, 19.

'It's nice to be in a safe space where I can just understand myself better'

Dan London's First Ever Trans Pride Photos VICE

"I'm here to support all of my trans brothers, sisters and everyone in between. It’s a really historical moment, so of course I want to witness and support. It’s nice to actually feel validated for once, because I’m non-binary myself, and for so long I felt like maybe I’m not 'trans enough'. But there are so many different genders under the sun and we’re all here to celebrate.

"Trans Pride means validation and an opportunity to actually be here and be like, 'Yeah, I am trans.' It's nice to be in a safe space with other people where I can just explore myself and understand myself better. And it's really nice to see loads of my friends who I first met years ago, when we weren't trans. Now, all of us are. It’s really nice to see people’s transformation and transitions and how everyone is just here together. I’m just happy to be here."

- Dan, 25.

'As an individual, Trans Pride means hope, solidarity and being one with your people'

Adam London's First Ever Trans Pride Photos VICE

"I'm here to support our crew. We haven’t had enough representation and it’s important that we come out and show support and solidarity. People in my community have already had a lot of people die this year, and that’s why we have to stand up and showcase that this is not something that can carry on. This is real life that we are dealing with, so let’s respect it.

"London as a city is so cosmopolitan – but there are still people who are not respecting the communities and the diversity. So it’s important that London steps forward and showcases something that is a real issue at the moment.

"As an individual, Trans Pride means hope, solidarity and being one with your people, being who you are and breathing who you are."

- Adam, 27.

'You're telling me I have to wait two years just to prove that I'm trans? It’s ridiculous"

Terroll London's First Ever Trans Pride Photos VICE Heather Glazzard

"I’m here to represent all the young, black trans men and women out there who are struggling to deal with the cultural barriers and not being able to be themselves.

"London claims to be the most diverse city in the UK, but they are not looking after the ones that are a part of that diverse community, and marginalised. We need to show that it’s OK to be multiple things at once. We need to let people understand that if you see a trans man or a trans woman, you don’t need to ask them stupid questions – just let them be.

"Trans pride, to me, means giving people the raw truth, and the raw truth is that trans and non-binary people are suffering. We need to stand up for those that are struggling, and it’s as simple as letting people transition when they want to transition. You’re telling me I have to wait two years just to prove that I’m trans? It’s ridiculous."

- Terroll, 21.

'Trans Pride, to me, means anti-cops, stopping deportation, destroying prisons and ending racism'

Travis London Trade Pride Photos VICE Heather Glazzard

"We are facing an epidemic of violence against trans people. Violence and transphobic hate crimes have gone up by 81 percent. We don't have a choice whether to be here or not: there’s no neutrality anymore – if you’re not with trans rights, you’re against them.

"London is meant to be the cultural capital of the world – however, every day on the streets, gender non-conforming people, trans feminine people and trans women are being harassed, deported, kicked out of their homes and being made homeless. London is not the safe haven that people think, so it’s important for us to say to our city that this is not going to continue.

"Trans Pride, to me, means anti-cops, stopping deportation, destroying prisons and ending racism."

- Travis

'No one wins when someone else is being put down'

Lori London's First Ever Trans Pride VICE Heather Glazzard

"I’m here today because I’m trans and we need to be visible, we need to be out, we need to be on the streets and we need to show people that we’re normal, we’re not aggressive and we’re not a threat in any way. We just live our day-to-day lives, just like everybody else. All we want is acceptance, peace, love and respect for each other as humans. No one wins when someone else is being put down.

"London is so visible as a city. As the capital of this country – which is a free country where trans people probably have the most freedom among most countries in the world – we have privilege compared to so many others that live in countries where homophobic and transphobic laws are still active. We’re forward, but we’re not there yet, so we need to take that and make sure it’s heard, because London will be heard."

- Lorie, 26.

'Trans Pride, to me, means having a beautiful day and being out and proud'

London's First Ever Trans Pride VICE Photos

"I am here to support the trans community. This is also in support of all the trans people around the world who are not even in the equation of human rights, [and those] in America, Brazil, so many more countries. Trans Pride, to me, means being with like-minded people, having a beautiful day and being out and proud."

- Robin, 68.

'Everyone is legitimate, no matter how they identify'

Radam London's First Ever Trans Pride VICE Photos

"Trans people have been here for so long, in so many different ways. So coming together in this fashion and seeing everyone here today is so important. Everyone is legitimate, no matter how they identify, no matter what they look like within that spectrum. It’s about coming together to say that everyone is legitimate and beautiful, and that is why today is important.

"London is an epicentre and melting point of communities and cultures – which is great – but often parts have been oppressed in terms of ethnicity and gender. So I think it's important to hold Trans Pride in this place where there’s people coming from all over the world, especially with Brexit and everything that is happening.

"It’s taken so long for me to even allow myself to explore the idea that I can be something of my own making and I can be something that I always saw in myself growing up. From eight years old, I knew that I wanted to not be the gender that was prescribed to me by other people. So many people I know do not allow themselves the space to explore any other alternatives and to feel beautiful in their body and within their gender and expression. So, for me to be able to do that, it’s a relatively new thing. I just wanna grab that and tell everybody that they can do the same thing!"

- Radam, 27.

@kumbakpakima / @heather_glazzard