The annual Stonewall Awards take place tonight in London. For several weeks it looked like there might be a repeat of scenes at the same awards ceremony in 2008, when a loud, vibrant protest against the organisation’s institutional transphobia took place. However, the demonstration has been called off by organisers.
A number of important events influenced this decision. The most noteable include Stonewall’s announcement that they will in fact campaign for equal marriage and their withdrawal of transphobic journalist Bill Leckie from the list “Journalist of the Year” nominees.
Meanwhile, “Fit” writer Rikki Beadle-Blair has offered an extensive apology for the inappropriate portrayal of trans issues on the wall of the Facebook event page for the demonstration. Stonewall themselves have not offered an acknowledgement of (let alone an apology for) the offence and potential harm caused by the DVD, but Beadle-Blair’s willingness to accept his mistakes and engage with the trans community on such issues in the future is very encouraging.
As such, it was broadly agreed by many activists that the threat of protest has achieved a great deal on this occasion. By calling off the demonstration, LGBT and queer activists have recognised the successes we have achieved by kicking up a fuss over these issues. We should, however, continue pressuring Stonewall to revise their broadly inappropriate approach to trans issues.