Mar 26 2023

Weekend of trans support concludes in Wellington

Trans rights protesters in Wellington (Photo: Alice Soper)

The Queer Endurance / Defiance group had organised this rally for trans acceptance and reproductive rights as soon as they heard Posie Parker planned to come to Wellington. And while the anti-trans campaigner never ended up making it to the nation’s capital after her failed Auckland event, around 3,000 members of the rainbow community and their supporters still met on the steps of Civic Square today, in what organisers believe could be the largest demonstration for trans rights in Aotearoa’s history.

The first speaker of the day admitted when they put the event together, they only expected a couple hundred of supporters. Instead, speeches had to be paused part way through to reorient the speakers for all the additional attendees who were also occupying the City to Sea Bridge.

Trans rights protesters in Wellington (Photo: Alice Soper)

Speakers spoke of their own experiences as trans people, of religious trauma, of sexual violence, their struggles to access health care and of the power of collective action. They spoke of the love and freedom of self expression that saved them. They encouraged attendees to vote in support of trans rights this election year.

They were joined by spokespeople from Fired Up Stilettos, the group of strippers organising for better treatment at work and by a foundational member of Victoria University’s Women’s Liberation group from the 1970s. Her speech reminding folks that their original feminist actions were about breaking up, not protecting, exclusive spaces.

There were three dissenting voices that attempted to speak over the women talking. In each case, the organisers sent wardens to them, ensuring their safety as they were drowned out by chants of “Love not hate”. As the formalities concluded, the organisers let the music play and trans folk and their supporters danced and mingled before being sent safely home.

Hundreds gather in Christchurch in support of trans rights

Supporters making room for the tram (Image: Alex Casey)

Hundreds of people have gathered by Christchurch’s Bridge of Remembrance to show support for the trans community in the wake of anti-transgender activist Posie Parker’s brief visit to Aotearoa. Bubbles filled the air against a backdrop of trans rights flags and hundreds of signs of support for the LGBTQIA+ community, including a surfboard spray painted with “I drop in on TERFs” and a simple yet effective “Expelliamus Posie Parker”.

Police formed a barrier between the crowd and a small group of around 10 people from Destiny Church’s “Man Up” who gathered on the bridge in counter protest. A speaker representing the group was unable to be heard over the crowd, who erupted in a chant of “no more hate, no more hate” and “go home TERFs, go home TERFs” whenever he tried to speak. Silenced by the noise, he resorted to a sheepish shaka as the entire crowd turned their backs on him.

a crowd of trans supporters stand alongside each other wearing pink, blue and white. A sign reads "More love, less hate" and is held by one of the people gathered
Trans rights supporters gather in Christchurch (Image: Alex Casey)

The protest then moved up Cashel Mall in a colourful and peaceful celebration – complete with Lady Gaga on the soundsystem and a huge cheer for the smiley tram driver who ambled his tram through the crowd while giving a big thumbs up in support. Back at the bridge of remembrance, the counter protest was joined by National Front founder Kyle Chapman. But with hundreds of pro trans activists cheering, dancing and laughing in the exact opposite direction, nobody seemed to take any notice.

The crowd has since thinned out, but a police presence remains between the remaining pro trans supporters and the counter protestors, who continue to attempt to speak over the chant of “no more hate, no more hate.” The tram also continues to periodically make its way through the crowd, inspiring the charming chant “trams for trans, trams for trans”.