A WAVE of colour and glitter swept through Brighton and Hove as thousands of people joined the biggest ever Trans Pride event.

Despite a rainy start to the day the clouds parted to make way for pink and blue flags to flutter across the city.

Thousands gathered outside the Marlborough pub and theatre, before making their way along the seafront to Brunswick Square on Saturday.

At the start of the march MP Caroline Lucas said: “I am so proud that our city was home to the first ever Trans Pride in in the UK seven whole years ago.

“We are here to celebrate everything t community achieved since then and commit ourselves to challenging the hatred and the stigma and the discrimination that still exists.

“Because friends you will know the shocking statistics. Even here in Brighton and Hove the number of transphobic hate incidents and crimes was up over 40% last year, and nationally the figure up over 80%. Those figures are horrifying.

“That’s why it is so important to say we will not accept people being attacked simply for being who we are.

“Thank you for being here in your joyous beauty.”

Ms Lucas also pledged to work towards making LGBTQIA+ education compulsory in all schools - to a rapturous applause from the crowd.

Addressing the crowd from the upstairs windows of the Marlborough pub, Niki Adams from English collective of Prostitutes said: “Trans people and sex workers have a lot in common and sometimes we are the same person.

“Violence is increasing, made worse by stigma.”

Transgender racing driver Charlie Martin praised the support she had received from transgender children’s charity Mermaids- which she is now a patron of.

She said: “When I think back to when I was 13 years old and wrote Mermaids a letter feeling something was wrong with me, the impact of having a letter come back from them saying ‘there’s nothing wrong with you, there’s nothing wrong with being trans. it’s society that needs to change’. That was life changing.

“That’s why we are here today.”

Deputy Convenor of the Green Group of councillors on Brighton and Hove City Council, Councillor Hannah Clare, who also attended the march, said: “With hate crime on the rise both in the city and nationally, we are proud to show our strong support to trans people across Brighton and Hove.

“Trans people still face a totally unacceptable level of discrimination, prejudice and ignorance and there’s still a lot of work to do if we are to achieve equality for trans people. We need to improve access to medical services and strengthen hate crime laws to tackle harassment.”

“We remain fully committed to making trans equality a reality and with the trans community we will push together for a fairer future. ”

Royal Mail staff from across the country took part for the first time ever.

Lucy Sorti, a Royal Mail driver from Leicester, said: “This is the first Trans Pride the Royal Mail has attended with colleagues from across the UK.”

Her colleague Julia Casson, from London, added: “We have an LGBT group within the company and really wanted to come to a trans specific event to support our colleagues in every single context.”

One of those in the crowd was Jenna Taylor, of Rock Street, Brighton.

She said: “Whilst understanding towards the gay community is a million miles from where it once was, trans people still suffer so much stigma and abuse.

“Only one in four victims of trans hate crime even report it.

“There’s an enormous amount of spite and hatred from so-called feminists.

“We suffer more abuse, mental illness, self harm and being ostracised from society than almost any other group.

“It’s great to take part in Pride and be accepted, but to have our own Trans Pride means even more.

“Gay people have reached a point where they can celebrate - but we are still fighting for so much. Our event has to be so much more of a protest than a party because there is still a long way to go.”

Her friend John Marriott, of St George’s Road, added: “I’m not trans, but I know a lot of people in Brighton who are and the level of abuse they face from ignorant people is outrageous. Even simple things like using toilets or going to a public swimming pool are a huge source of embarrassment. Trans people shouldn’t need to be ashamed of who they are, inside or out.”