23 Jun 2019: Harvie stirs the sh*t at the Edinburgh Pride march
I met up with around a dozen like minded friends aged between 20-60. Some were wearing t-shirts proudly proclaiming “we are Lesbians”. We wanted to ensure lesbians would be visibile yet despite an outward display of confidence we were alerted to an undercurrent of nervousness between the marchers and ourselves. Our apprehension was based on the negative attitude of other groups who did not approve of relationships that excluded men in our choice of partners. Acceptable? Yes!! but only if we conducted our chosen lifestyle in secret.
But we displayed our banners and sang our songs. Other lesbians came up to us and said they wished they had known we were marching and bemoaned the lack of Lesbian spaces and community in Scotland. They waved their hand-made purple and black placards, courageously yet quietly proclaiming their Lesbian existence and relieved to have support and solidarity of like minded people. There was an act of physical aggression against our group when an angry young person grabbed a placard and destroyed it screaming “TERF” but the stewards soon restored order.
But what was chilling and caused fear in our group was the content of speeches from MSPs who addressed the crowd at a pre-march rally, from the top of an open top bus. In particular the words of Patrick Harvie, Green MSP, where he said “I am sorry that this parliament very recently was used as a platform for transphobic hatred and bigotry”. And went on to say he felt compelled to apologise for the undemocratic workings of Parliament, and its decision to put a hold on GRA reform until it had been fully considered and deliberated by a broad range of groups who might be affected and, importantly, the conflation of sex and gender that has infested policy making in Scotland. His speech whipped the crowd into a frenzy, since they had already been warmed up by previous similar speeches. And whilst the promoted theme of the “Pride” was “Be Yourself”, the real focus was not about the right to be loved and to express love without prejudice, it was about “transrights” and only that.
Thanks to the spittle infused rhetoric espoused by Harvie our group’s situation was upscaled from hostile to dangerous. We feared for our safety and attack from the mob, since immediately after, a number of people started shouting “get the TERF’s out” They meant us and we had already been blocked in by some very large people with “Trans” and “Non-Binary” flags draped over their shoulders cancelling out our groups “lesbian visibility” banners.
It later transpired that lesbians had abandoned the march after they had been harassed by “transrights” activists who accused them of being bigots for standing up for female rights and forcing politicians to add their support. Lesbians were no longer welcomed at “Pride” marches.