Celebrating Trans Pride Scotland

Trans Pride Scotland took place this weekend, coinciding with Trans Day of Visibility. 

The event, held on Saturday, brought hundreds of trans and non-binary people, as well as allies, from across Scotland to Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire for the march and community market event. 

Kicking off at Howard Park, the march took attendees up along John Finnie Street, through the historic town and past Kilmarnock train station, before congregating for an in-place event at Ayrshire College. The sun shone down on the marchers, led by Sheboom, one of region’s all women samba bands.

It was clear from the attendees that coming together as a community at events like this is extremely important.

For one attendee it was their first time attending a Trans Pride event, “I don’t know that many other trans people in person, a lot of my network is online. So, it’s just really cool to see that there are so many of us across Scotland”.

Trans Pride Scotland strives for accessibility – one of the reasons for this year’s location – “We chose Kilmarnock as we did not want to be confined to the Central Belt of Scotland. We felt the need to have a presence in places such as Ayrshire as these areas are often overlooked. Kilmarnock was a good choice given the new Ayrshire College campus there, transport links and reasonable journey times back to the central belt. We marched in Dundee last year for similar reasons. Having the march in places such as Kilmarnock helps trans and non-binary folk in these areas feel represented and able to celebrate in their home towns and areas.”

This year’s event has taken place at a pivotal moment for the trans community in Scotland. One important matter at hand for us right now is The Scottish Government’s consultation on banning conversion therapy practices, which ends this coming week. In the shadow of this, news broke last week that the Scottish Parliament had withdrawn from Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.

The sold out community event at the Ayrshire College Campus provided visitors with market stalls largely representative of the charity sector in Scotland, with LGBT Health & Wellbeing, Waverley Care and the Terrence Higgins Trust present. Also, in attendance were Rape Crisis Scotland providing essential outreach with pamphlets and materials tailored specifically at trans and non-binary people. 

Organisers had faced some criticism on social media due to its policy on flags and banners which stated that “All flags and banners must be LGBT specific and we will not allow any flag like, but not limited to, Ukraine, Palestine, Israel or any political parties or campaigns”. The march did pass without incident and a sign calling for a free Palestine and at least one Palestinian flag were present at the community market event. 

Speaking to organisers, the message of the importance of events like Trans Pride Scotland is paramount in the current climate of transphobia in the UK, “Celebrating Trans Pride is important as both a visible public expression of trans joy and as part of a wider campaign to maintain and win trans rights. Especially now in the face of current attacks.”

A group of attendees to the event did report being harassed when walking through the town centre after the celebrations. A reminder of why events like Trans Pride Scotland are so important. Thankfully no injuries were reported.

Trans Pride Scotland is an annual, free, accessible, family friendly, and non-commercial pride for all trans and non-binary people in Scotland. You can find out more about the peer-led group on their website https://2024.transpride.scot

If you attended Trans Pride Scotland and encountered any hateful behaviour in the locality we would encourage you to report incidents to Police Scotland using their online reporting form https://www.scotland.police.uk/secureforms/c3 or if you would rather not speak to the police directly, you can go through the 3rd party reporting scheme, of which Ayrshire College is a member.

Mike Johnston-Cowley and Luci Wilson, all images by Luci Wilson.