GRA reform, hate crime and fantastic coffee

It’s election week! Like almost everyone else in the country, or at least those on my Facebook, I think I’m looking forward to Friday 13th. A day when, just perhaps, we can look forward to some stability, to some vision and to some clarity with regards to the management of our country. I’m really not sure I like living in Interesting Times, never has my opinion been canvassed so much yet have I felt a lack of control of the outcome.

Today my heart is with the two gay men who were beaten up by complete strangers in Sholing, Southampton on the 4th December. Today my heart is with all those who have been victims of hate crime, rising ever upwards since 2016, today my thoughts go to the creation of the Gender Recognition Act back in 2004 and I look at how those hopes for a better future for trans people, one where everyone had a right to legal documents in their correct name and gender and today I think about what might be. Today I hope that after Friday 3th we will be able to start campaigning again for true reform of the Gender Recognition Act, a simple change that will mean so much to trans people but have little to no impact on anyone else. A simple change that will allow non-binary people to exist legally. A simple change that will mean trans people can get married without exposing their deadname to the world. Today I hope that Friday 13th sees a change in culture, a move towards acceptance, understanding and tolerance.

But The Turtle Moves and we will see what we will see. Closer to home I continue to affect real change for real people. Taking ChrysalisGIM forward into the future.

ChrysalisGIM, an organisation that is there for trans people, for non-binary people and for questioning people. An organisation that is there for families and friends. An organisation that looks forward, ever hopeful and ever marking those positive changes. Looking forward from 2004 the world really has changed, we know more about gender identity, we talk more about being trans, we know that experiencing gender incongruence is just another aspect of human diversity.

Wondering where the GIM has come from? Chrysalis stands for much more than butterflies. Chrysalis stands for everyone, for the right of all to explore and understand their own gender identity. Chrysalis is here because and I’m really pleased to be able to announce that in the new year you will see the launch of our new website and the final removal of the old GII from our name because your Gender Identity is not an issue.

Last week I was privileged to get a sneak preview of Zeke’s story which will air at 9pm today on https://www.bbc.co.uk/radiosolent. Thanks to Sarah Bassett for inviting me on to discuss Zeke’s experience of their gender, what it means to be out and some of the challenges and rewards of being out. So great to get some representation.

What else did Andi do last week? On Monday I was at a Domestic Violence training day for Hampshire Constabulary LAGLOs and a chance to catch up with Lisa Paul and Anna Murray from the IoW for a chat about opening a Trans and Questioning Support Group on the island. Tuesday was an office day, it’s been a while. Catching up with Dawn and Grecia and Jon then waving au revoir to Tiny Car as it went in for its service. Tiny Car is indeed mighty, having driven nearly twice as far in this last eighteen months as it did in the whole 8 years before! Wednesday was a catch up with Russell Thackeray and then Ayla Holdom from All About Trans and Thursday I went to trans mecca and discovered the COFX Coffee Caffeine Society just up the Fulham Palace road – we can’t recommend this place highly enough. Inclusive, welcoming, chilled and fantastic tea and coffee. If you are ever in the area we seriously recommend you check it out.

And now for this week. Today is some counsellor supervision and then a catch up with Dawn and Sheila to develop our Volunteer Training and Development package and policy. Tuesday is counsellor interviews with some great candidates for Bournemouth and Southampton. Wednesday I’m off to catch up with Samo from Play Dead Tattoo and Art Studio in Southsea and then Thursday is Bournemouth day: a trip to the sea side, well to the Uni at least, catching up with Ian Jones and our counsellors. It’s an early start so I will do my voting when I get back.

See you on the other side