After UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shared troubling anti-trans views at the Tory party conference on October 4, hundreds of trans activists and allies gathered outside Downing Street in protest.
On October 11, activists from all across the UK descended on Number 10 Downing Street to make their voices heard in response to what they see as a steadily growing animosity towards the trans community within the UK government.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been the subject of widespread criticism following a speech he made at the Tory party conference last week, in which he argued that there was a lack of “common sense” in the UK public sector.
Sunak doubled down on the anti-trans rhetoric, suggesting that the trans community had “bullied” the British public into believing “people can be any sex they want to be.”
“A man is a man, and a woman is a woman,” Sunak continued. “That’s just common sense.”
Following the party conference, LGBTQ+ rights organisations throughout the UK have collectively spoken out against Sunak’s comments, arguing that the Prime Minister was using “culture wars” to distract people from the “real social, economic and environmental issues” facing the UK.
Trans comedian and political hopeful Suzy Eddie Izzard responded to claims of a supposed “culture war” in a recent interview with PoliticsJoe, saying: “It’s the Tories’ culture war. There is no culture war. It’s not there. As a trans person, it’s not there.”
“There are people who are out and proud and positive, LGBTQ people have been coming out for years. I came out almost 40 years ago, how much notice do people need?”
Jaxon Feeley, a UK-based LGBTQ+ rights activist, took to Instagram in the wake of Rishi Sunak’s speech to announce that he was organising a “day of action,” and calling on people to “do the right thing” and join in protesting anti-trans rhetoric and policy-making in the UK government.
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“[The protest is] to bring people together, stand together, and show people that there is support and there are people who care, and to hopefully get our message across as far [and] wide as possible,” wrote Feeley.
“If you consider yourself an ally in any way, shape, or form, then please come and support because that is what the country needs,” he continued. “The country needs to know and feel that people understand and people know [that there is support] because the majority of people do.”
Feeley’s claims are supported by statistics provided by data company YouGov, which found that 55% of Britons agreed that trans identities are valid following Rishi Sunak’s speech.
The protesters, organised by Feeley, descended on Downing Street at 3pm on Wednesday, wielding pro-trans signs and banners, as well as trans flags.
Throughout the afternoon, activists and allies could be heard chanting: “What do we want? Trans rights. When do we want it? Now.”
Leading up to the protest, Feeley urged attendees to refrain from “screaming and shouting” in an attempt to combat the “current narrative” that trans-rights protestors are “angry and aggressive.”
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