Trans rights activists blocked Labour activists, councillors and MPs during the Pride parade to protest against the party’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights.

Protesters held a banner that said “Starmer Hates Trans People” in front of a group of party members, including Hove MP Peter Kyle, council leader Bella Sankey and Eddie Izzard, who is hoping to become Brighton Pavilion's MP in the future.

Trans rights campaigners have expressed anger at Labour after party leader Keir Starmer rowed back on plans to introduce a self-identification system to allow transgender people to legally identify as their chosen gender without a medical diagnosis.

Setting out Labour’s position on transgender rights last month, Keir Starmer told listeners on BBC Radio 5 Live: “We don’t think that self-identification is the right way forward. We’ve set out that we want to modernise the process, get rid of some of the indignities of the process, keep it a medical process.”

He also said that, in his view, “a woman is an adult female”.

The Argus: Trans activists protesting at Brighton Pride 2023Trans activists protesting at Brighton Pride 2023 (Image: Trans Liberation Front Brighton)

Campaign group Trans Liberation Front Brighton claimed responsibility for the disruption and called on organisers of Brighton Pride to ban political parties from the annual parade through the city.

The group told The Argus: “To make a statement and ensure that Labour would not use Pride as a PR campaign while they also continually attack our rights as transgender people, we jumped in front of the Labour march with a sign that reads “Starmer Hates Trans People”.

“We want Labour to know that if they continue to berate transgender people and use us as a political tool, then we will expose them, and we will not let them use Pride to make people forget their incessant bigotry.”

Bristol Pride organisers announced last month that political parties would be banned from their march “until more is done to stand up for our entire community”.

A spokesman for Brighton Pride said: “Trans rights run rights through Brighton Pride and we hold our trans community close.

“This year’s Pride community parade once again was led by a group of trans siblings and allies, under the banner #TransPeopleAreLoved.

“The founder of Trans Pride Brighton, Sarah Savage, gave a passionate speech from the main stage at Fabuloso on Saturday, which was warmly received by the crowds.

“More than 130 groups took part in this year’s parade, including local Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat groups.

“All political groups taking part in the community parade are from constituency parties and LGBTQ+ member networks - people who live and work in our city.

“Brighton and Hove is well known for its support of the LGBTQ+ community and local politicians have been vocal in this.

“Brighton Pride also works closely with the local council and benefits from this positive relationship. The recently elected Labour administration includes lesbian, gay and trans members.

“The local political landscape is very different from other parts of the country. We recognise and appreciate political support from within our LGBTQ+ community and our political allies.

“Our position on welcoming local politicians to Brighton Pride is very much based on our local experience. While we are confident and comfortable in our stance, we will continue to hold all politicians and political parties to account when needed as we continue to press for equality for all.

Brighton and Hove Labour Party was approached for comment.