Fight for trans rights, photo by Tom Wolf/CC

Fight for trans rights, photo by Tom Wolf/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Clare Wilkins, Nottingham Socialist Party

‘Trans rights are human rights’ was one of the chants as 300 trans people and supporters marched from the Forest Recreation Ground to the Old Market Square in Nottingham on 11 July. The march was young, colourful and lively.

When we reached the Market Square we joined the morning’s 150-strong anti-racist protest. More chants of “Trans Lives Matter”, “Black Lives Matter” and “no justice, no peace” filled the air.

“I’m free and I’m proud and I shout this out loud” was sung by a trans woman. The open mic rally heard from veterans of the LGBT+ campaigns from the 1960s and 70s, as well as younger trans voices and supporters.

A trans woman said that trans demands were the same as everyone else’s – public toilets, properly funded domestic abuse services, affordable and decent housing, jobs, equality and lives.

Richard, age 80, who had been involved in the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in the 1960s, when being gay was illegal, told how the GLF use to have a trans meeting every week in London. He said the LGBT+ movement has come so far together, and that together it is strong.

A trans woman, who came out 20 years ago, said that she has had to fight every day for her rights and to be who she wants to be.

She said it was humbling to see so many trans people and supporters on the march, stopping traffic and making people think.

Trans people only obtained the legal right to change their gender in 2005. Now there are threats to stop reform of the Gender Recognition Act to allow trans people to self-identify, threats to healthcare services particularly for children who identify as trans, and to make trans women use male toilets.

Another speaker pointed out that there are already men in women’s toilets – attendants, cleaners and plumbers, and if a man wanted to dress as a woman to enter them, then they have always been able to do so.

A speaker for the trades council – bringing together unions across Nottinghamshire – said that there is no place for any discrimination in the labour movement.

I asked to speak from the Socialist Party, but was told by the organiser that they didn’t want organisations. I said I still wanted to speak.

The organisers also asked us not to hand out our Socialist Party trans rights leaflets or sell our newspaper, the Socialist.

Others disagreed, snapping up our leaflets, buying the Socialist and donating to our fighting fund so we can keep campaigning.

When I did get up to speak, I said I brought solidarity and support from Nottingham Socialist Party. People liked it when I spoke about the need for working-class unity.

I said that we wanted a world where we could all be who we wanted to be, and who we identified as.

We fight for the right to self- identify, de-medicalisation of the process, scrapping of the charges, fully funded services for LGBT+ people, proper investment in domestic abuse services with secure funding and resources to meet the needs of all survivors, proper public services for all, and a fully funded and resourced, public NHS free at the point of need.

There was loud applause for the speech and the Socialist Party’s demands.

The Socialist Party says:
  • Fight for trans rights and an end to all forms of discrimination
  • Unite struggles of trans and non-binary people with the whole working-class struggle
  • Councils to set no-cuts budgets – fight the Tories for the money stolen from council services
  • No trust in pro-big business politicians. Build a new mass workers’ party
  • For a socialist world free from oppression, discrimination, exploitation and the inequality of capitalism