On Saturday, the Civil Service LGBT+ Network took part in the Pride in London parade. We were joined by over 100 LGBT+ civil servants and allies. Together, we were united in a message of acceptance, love and respect for everyone, no matter what their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Whilst we were preparing to take part in the parade, we understand that a protest group, demonstrating against trans people, took control of the front of the parade. We did not see the events that unfolded; we only know about the them through press reports and social media.
What we have read has saddened and shocked us.
We were proud this year, as we have for many years, to have trans people as part of our parade group. We will continue to champion the rights of trans people at work, and continue to support them in the Civil Service.
We are clear: trans people deserve to live with dignity and respect. The courage that trans people have to be themselves every day in the face of such blatant transphobia is something for us all to admire. Trans people bring a diversity to the Civil Service that is a strength and a benefit to us all.
We are aware of, and acknowledge, the statement from Pride in London following these events.
We think that the organisers were faced with a difficult set of choices in deciding how to react to the situation. They have said they will look into what they could have done differently, and we expectantly await their proposals for next year. We do not want to see this happen again.
We also recognise that what happened was not the fault of the dedicated volunteers that help to organise Pride in London each year. Volunteers who, we should not forget, we would not have a Pride in our capital without. Ultimately, the only people who were to blame for what happened were the protesters who set out to alienate and exclude a valued part of our community.
We fully expect to take part in Pride in London again next year, and demonstrate that we are an inclusive and welcoming employer for trans people. We hope that others will approach next year’s event with the same level of compassion and respect for their peers as we will.