A PEACEFUL protest in support of trans and non-binary rights took place on Saturday — and was attended by Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely.

Around 35 people respected social distancing but stood in solidarity in relation to the reforms of the Gender Recognition Act.

Sydney Cardew, LGBT+ officer for Island Labour, delivered a speech about what it is like to be a trans woman and the issues and

discrimination she faces because of who she is.

Beforehand, following a report that MP Bob Seely had allegedly made a transphobic comment at a meeting, the MP arranged to meet Yve White, UNISON equalities officer, and Sydney, to discuss the issues.

Yve said: "At the meeting with Bob Seely, it was clear he is keen to gain a better understanding of the issues the trans and non-binary community face.

"He asked pertinent questions and listened to what Sydney had to say about her life experiences and why the reforms to the

GRA are crucial to ensuring trans and non-binary people can lead their lives in their true identity, free from discrimination and abuse.

"The meeting was successful and the MP was invited to come along to the protest to speak to those most affected if the reforms do not go ahead."

Mr Seely attended the protest and has another meeting arranged, in advance of the Bill being issued on July 21.

One of the issues most people seem to associate with trans people is around the use of public toilets and changing rooms, however the reforms to the GRA do not involve toilets.

The law in relation to toilets is covered by the Equality Act 2010, where being transgender is a protected characteristic.

Yve said: “I am very proud to have been part of this important event. Sydney and I were really pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with Bob Seely before the protest and we would like to thank him for attending the protest.

"It shows he is serious about learning more about what might be a small number of his constituents, to ensure their voices are heard.

"He was very supportive of IW Pride and I feel sure he will do his best to support our trans and non-binary community given the knowledge and understanding he is actively seeking.”

One County Press reader said: "I would like to thank Bob Seely for taking time from his busy schedule to come to the Isle of Wight Trans event at Ryde seafront.

"We had quite a discussion and Mr Seely listened with an obvious attitude of openness and willingness to be informed on trans issues and the realities of what trans actually is."

The day included a speech from Yve about how UNISON fully supports the LGBT+ community and will continue to fight for equality for all.

A minute’s silence was held to remember the three men who lost their lives on 20 June in a terrorist attack in Reading.

The men were all from the LGBT+ community and Reading Pride has thanked the protest for their solidarity.