What a week!
Thank you to everyone who got involved in our Fly the Trans Flag campaign and in particular to Rachel at The Daily Echo a stalwart ally of Chrysalis who picked up our story and promoted it until we attracted BBC attention! You know when you think you’ve got a good idea and then it gets bigger and bigger and you realise that today is tiger tail day? Well that was Tuesday first Devin and then me speaking on BBC Radio, I can heartily say that I feel much more sanguine about that now I’ve done it. Definitely an experience. Thanks to Julien Clegg and the team at BBC Radio Solent for including us in the show, for inviting us to speak about why Transgender Day of Remembrance is so important, and the impact allies have for all trans people.
Thank goodness for egg sandwiches, I firmly believe they have previously un-recognised calming properties. Certainly, the one I ate after the radio interview provided good ballast for the rest of the day. And what a day it was.
Firstly, the awful task, the one that really focuses the mind. The writing of the 368 names of those who died by transphobic violence in the last year. The immediacy of typing out where they were murdered, when and how. Of making the time to find the right accents for the names so that they would be pronounced correctly.
Typing again and again shot; stabbed; beaten; shot; suffocated; stabbed.
For anyone who still doubts that being trans and transitioning, living authentically, is a choice I invite you to study the list of names. To think honestly about whether those people in Brazil (nearly 50% of the total) and all those who know they live in more transphobic countries than the UK would have chosen to put themselves in such danger if they could have just carried on pretending.
Today we remembered Naomi Hersi – stabbed in a London hotel room; Flávia Luiza and Vanessa Campos who died in France; Ximenia Garcia and Rafaella Rotocalco in Italy and Eli who was beaten to death in Spain.
Today we remembered our friends Chrissie and Em and all those others who are no longer with us. Those who fought so hard and those who remain in silence because the world is just too dangerous for them.
Today was a day of tears, of strong emotion and yet joy too. Seeing the Southampton Guildhall lit up with the flag colours was more than I could have dreamed. I know that despite everything my city and my county is with us. We have allies and they are making their voices heard.
The rest of the week kind of pales into relief after that but still I should mention the great training session I had with the Basingstoke and Deane Labour Party on Wednesday and my meeting with Portsmouth Uni on Monday looking at placements and opening our full support in the city soon.
What’s on the plate for this week? Lots of lovely one to ones with my staff and volunteers. It’s here that the magic happens. All the ideas from such a diverse group coalesce into new plans.
Speaking of plans – I’m really excited to be working with the facilitators on ways that we can make all of the groups more inclusive and developing funds for those who just haven’t got the cash at the moment for subs.
And finally, thanks to those of you who have made it this far. If you wanted to get Chrysalis a present for Christmas, we really need some proper office chairs. These executive chairs are all very well and good but not if you want to type in comfort and they’re a git when it comes to moving them around so that one can vacuum. Yes, that was this morning’s task, I can see my carpet again, it’s red and lovely, not covered in speckles!