Trans Strike Back!

Trans*Mission reports on a demo held at Parliament Square against withdrawing puberty blockers from trans* youth and the anti-trans Cass Review.

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On April 20, 2024, hundreds of people gathered in Parliament Square to protest the outrageous recent assault on trans* humanity in Britain. Anti*Capitalist Resistance (A*CR) members, cis and trans*, joined them to participate in this crucial event and share our own repudiation of the Cass Review in a new Trans*Mission broadsheet that was warmly received on the day.

The demo was an outpouring of just rage at the denial of human autonomy that has been an ongoing process for over half a decade in the anti-trans moral panic, coming together in the reprehensible Cass Review. Trans* people are made to suffer for social tensions they had no hand in, but that day showed that this suffering is not passive.

The media and parliament attempt to silence trans* people from any part or involvement in the discussion about trans* lives. This is critically true of the Tories and of the Labour Party, who were both named in chants for their routinised and institutionalised abuses of trans* humanity. Political transphobia must be uprooted and exposed.

It is also true of the British media across the spectrum. From the rags of the right like the Times, the Daily Mail, and the Telegraph to those of the supposedly “respectable” liberal centre like Private Eye and the Guardian, all the way to the reactionary left represented by the lamentable Morning Star. Each one of whom has shamed itself in the muck of bigotry and prejudice.

Finally, it is true of the Cass Review itself, which excluded trans* perspectives from its research oversight board while including reactionaries and conversion therapists. This was part of a broader setup to reach predefined and wholly political conclusions that mock any pretence to the document’s credibility.

That day was an opportunity for trans* voices to be heard, to prefigure a world in which the oppressed can genuinely say, in the slogan of the Disabled People’s Movement, “Nothing about us, without us!” It was only fitting, then, that the demo had been called by a group of young trans* people, Trans Strike Back!, who led the march with brave conviction.

Afterwards, speeches were given alongside poems and a beautiful opera performance. Trans* people testified to their pains, to the injustices they experience, whether at the hands of a medical system that denies them in tortuous waits and treats them as incapable of choice or a government that uses them to scapegoat the social crisis in which trans* people are also victims.

But beyond the righteous recriminations and profound grief felt by so many trans* people were urgent and decisive demands underscored by the belief that a different world is possible. One in which cis and trans* humanity share in their self-development and enrich one another’s experiences.    

However, that world requires solidarity, too. While A*CR was joined by other socialist organisations such as revolutionary socialism in the 21st century (rs21), the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) and Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL), all of the unions were most notable chiefly for their absence.

The labour movement must become more deeply connected to this vital struggle, a working-class one for medical access and against oppression. They must because the undermining of trans* healthcare wounds the very principle of universal healthcare. For the labour movement, solidarity is the lifeblood of its existence, and failures to show up create fissures that undermine the possibility of a better world.

Trans*Mission communicated with Trans Strike Back! afterwards, to hear what compelled them to organise. “Our group was motivated to start a demo,” they wrote, “after seeing the ban on hormone blockers. Driven by fear for our trans youth we knew we had to step up action; for too long, we have been the victims of transphobia. We can’t let our community suffer any longer.”

They conceded that there were organisational difficulties in calling such an event on short notice, but they have already scheduled a public Zoom meeting (May 3) to receive feedback and adapt their strategies. “We were so proud and overwhelmed by the support that showed up; I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet.”

They ask that people stay alert to their plans as they need continued support and are now building to a larger event on August 3. Additionally, they plan to be involved in the trans* struggle in other ways, with projects “including a healthcare talk for trans youth and their families.” They will be a key part of the coming struggle, but it is vital that others join them and build on their work, maintaining the momentum.

Trans*Mission and A*CR remain committed to trans* liberation, which is entailed by any project for a socialist revolution that seeks to free all of humanity so that each man, woman and nonbinary person can ultimately flourish and develop on their own terms in an ecosocialist future of human abundance that nourishes individuality rather than seeks to crush and deny it.

We not only welcome trans* voices into the movement that can dream and realise the future but demand their voices. We regard as our class enemies all who seek to silence and harm our trans* siblings. Trans Strike Back! showed us the way; now, everyone must take heed and emulate their bold example.

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