Brrrr! It was a trifle chilly when I got into the office this morning. I must confess to finding bed gravity much stronger when it’s cold and dark outside.
Looking back on last week my diary doesn’t seem that full but I know I was busy.
Monday saw volunteer Joanne and I, well mainly Joanne, working hard to get the office IT up and running. We now have shared calendars! For those of you who have been in the 21st century for some time this may not seem like much of an innovation but for us, well it’s like a whole new world has opened up. One where not only can appointments be made but they can be confirmed and sometimes even altered! Trust me, our excitement is barely contained and thank you so much to Joanne who keeps insisting she doesn’t mind helping out the charity but nevertheless is quite sure she made the right decision to move away from IT support as a profession.
Tuesday I was invited to the University of Southampton Student’s Union for their Trans Awareness Week event. It was so great to see the Trans Flag flying outside the Uni and inside the concourse. These words encompass everything Chrysalis hoped to achieve with our #flythetransflag campaign “Seeing the trans flag flying at Uni and in SUSU hit me today. I've never felt affinity towards a flag before, in the Union Jack and St George's Cross I see destructive nationalism and football, respectively, two things I'm just not that into. The rainbow flag is a double edged sword. If it's up I feel like I'm safe, but experience has taught me that within the LGB community Trans people are still not always safe. But this flag is for my community, and I have understood the value of community through my trans siblings. So seeing it flown up in such public view was actually emotional today. Especially in light of the uncertainty and fear I'm feeling about the safety of trans people worldwide, for a moment here it feels ok in this space. I just hope I don't have to look back wistfully wishing for this freedom in a less kind future.” D Thank you to @Union_soton and @SUSU_LGBT for inviting Chrysalis, on our stall alone we raised £112.
Thursday was the #HealthJam organised by Southampton’s Co-Op Pioneer and Chrysalis supporter Sheila. It was great to present Chrysalis to a diverse audience of primary care professionals and to talk to the other charities Mayfield Nursuries, Haven Breast Care, Communicare and the Red Cross about all the great stuff they are doing in Southampton and further afield. Watch this space for some great workshops at our Trans and Questioning groups on topics of interest.
Speaking of which, I knew I did something else last week! I got my words sorted. We now have a clear [semantic] differentiation between the Wellbeing Drop In and the Trans and Questioning Group. Check out http://www.chrysalis-gii.org/chrysalis-support-groups for more information.
Back to Thursday and thanks again to SUSU for inviting me to contribute to the panel discussion on Trans Identity and Transitioning at Uni, it was great to be part of such a vibrant community, one where it is recognised that whilst change may not be happening as fast as we would like there is still progress. It was also (whisper it) nice to be with so many non-binary people too, shared experiences are so valuable aren’t they?
What’s on this week? Well later today (Monday) I’m off to University of Portsmouth to speak about student volunteers, one of the best things about this job is that I get to speak to so many allies about our work. Tuesday check out Radio Solent at 7am! My first live radio interview, talking about Transgender Day of Remembrance and the events in Southampton plus some of Chrysalis’ own statistics.
I hope to see a reasonable number of you from 5pm at The Art House in Southampton and then 6:30 for the vigil outside the Guildhall. Watch our http://www.chrysalis-gii.org/transgender-day-remembrance-20th-nov-2018-0 page for photos from our allies. And for those of you carrying out vigils in other parts of the county our thoughts are with you too.
Thanks to the Southampton Pride team for their help in setting up this event, whilst there will be no cabaret after the vigil people are welcome to go back to the Art House or on to the London Hotel
Wednesday sees more allies at work, this time as I deliver training to the Basingstoke and Deane Labour Party and the rest of the week is filled with grant applications and that part of the job I like more than almost any other, one-to-one chats with all our fantastic volunteers.