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The Telegraph
The Telegraph
11 Feb 2023


Tate Britain
One protester held up a sign reading: 'Leave our kids alone!' Credit: Guy Corbishley / Alamy Live News

Protesters and trans activists have clashed on the steps of Tate Britain following the gallery’s decision to host a drag queen event for children.

Family groups had previously raised concerns about the London gallery inviting the performer Aida H Dee, of Drag Queen Story Hour UK, to provide half-term entertainment.

Right-wing protesters organised a demonstration outside the Tate, where they were met by counter-protests led by a coalition of trans-rights campaigners and socialist groups.

Met Police officers made one arrest as they were forced to create a corridor to allow visitors to enter the gallery and attend the drag show.

Tate Britain
Aida H Dee, the performer, said that the reading 'went swimmingly'

Protesters held placards warning against the “sexualisation of children”, including signs stating “kids don’t belong in drag shows” and “leave our kids alone”.

On the other side of a police cordon were groups including Stand Up to Racism, the Socialist Workers’ Party, and Transgender Action Block.  

Piers Corbyn, brother of the former Labour leader, was also in attendance.

Tate Britain
Groups including Stand Up to Racism, the Socialist Workers’ Party, and Transgender Action Block clashed with the Right-wing protesters Credit: Mike Ruane / Story Picture Agency

One trans rights activist, who asked not to be named, said: “We’re here to fight against the fascists. We have to stand up for human rights for everyone because people are getting hurt.

“We’re here for transgender people, gay people, queer people, refugees, we’re here for everyone.”

While protesters clashed outside the Tate, the storytelling went ahead as planned inside. Aida H Dee state on Twitter that the show “went swimmingly”.

Tate Britain
Some protesters were pushed to the floor outside the gallery Credit: Guy Corbishley / Alamy Live News

Family welfare groups had raised concerns about the potential of the event to cause tension, with the campaign group Art Not Propaganda condemning the protests against the storytelling event

“Tate thinks what they’re doing counts as diversity; look how what they are actually creating is division,” it warned. 

A spokeswoman for the Tate said: “We do not programme artists in order to promote particular points of view, nor to reconcile differing points of view. 

“Our galleries offer a broad programme and visitors have the freedom to choose which aspects of it they engage with.”