University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

Trans Rights Activists and Allies Rally Against Far-right Transphobe Posie Parker

Badger Admin

ByBadger Admin

Jun 27, 2024

A protest was organised by Trans Liberation Front and Brighton Antifascists in response to a rally held by Kelly-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, of the far right transphobic organisation, Let Women Speak (LWS) at Victoria Gardens on 23 June. The LWS rally of about 60 people was met by protest from around 200 members from the local LGBTQIA+ community. 

Both Parker and her organisation have been shown to have connections to the US far right with supporters such as Donald Trump, CPAC and Heritage Foundation. Parker’s far-right affiliations have led her to being denounced by other anti-trans organisations across the country, such as Women’s place UK.

Kelly-Jay Keen-Minshull is also running for MP from Bristol as a candidate for the Party of Women, another transphobic organisation, with takes such as: “No woman has a penis, no man has a vagina, there is no such thing as “non-binary”, and “transitioning children is abuse;” as stated on their website front-page. 

The rally and its speeches were drowned out by the sound of 3D printed kazoos and trans liberation chants such as “No TERFs on our turf” and “Trans Liberation Now” from the protesters of diverse backgrounds, outnumbering those attending the rally. With signs and banners showcasing trans and queer solidarity and addressing Keen’s far-right affiliations, the peaceful protesters stood their ground against the police barricade surrounding and protecting the rally attendees. The protest was also attended by famous trans-rights activist Sarah Jane Baker, showing solidarity with the trans, non-binary and intersex (TNBI) people of Brighton and Hove.

Credit- Trans Liberation Front Instagram

While no arrests were made during the protests on either side, some of the protesters were met with some police brutality, causing a person to be shoved to the ground and some being grabbed and pushed by police liaison officers. 

One of the protesters called the protest a “resounding success’ ‘ compared to a protest two years ago countering another LWS rally in Brighton. He told The Badger: “I attended the protest in 2022 when Posie Parker last came to town.This one started similarly with our group slightly outnumbering theirs and a police line separating us. [This time,] it quickly became obvious that we were having little impact on them, as the police kept us so far away that we couldn’t even be heard on Posie Parker’s live stream – so a group of us decided to take action. We circled around to outflank the cops and made it right next to Posie Parker before the cops caught on and expanded the police line to block us. We continued to encircle them, forcing the police to essentially kettle them in – even using their vans as barricades. Despite the pushing and shoving of the police, the atmosphere was jubilant, as we had very obviously bested the fascists and faced no arrests – a far better result than in 2022.”

Credit- Trans Liberation Front Instagram

In a spontaneous and passionate act, the crowd decided to follow some of the LWS members on their way out, turning the protest into an impromptu “Antifascist Pride Parade” near Jubilee Library. 

Recounting the events of Sunday, Brighton local Willow Lloyd said: “There was an atmosphere of joy and love within the trans crowd whilst still being determined to stand up to bigotry, this was pride being enacted. Kellie-Jay was escorted by police and physically ran away from her rally, speeding off in her car . The counter protest was an incredible success for antifascists and trans people. After Kellie-Jay ran away, the counter protest turned into a radical pride march through the streets and the fascists were fully defeated and ran off the streets.”  

Some of the LWS members went on to enter the shop North Laine Bazaar against the owner’s permission. The owner, along with 50 protesters from the demo, proceeded to peacefully sit outside chanting “Train station is that way,” waiting for police officers to escort the trespassers out of the shop. The owner was thanked by the crowd of protesters for showing her support, which was further reaffirmed in an Instagram post made by the North Laine Bazaar instagram account captioned, “Trans folks welcome, Posie Parker is not!”  

Speaking to The Badger, Rachel from North Laine Bazaar said that initially they weren’t aware of what was happening, however people started coming into the shop with the Police letting some in and then blocking the door to the crowd. After going out and talking to the crowd to assess the situation, Rachel made it clear to the LWS members inside that, “They were not welcome” and she “refused the shop to be a platform for anyone’s hate speech”. Following this, the members proceeded to hurl insults at Rachel, calling her a “misogynist” and “anti-women” and not respecting her request of asking them to leave.  Rachel reaffirmed the support for the protesters outside and claimed to have received “nothing but kindness and support” from their side, with the protesters standing back and staging a passive sit down upon Rachel’s request to leave space for the members to leave. She further emphasised that the protest was peaceful with the LWS members who were outside not being at any danger of intimidation or a physical altercation. 

When asked about the police response, Rachel went on to say that it took three calls from their side to have the police actually respond to the situation, with them asking her to not call back unless the situation escalated. Finding the overall police response to the situation disappointing, she said, “I made it clear that they (LWS members)  were trespassing my property. I made it clear that I have asked them to leave many times and they are not welcome here. I was disappointed that the police didn’t really seem to respect that, because that’s exactly what it was. We are open to the public as a business, but I have rights as a business owner, and if someone is not welcome, I have a right as a business owner to say they are not welcome.I was disappointed by the response.”

Reflecting on the wider narrative that’s being spread by LWS with respect to the events of the day, claiming “defenceless” women are being attacked, Rachel says, “We are strong people! Stop putting women down with your speech. I find that really offensive. I am not a defenceless woman. I am not a violent woman. I have been verbally attacked by the people from the LWS side….the women in the shop were not defenceless either. They were more than happy to use their voice. But then they claim to be the victim.”

Since the events of the day, Rachel and her colleagues have received hate across various platforms, with calls from as far as Germany and US. While the hate has been distressing, this has only encouraged her to openly voice her support and stand in solidarity with the TNBI community.

Credit: Badger staff 

When asked about his reason for protesting, a protester responded saying, 

“As a trans person, I obviously have a personal stake in preventing Posie Parker from legitimising her vile anti-trans hate – but I also firmly believe that it is the obligation of everyone to stand up against fascist hate wherever it appears – including anti-feminism, Islamophobia, Zionism, and support for the Nazis, all of which Posie Parker is known for.” 

He further emphasised on the importance of deplatforming fascists and people spreading bigoted hate speech and urges people to take action when met with hate and vitriol.

“Coming to these protests is essential, things won’t change if you just sit around and talk, you must take action. If we don’t fight fascism when we see it, fascism will take over our communities and become the norm. It is our duty to fight bigotry in all its forms, especially transphobia at this dangerous time for trans people,” said Willow Llyod.. 

As Pride month comes to close, the TNBI community of Brighton and its allies proved that there is no space to platform any form of hate speech in this city. The events from Sunday showcase that Pride historically has been and will always be about queer solidarity and standing up against the rise in bigoted transphobic and homophobic hate around different parts of the world.

Badger Admin

By Badger Admin

The Badger Newspaper

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