This is Trans Writes 10th contributor piece, all paid-for writings from transgender people. Amazing. We could not have done that without your support & donations. Thank you so much, and please enjoy this piece about Trans Pride London.
It’s Saturday 9th July and the London air is hot and sticky as we weaved our way through the bustling streets. It felt like any other hot summer day, but turning from one street to the next we were immediately greeted by a sea of trans flags flying proudly under the glowing sun. We had found Trans Pride London.
Excitement radiated from the ever-growing crowd, some 20,000+ people according to reports. Trans pride was on full display here with flower crowns, people wearing binders, wearing dresses and many, like myself, wearing our top surgery scars like a badge of honour. Placards read things like “Trans healthcare NOW” and “I love my trans girlfriend”. In this space surrounded by our community, it felt safe and possible to truly be our authentic selves.
We arrived early; the Trans Pride march wasn’t due to set off for another hour. So we hung around in the heat, reuniting with old friends and getting acquainted with the new. Then, before we know it, a voice reaches out across the dry grass:
“WELCOME TO LONDON TRANS PRIDE!”
A cheer rumbled up from the crowd, I started to feel the stirrings of anticipation in my chest. The crowd made its way closer to the voice, and after a brief speech from the organisers to get the crowd really hyped up, we set off on the Trans Pride march from Wellington Arch to Soho Square.
Reflecting on the walk, I am thankful to my friends for being there with me. Unintentionally, I ended up sandwiched between a group of friends who are all transmasc. One of us removed a shirt and so naturally, the rest of us did too. Baring our souls to those looking from the outside in; couples eating bunch outside cafés, fancy-dressed folk racing from one tube station to the next, families with wide-eyed children begging for ice cream.
Our sweat-slicked chests glint in the sunlight; almost like Edward Cullen (sorry, sorry). In all seriousness, it was such an empowering moment. Walking alongside men like me, self-made men, all different shapes and sizes and skin tones, scars in different patterns and colours and formations. Eminating trans pride, embodying trans joy and uninhibited by fear.
The camaraderie is infectious, and I played my part helping it to spread with smiles at strangers as I snapped pictures of my favourite picket signs – ‘I love my short king’ being one I really loved.
We chanted as we walked, making sure that London could hear the words “Trans Pride” as a reminder that we are here and not going anywhere. We demand better healthcare. We demand protection for trans children. We demand respect and love for Black trans lives. We demand, because we deserve it.
We reached Soho Square soon enough, and the crowd pours in. I was amazed at the sheer number of people here. Last year’s turnout was nowhere close to this amount which I imagine was in part due to Covid. But this year Trans Pride is reported as having over 20,000 people in attendance, and so many of them were transgender! Truly overwhelming!
Many were also allies, and I am grateful for them. Grateful to see that despite the hostile environments trans people are so often exposed to, whether in ‘real’ life or online, there are still people who support us and don’t pray for our extinction.
Soho Square is the place for people to decompress after the march, and we did just that. We found a nice spot to sit in while rousing speeches are received with applause and cheers. One speech was given by Heartstopper actress Yasmin Finney, she was as moving and inspiring as she is talented.
During the quieter moments of the day, whether that was between speeches or travelling home on the tube, I found myself reflecting on my journey and what trans pride really represents. To me, it represents life. Living despite so many wishing we didn’t. Being able to proudly exclaim THIS IS WHO I AM, with our chosen family by our side, family that will love us no matter what. Being proud of our bodies, our hormones, our transness.
To me, the trans community is like a big bag of pick n’ mix – some are sweet, some are sour, some are soft, some are crunchy. We are strawberry laces and chocolate nougat and caramel buttons. Fruity gummy bears and rainbow Skittles.
On days like Trans Pride London, surrounded by my family of trans candy; I felt as happy as a kid in a sweet shop.