West London Queer Project attend protest in support of transgender rights - by Matt Smith
Members of the West London Queer Project (WLQP) joined hundreds of people protesting outside Downing Street on Saturday (9 April), in response to the exclusion of transgender people from the proposed ban on conversion therapy.
Founded by Aubrey Crawley in 2021, in response to the dearth of LGBTQ+ venues and events in west London, the WLQP hosts a weekly ‘Sunday Social’ in The George IV pub in Chiswick. Their events have become popular among west London’s LGBTQ+ community.
Attendees waved placards with ‘No Ban Without Trans’ written in the pink, white and blue colours of the transgender flag and were joined by celebrity drag performers Ella Vaday and Jujubee.
Debates around transgender rights have been simmering for several years. Recently, the issue has made headlines and has become a contentious topic of public debate.
The main divisions are between civil-rights activists, who view gender a social construct and propose a ‘self-identification’ system for one’s gender, and so-called ‘gender critical’ activists who believe that someone’s sex, whether they are male or female, is biological and cannot be changed merely by the decision to identify differently.
In response to the ongoing, often toxic, debate, several professional bodies and support groups claimed last week that the mental health of the UK’s transgender community is ‘at crisis point’.
Anti-abuse charity Galop told The Guardian their helpline has been receiving calls from trans people who “feel exhausted and dispirited by their exclusion from the government’s proposed conversion therapy ban, and the surrounding conversation on social media and in the news”.
Conversion therapy is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or transgender is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’. All psychological and medical bodies in the UK – including the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Medical Association – are united in the view that the practice is unethical, potentially harmful and not supported by evidence.
‘There is no ban without the T’ says WLQP founder
The WLQP attended Saturday’s protest to “support our transgender siblings” against ongoing marginalisation in public life and to show their solidarity in the face of a rising tide of transphobic abuse.
Speaking after the protest, founder & organiser Aubrey Crawley told The Chiswick Calendar:
“We attended to show our support for transgender people, who’s right to be safe from torture in their own country, has been purposefully denied to them at the same time that new laws have been introduced to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
“We view that as illogical and grossly unfair as we stand together as one community, we are all LQBTQ+ and we don’t accept that our government affords us more rights than our trans brothers and sisters.
“We showed up in numbers, as one, to challenge Boris Johnson to rethink a grave error of judgment, which we believe has been made in ignorance. There is no ban without the T, from our perspective.”
Published by the Chiswick Calendar