Shanah Tovah

Shanah Tovah to all those celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish festival of the New Year and anniversary of the Creation. As I sit here drinking my morning coffee and wondering what to write in this week’s blog it’s nice to take a moment to look forward, to celebrate live and to think about the wonder that is our natural world, oh and apples, it’s always a good time to think about apples!

Thinking about the natural world leads me naturally to thinking about the diversity of human experience, of the ever-growing body of scientific evidence destroying any and all binaries. Well except binary star systems, I’m pretty sure they are real; however, I digress. I was speaking on Friday about the old ideas of a sex binary and what we now know to be a far more nuanced spectrum. There used to be hard and fast rules proscribing men and women and to transgress them could lead to imprisonment or worse. Sartorial laws enforced not only strict class boundaries but also gender roles. Now we have placards reading “Kebab rolls not gender roles” at Pride in London; gender and relationship diversity being taught in schools and a growing movement towards gender neutral or simply inclusive spaces.

In all of this I am reminded that everyone should be free to be their authentic self, everyone should be able to say, “I am proud, and I am me!” Let’s encourage everyone to explore their gender identity, lets celebrate being secure in your gender identity, lets celebrate being diverse. All of these are part of the wonderous diversity which is our natural world. Whether you are of faith or not we are all part of this world and it’s so much better when we can be happy together.

Last week went really well, I met with almost all of my counsellors as well as lots of the Bournemouth team. It is great to hear how well the new group is running. Off to a flying start and becoming well established now as the place for trans and questioning support in the area. Thanks to Dr James Palfreman-Kay for the coffee and chat, it’s great to find out more about Bournemouth Uni and to learn what you are doing to support your gender diverse students as well as to promote understanding across the organisation. It’s the small and subtle actions that our universities take which just normalise being trans. How wonderful is that?

What’s on for this week? We will be launching our campaign for Trans Awareness Week and getting working closely with all the local groups who are organising events around Transgender Day of Remembrance on the 20th November giving trans people and their allies the opportunity to reflect and remember those whose lives have been taken from them through violence over the last year, and those close to us who sadly lost their own internal battles and are no longer with us.

On Tuesday I’m going back to my alma mater, returning to City College in Southampton where I completed my degree in Person-centred Counselling and Psychotherapy not so long ago. I am so pleased and proud to be invited to speak to the level 4 students about Chrysalis; gender diversity; and my own success story. Proof that all their hard work pays off, even if not in exactly the way one initially hoped.

Wednesday Steffi is back in the office helping us out with some graphic design and saving me from having to argue with unfamiliar or recalcitrant software.

Thursday I’m at Solent University looking at how Chrysalis can work with lots more students. Helping everyone develop. Solent have been fantastic allies of Chrysalis and long may this relationship continue.

Friday is finance day. The fantastic Neil is in the office and we are doing reports for the trustees. Ever onwards, ever upwards. Chrysalis just keeps getting better and better.