Running, metaphors and training

I did it! I ran 5K at a Park Run on Saturday. Compared to the amazing Tascha who ran the Basingstoke Half Marathon for us a couple of weeks ago and to Amy who is coming all the way over from the US to run for Chrysalis in the London Marathon 2020 my 5K is small indeed but still I’m so pleased to have done it. I’ve never really been into running, if I’m honest I’ve always preferred to cycle (much less effort for the same result) so this was my first running event, my first time running with the pack, and I really enjoyed it! I even caught myself thinking that this was a hobby I could enjoy, then I remembered that it involved 9am on a Saturday morning! My son is learning about simile and metaphor causing me to reflect on its absence from my blog. So here goes for a change of style, let me know how it works.

Grey the dawn but high our spirits as we donned our lycra. Protective colouration, to show that we too belonged in the pack. On the outskirts, watching, our own mountain to climb, did we engage with the experts, with the slender majority already itching to be off? A chance meeting with a former colleague broke the ice before we were joined by our own clan. Now for our briefing, shivering in the non-metaphorical rain, and we were off. Feet pounding, breath for chat as well as muscles, social time with friends, hills traversed, joy at the 4K marker then deserted by my clan, the faster animals, more competitive wanting their extra minutes, before reaching the golden path, the light of the finish, the pride in achievement and shared endeavour. Humanity, all mixed, all with the same purpose. All our differences put aside as we shared space and paths to find our way, shared smiles before like gas molecules we dispersed. A brief touching.

I think that’s possibly more Dwarvish Saga than anything else. Probably I’m the one who needs to go back to creative writing lessons nevertheless it was fun to try to convey a bit of the spirit of the event in words. Perhaps the style of this blog is changing, I know I am. For the first time on Coming Out Day I made a personal post, sure I’m out but it still felt significant. Something to recognise, another marker in my journey towards authenticity.

As always, my mind works towards inclusion, towards making space safe. Was that Park Run a safe space? Would it have felt like a safe space for someone who is visibly trans? Talking with the groups and the training team about how to convey the inside experience of being trans tells me that for someone new, raw, hurt and harmed by judgement and bullying, by a fear of being outed, then no space feels safe but as you come to find your authentic self, as you work through those fears and gain your confidence through coming to a Chrysalis group you find that you are safer in those spaces, you hold your head high and say “I’m me, and I’m proud to be my authentic self”. Our is one way that allies everywhere, can provide a stepping stone, a hand out that says “this space is safe, I’ve got you until you find your confidence” and I look forward to seeing photos of the trans flag flying at the Park Run on the 16th November.

Last week was another busy one, developing our training and getting some training myself around Disability Awareness from the Rose Road Association. Tuesday saw Tiny Car and I driving up to Reading for the Road to Growth Seminar , where I was able to ask when the NCVO would include “Other” in their gender category for the national survey of the charitable sector. The Head of Policy and Public Services was reporting on data from 2016 and her answer to my question was that the NCVO is aware they need to be more representative of minority groups so watch this space. We have come so far since 2016 in our understanding of the diversity of gender identity and whilst I’m sure there were still some raised eyebrows in the room it was great to have the opportunity to both ask the question and to know that work is being done.
I also had a chance to catch up with Alyssa from Support U in Reading, it’s great to be able to talk about how we can work together as charities to provide the best support possible across our region.

This week sees me delivering the first of our Crown Prosecution Service training sessions in Eastleigh. Thanks to everyone who has worked with me to develop this training, and all those who gave their experiences of hurt, hate and transphobia that inform our Experience Education sessions.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our training then drop an email to info@chrysalis-gii.org; with over 14 years’ experience and 100s of people supported Chrysalis really knows what it is to be gender diverse.