The UK’s first trans Pride crossing has been unveiled in Sutton to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT).
The Sutton LGBTQ+ Forum, in partnership with Sutton Council and the Liberal Democrats, installed the landmark crossing over the weekend ready for IDAHOBIT, which is observed on 17 May.
Mayor of Sutton Trish Fivey told PinkNews: “Sutton council and our town are open, inclusive and welcoming. As a result of this action, Sutton now joins one of only a handful of London councils with a permanent crossing celebrating the LGBTQ community.”
Sutton Council’s lead member for equalities Cllr Jake Short helped spearhead the project. He said: “I am delighted to see this celebration of the richness and diversity that our transgender community brings to Sutton.
“Until transgender people and other minority groups are able to live without fear of discrimination or hate, we must continue to demonstrate our support and stand with them to clearly demonstrate our commitment to eliminating transphobia.”
He told PinkNews it had been “an absolute pleasure” to work with the Sutton LGBTQ+ Forum on the project, and called it “an excellent symbol that Sutton is open to all”.
The reveal was timed to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. The day is marked on 17 May each year, to commemorate the date homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1990.
The theme for this year’s IDAHOBIT is ‘Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!’ It was chosen to recognise the challenges the LGBT+ community have faced throughout the global pandemic. A press release for the day stated: “In the midst of the chaos, heartbreak and ongoing challenges, it is with hope for global awareness of this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia that we can continue to provide inspiration.”
In recognition of the day, people, organisations, politicians and charities have been holding online events, reflecting and raising awareness for the violence and hate the LGBT+ community continues to face worldwide.
There are a number of rainbow Pride flag crossings around the UK, but this is the first known trans Pride crossing in the country.
The UK has seen a decline in trans rights in recent years
The UK has seen an increase in anti-trans sentiment over the past several years. ILGA-Europe’s recent Rainbow Map saw the UK drop further down the rankings of LGBT-friendly European countries, citing this anti-trans rhetoric and “growing hate” in its evaluation.
The NHS has come under fire because trans people face waiting times of up to five years for an appointment at a gender clinic in some parts of the country. Currently, trans masculine bottom surgery is unavailable in the UK, with referrals to the country’s only provider of phalloplasty halted due to a contracts issue.
Despite promises to improve trans rights in the UK, the Tory government last year ditched planned reforms to the Gender Recognition Act. Over the weekend it emerged that Liz Truss scrapped sweeping changes to the leglisation that would have made trans lives easier after taking advice from the National Advisor for LGBT Health, Dr Michael Brady.