Day of celebration to focus on trans equality

A one-day festival to raise awareness and funds for a trans rights campaign is being held this Sunday.
A one-day festival to raise awareness and funds for a trans rights campaign is being held this Sunday.
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Campaigners seeking to reform the Gender Recognition Act are holding an Edinburgh street festival to celebrate trans rights.

More than 20 performers, artists and authors will appear at the event in Leith this Sunday, which will include music, comedy, storytelling and poetry, to fundraise for trans equality.

The event comes in the wake of the Scottish Government's decision to re-open its consultation on changing the GRA after concerns were raised about proposals to allow trans people to "self identify" in order to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate, rather than need a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and have had to live as their preferred gender for two years.

The Scottish Government says it is committed to making it easier for trans people to change their legal gender to match the gender they live in and a draft Bill is expected to be brought before Parliament later this year.

However trans rights campaigners are frustrated at the delay and have stepped up lobbying of politicians, with more than 2800 emails in support of trans rights sent to MSPs in June. The Equality Network and Scottish Trans Alliance have organised Sunday's event, want to see the psychiatric diagnosis removed, and a reduction in the age at which people can apply for a GRC from 18 to 16. The groups held an emotional rally outside the Scottish Parliament in June to demand the GRA is reformed quickly.

Becky Crowther, of the Equality Network, said, “Showing solidarity with the trans community in Scotland is so important right now. Whilst trans rights and trans people are under attack online and in the media, we are so grateful to all of our contributors for standing with them to do something positive and celebratory.”

Sunday's line-up includes Teddy Lamb, Kate Charlesworth, Emilie Hwang, Sheboom, Rachel Plummer, Jo Clifford, Lavender Menace Returns, Ryan Brown, James Cuddihy, Helen Reeves, The Prettiest Dunce, Hawf a Dug Crisp Box, Hidden Ink Child, Bombinate, Gordon Shaw, Wild and Kind, Andres Ordorica, Gloria Bittman and Ink Asher Hemp.

Ben Thomson, manager of Harmonium Bar added: “We wanted to team up with Scottish Trans Alliance on this because this is a positive campaign to be involved in. As a venue we value equality and diversity and we want to be a place that does good food, good booze and is open to everyone.”

And playwright Jo Clifford, who is performing at the event, said: "This is a difficult time for everyone in the LGBTI and queer community, and it's really important we find occasions to show our pride and our solidarity for each other. So I'm really happy this event is happening in the middle of the Edinburgh Festival, and really proud to be taking part in it.”