By Socialist Alternative members in the West Midlands
Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, better known as Posie Parker, has been touring around towns and cities here and across the world, ostensibly to “let women speak” – an innocent sounding cover for what is blatant transphobia against one of the most marginalised sections of society.
As she has done elsewhere, Parker in Birmingham deployed extremist and harmful rhetoric in an attempt to whip up hatred and discrimination, and to vilify trans people.. Previous rallies held by her campaign attracted neo-Nazi activists and campaigners against abortion and LGBTQ+ rights. Her own far-right sympathies have been public knowledge since 2018, when she came out attacking Muslim people. Parker has often associated herself with far-right groups and individuals, including ‘Tommy Robinson’.
Violence, harassment and discrimination are a daily occurrence for trans people. The Tories have upped their onslaught against trans rights with the blocking of the Scottish parliament’s Gender Recognition Reform. Rishi Sunak spoke of the reform as posing a threat to “women and children’s safety”.
It was vital therefore that there was a strong counter-protest to oppose Parker and her right-wing hate. On hearing of the counter-protest organised by a radical collective in Birmingham, Socialist Alternative built strongly for it in the days before, with members attending from across the region. We had many messages sent in to our Instagram account from trans people thanking us for publicising the protest, and several people attended who heard about the event via SA.
The counter protest was a fantastic show of solidarity and was extremely lively and energetic, consisting mainly of young people disgusted by Parker and wanting to fight transphobia. Protestors eagerly took our SA leaflet with the bold title “Transphobia Kills! Fight for Trans Liberation”. 30 copies of our newspaper were bought, and £63.84 donated for the Fighting Fund by people keen to support our work and allow us to produce more leaflets and material for our campaigning.
Discussions need to take place among all those involved in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights about how to make the protests bigger and even more effective. This should include how to democratically steward the event to keep people safe from far right provocateurs. The fact that there was not a single trade union flag or banner is a stark warning to the union movement of the need to take a serious and active stand for trans rights. This is exactly why Socialist Alternative members are waging a struggle within the unions to not only pass resolutions in support of trans rights, but to actively campaign in the workplaces, on the streets and to build for protests such as these against far right and transphobic activists.
Whether you are in a school, university or workplace, if you want to get active in the fight to stamp out transphobia, get involved today!