Trans Pride South West on Pride
Trans Pride South West were generous enough to give us their time to talk about Pride. We asked them about the events they hold, what their Pride means to them and how organisations can show their support.
Roughly how many people attended your last in-person Pride?
We had 190 people join our march through the centre of Bristol in 2019, which led to our Community Day, and more people joined throughout the afternoon. As our Community Day is a free event, it's hard to gauge numbers precisely - our estimate is about 250-300 people attended our main day event in 2019. We also held events during the week including a sold-out comedy gig with an audience of 50.
What are your major sources of finance (sponsorship, admission fees, grants, etc.)?
Our main source of finance is fundraising and sponsorship - a local LGBT+ club night donates money from a fundraising night for us each year, and we also have sponsorship from a range of businesses with bases in Bristol.
What measures do you take to ensure that your events are inclusive and accessible?
We try to use venues that have step-free access for our in-person events, as far as this is possible in Bristol, and where this isn't possible, we work with venues to find solutions. At our Community Day in 2019, we had a 'chill-out space' which was a quieter space with activities for anyone who needed a break from the noise of the main events. We published accessibility information on every event on social media to help people plan their day, including the locations of accessible and gender-neutral toilets. When we are planning our events we have a disability representative on our planning committee to make sure we consider accessibility at all our events.
Do you see your Pride as a party, a protest, or both? Why?
We see pride as both a protest but also a reason to celebrate - with the attacks on trans people from the media and the current UK government, we see it as important to speak out against this. We organised a protest in July 2020 after the Government announced they were going to disregard the outcomes of the Gender Recognition Act consultation, which was outside of our annual programme of events. However, we also think it's important to create events run by trans people for trans people to enjoy themselves and socialise, so that people can feel supported while we face these setbacks as a community. Transgender rights have become an increasingly debated issue, and it's emotionally and mentally draining for us to have our human rights treated like a debate. Creating events where trans people can have fun and relax is so important in helping people thrive, rather than just survive.
Have you has push-back from your community regarding the involvement of organisations such as the police, the armed forces and companies with poor ethical track records? If so, how do you manage such conflicts?
We previously have invited representatives from the LGBT liaison service of the local police force to our Community Day, however, we have had complaints about this from people who attended our events. We've taken these complaints very seriously, as the most important part of our events is the enjoyment and comfort of the trans people that are attending. Since then, we have invited organisations that provide support to victims of hate crime and sexual assault to have a stall at our events, so that trans people attending can still get information about support available in the South West.
What can companies do to demonstrate that their support for Pride is more than just paying to pinkwash their brand?
Transgender people report higher rates of problems at work such as feeling unable to be out at work, harassment, and being passed over for promotions (Stonewall report: 2018). A company that wants to demonstrate their support for pride can make sure they have a supportive working environment for trans and non-binary people, which includes eliminating bullying and removing discrimination when hiring staff. Schemes to help hire and promote LGBT+ people can also be a great way to do this. When we are looking to work with organisations and get sponsorship, we're much more likely to work with organisations that can prove they have a supportive work environment for their own employees before anything else. Companies can also arrange trans awareness training for their staff from a variety of organisations.
What one thing would you ask of someone who wants to be a really great ally to the LGBTQ+ community?
A zero-tolerance approach to bigotry is the key to being a great ally to LGBT+ people. Allies should challenge any discrimination that they're aware of and speak up proactively for LGBT+ people without being asked. The media often runs negative headlines about trans people, which furthers bigotry and discrimination against us - it's important to challenge this when you see it, whether that's in your work life or your social life.
We always say that it's important for serious allies to listen to voices from within the community - who should allies reading this be following on social media?
We are big fans of the following people and pages on social media:
Travis Alabanza - Bristol-based playwright
Shon Faye - Bristol-based writer
Bristol Trans Portraits on Instagram