‘By trans people, for trans people’: Scotland to celebrate its first ever Trans Pride

Caitlin Logan

Trans people and allies to march through Edinburgh to celebrate and protest for equality

SCOTLAND WILL celebrate its first ever Pride march and event aimed specifically at trans people in Edinburgh this Saturday 31 March.

Organised by a new community organisation, Trans Pride Scotland, the event promises to be the first of many, with the aim of bringing together trans people and their allies from across the country in a show of “strength, solidarity and mutual support”.

Assembling in the plaza at City Chambers from 11.45am, marchers will travel down the Royal Mile to the Scottish Parliament, where they will pause to hear from speakers, before continuing on to the John McIntyre Conference Centre for the afternoon’s activities.

“It’s the first of its kind in Scotland, and we’re doing our best to ensure people from all over Scotland are included.” Alex Robin Gardner, Trans Pride Scotland

The event follows in the footsteps of Trans Pride Brighton, the first of its kind in the UK, which was established in 2013. The first Pride event of the year, Trans Pride Scotland is expected to be the largest trans specific event in Scotland, and the organisers are hopeful that it will only gain momentum after the inaugural event.

Speaking to CommonSpace, acting co-convener for Trans Pride Scotland Alex Robin Gardner said: “People should come along because it’s the first of its kind in Scotland, and we’re doing our best to ensure people from all over Scotland are included. We’ve got people coming from Shetland, and even people from Ireland.

“We’re expecting a maximum of 400 people in the first year, but hopefully this will kick-start things for next year when people see pictures and hear about this year’s event.”

Gardner explained that the event had arisen from a sense that, while other Pride events tends to have a “trans space”, these events “never focus on trans people specifically”.

In recognition of the pivotal role of trans people, and trans people of colour in particular, in launching the Pride movement starting with the Stonewall riots in the US, Trans Pride Scotland seeks to put trans people front and centre where they often remain on the margins.

With input from Scottish Trans Alliance, LGBT Youth Scotland, Beyond Gender, Trans Masculine Scotland, the WOW Network, Stonewall Scotland, Terence Higgins Trust, Edinburgh Zine library, and community members, 12 different workshops will be on offer from 1.45-5.15pm.

With topics ranging from the educational (for example, the history of trans activism), to the inspirational (such as self-care for young people), through to the purely fun-filled (such as comic making), the event aims to appeal to a broad range of people from the trans population.

“One outcome we’d really like from the day is for people to feel empowered in what they can do and to be aware of what their rights are,” Gardner said.

Central to this is one important fact: the event is entirely free. Trans Pride Scotland holds true to an ethos of non-commercialism, which Gardner explained was a way of ensuring that all voices are given equal weight.

“We want to be by trans people, for trans people. Just because you’ve got more money doesn’t mean you should be represented more.” Alex Robin Gardner, Trans Pride Scotland

“We’re asking that people use homemade banners to stop big companies taking over by having huge, commercially printed banners, like those used by banks,” Gardner noted. “Because that’s not fair on smaller groups who aren’t able to have banners like that made.”

To this end, the organisers have held banner making workshops, and will be holding a quick-fix one on the morning to help people if, for example, their “glitter has come off”, Gardner explained.

The event has come together thanks to community fundraising, without any grants or corporate sponsorship – another conscious decision on the organisers’ part in a bid to boost equality of access and representation.

Gardner said: “We think it’s important because if companies give X amount of money, we have to advertise on the website or at the march – we’re not so fond of that. We want to be by trans people, for trans people. Just because you’ve got more money doesn’t mean you should be represented more.”

A range of stalls will be set up on the day, with the aim of educating, empowering and supporting trans people, while no corporate or commercial bodies will be represented, and no merchandise will be on sale. 

Pictures courtesy of Scottish Trans Alliance and Trans Pride Scotland

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