The Socialist 8 July 2020 |
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Trans rights protests oppose Tory backsliding
London, photo Greg Randall (Click to enlarge)
Well over a thousand overwhelmingly young trans and non-binary people and supporters protested in Parliament Square on 4 July against the Tories backsliding on trans rights.
The chant of "Black Lives Matter - Trans Lives Matter" was to the fore, expressing solidarity, and showing how, when one oppressed group in society moves into action, radicalisation spreads.
Theresa May's government consulted on reforming the Gender Recognition Act, so that trans people could register their legal identity in the appropriate gender without a lengthy medical process.
The Johnson regime looks likely to ditch this idea after a transphobic campaign by the right-wing press, shamefully given encouragement by some who claim to be on the left. The Tories may even introduce a 'bathroom bill', following far-right Republicans in the US, putting trans people's safety at risk by barring them from public toilets and other facilities.
Protesters were angry and determined, with speakers addressing the difficulty of life for trans and non-binary people in a society that discriminates and denies their existence.
The Socialist Party leaflet (see 'Yes to self-identity: Fight for trans rights' at socialistparty.org.uk) linked trans' struggles to the need to defend jobs and services, building a democratically organised mass movement against oppression, and changing society so that legal rights can be guaranteed. This was so well received that we ran out of the 500 leaflets we brought.
Many thanked us for being there and raising socialist ideas. This included putting our position to a very few who objected to socialist ideas being raised and accused us of trying to co-opt the movement.
We replied that we want it the other way around. We put our socialist ideas forward so that those ideas can be co-opted by the movement.
One person said they wouldn't take a Pride flag on a Black Lives Matter protest as "that would be against intersectionality", but had no answer when we said that is exactly the kind of link-up needed. This was a very small minority, with vastly more agreeing when we said that a fight for liberation requires a fight against capitalism.
One thing is sure, if the Tories go through with attacks there will be a big and radicalised movement in response.
The trade unions must take this up, defending trans rights and joining the fight for self-identification, both by defending trans workers in the workplace, and also politically.
100 protested for Black Lives Matter and trans rights in Newcastle on 4 July. A Socialist Party member earned applause and cheers on the open mic when they raised the need for mass working-class action to achieve rights for all.