The following statement was read by members of the Gay Liberation Front at the recent “LGB with the T” demonstration at Soho Square. This is in light of the recent emergence of the so-called “LGB Alliance,” an anti-trans group whose politics we resolutely oppose.
From the bar queens who sparked the Stonewall uprisings, to the trans working group of the 1970s Gay Liberation Front, trans power has always been a driving force in gay liberation.
We have much to learn from history, even as our language and structures of solidarity evolve. The GLF has a proud history of inclusion of trans people. Back in the seventies, our Transsexual and Transvestite group – using the language of the time – met weekly and everyone was welcome. They were often amongst the speakers platformed at our demonstrations. One of our founding members, Bob Mellors, later came out as non-binary and would have never tolerated the hatred of LGB Alliance in the founding of our movement.
Historically, gay people have struggled for autonomy to do as they please with their bodies, in terms of who they can love and have sex with, how they can dress, the spaces they could access. Likewise, trans people struggle for autonomy to live out their gender with whatever health and social provisions they require, and to move through the world without facing hatred, judgment and barriers.
The rights of trans people to self-identify as their gender, and access appropriate spaces and services, interferes in no way, shape or form, with the rights of cisgender gays, lesbians and bisexuals. In fact, we only have strength and numbers to gain from the open inclusion of trans people in gay and lesbian movements, and the rich diversity of experiences and perspectives this brings.
We recognise the LGB alliance for what it is: a hate group who stands for little more than the obstruction of trans rights. It dismays us to hear that one of the GLF’s original members has added their voice to this cause and appropriated the legacy of gay liberation in the process. To those who want to use their GLF status to legitimise LGB Alliance, we say: gay liberation does not, has not, and never will belong to the transphobes.
The road to revolution lies in the banding together of oppressed groups, whether that is fighting sexism and the patriarchy, fighting racism and ableism, or fighting for workers power, as we saw with Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, echoed in more recent anti-borders group, Lesbian and gays support the migrants. Together, cis and trans, we fight for liberation from the sexual and gender regimes of this world. We fight for liberation for all.
To finish with the words of our forbears who wrote the trans manifesto of the original GLF in 1973:
To be gay means to break the rules of your official sex, to cross over the guidelines set by the family, the schools, and the church. Some of us cross over by sleeping with the wrong person. Some of us dress the wrong way. Some of us do both.Transsexual and Transvestite Working Group of the Gay Liberation Front