In Pictures: Cambridge SU protest for trans rights
‘Town and Gown unite and fight, trans rights are human rights’
On Tuesday (25/10) the Cambridge SU LGBT+ campaign held a peaceful protest outside Great St Mary’s Church, with the aim of “celebrating and educating about trans identities.”
It took place as an “alternative event” at the same time as a talk being given by Helen Joyce, at Gonville and Caius College on the same evening. Joyce’s invitation to speak at Cambridge this week was the subject of widespread controversy due to the conflict between Joyce’s and students’ views on transgender issues.
The protest for trans rights, full of students and members of the public alike, had a joyful yet pensive atmosphere that left many passersby in awe, repeating chants such as, “Say it loud, say it clear, trans people are welcome here” and “Queer people united will never be defeated.”
This positive and celebratory gathering not only sought to inspire people but also to educate; members of the Students’ Union spoke, with people also sharing their own stories in the circle when they felt comfortable.
Quotes from chants shared at the protest have been interspersed between photos:
“We have power, we have pride, trans people united side by side.”
“Say it loud, say it clear, trans people are welcome here.”
“Queer people united will never be defeated.”
Students joined together wearing flags to celebrate the cause.
A variety of signs with thought-provoking phrases could be seen throughout the crowd.
Students stood in solidarity for the cause, with some even willing to educate members of the public who passed by and questioned the event.
Students from various colleges eagerly participated in the peaceful demonstration by banging pots and pans along with the chants.
“What do we want? Trans rights! When do we want it? Now!”
The organisers handed out mini flags to wave during the chants.
Attendees were encouraged to wear bright clothing, as a way of representing pride and making the cause known.
There is no doubt that the sense of solidarity that was felt yesterday evening was extremely uplifting for all, regardless of sexuality or gender.
When contacted for comment, Professor Arif Ahmed (the Caius fellow who organised the talk with Joyce) said: “There was chanting, screaming and banging outside the hall. Some people were banging on the door. But the event went ahead anyway, and it was a success – there were some challenging questions, and my only regret is that some of those protesting the event from outside were not instead inside the hall, objecting to Joyce with arguments rather than drums. I’d be happy to arrange another event, in the same venue or elsewhere, at which speakers on either side could have a constructive and peaceful debate.”
The Tab Cambridge contacted a representative of the SU LGBT+ Campaign regarding the allegation. They said: “For a brief time, about 20 protesters independently and spontaneously decided to split from the main protest group, which remained outside Great St Mary’s for the whole duration of Joyce’s talk. They did so in order to make noise closer to the Bateman Auditorium from Senate House Passage. These protestors did engage in loud drumming, which may have been mistaken as banging on doors. They purposefully made sure not to hit doors at any point and no attempt was made to enter Caius by protesters at any time. Any accusation to the contrary is false and misinformed. Our protest was entirely peaceful and lawful.
“Members of college security witnessed the action of this group and made no attempt to intervene as they understood that this group was entirely peaceful. It should be noted that the protest involved multiple groups with different plans of action, of which the SU was just one.”
Helen Joyce and Gonville and Caius College were also contacted for comment.
Featured image credits: Patrick Dolan