It’s LGBT+ History Month, so we’re reflecting on the solidarity protest against Mark Jenkinson, and why we think protests like these are so important.
CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of controversial comments regarding transgender issues.
On the 16th of January, protestors in Workington issued a strong message to their local MP that “not everyone agrees with you” as they hit back at his controversial comments made on Twitter about transgender issues.
The comments made on Twitter by Mr. Jenkinson included: “Allowing a man to say he’s a woman makes a mockery of science, of data, and of the law. Conflation of sex and gender identity is dangerous.”
“There is an epidemic of rapid-onset gender dysphoria, particularly in young girls, that will be dangerous if we say nothing.”
“No-one is born in the wrong body- your body is exactly as nature intended.”
Spearheaded by 17-year-old Asa Pegler, the protest was organised by his trans rights and solidarity group ‘Cumbria United’ and supported by the Free Radicals LGBT+ activist group who are based in Carlisle.
Asa initially posted a series of TikTok videos clapping back at Mark’s comments, which led to his decision to organise the protest.
The protest itself was peaceful and informative, with attendees handing out leaflets on LGBT+ support.
When asked about his reasoning for demonstrating, Asa said: “We're here today to say that not everyone in Cumbria agrees with you and that we won't stand for MPs like you."
Mark states that his views are not transphobic and are instead simply “gender-critical.” When our friends over at Free Radicals responded to his tweets, referring to his views as a “danger to modern society”, Mark claimed that his “basis in being gender critical is in gay rights and women’s rights.”
Unfortunately, oppression of LGBT people in Cumbria is as rife as ever, and with a significant rise in hate crime, comments like those made by Mark Jenkinson can be severely damaging to communities that are already misunderstood, particularly when these communities are living In rural areas such as Cumbria, where attitudes may not be as accepting as they are in more populated areas.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to petition, protest and preach for what you believe in and to help the under-represented. Here at Hollr, we will always encourage LGBTQIA+ voices to speak up and out against oppression.
We hope to see more peaceful displays of creativity, resilience, and strength from young people in our community.
We reached out to Mark Jenkinson for comment, but he did not wish to respond.
Edited by: Lucy Edwards
Have you ever wanted more from your county? Now is the time to voice your opinion.
Check out our Google Forms survey here: https://forms.gle/Ppj3iNrUq9VeQQN77