What an incredible experience. There was laughter, tears, happiness, friendship, love and most of all a whole lot of pride… trans pride.
On Wednesday the 19th July I made my way across the South coast from Plymouth to a beautifully sunny Brighton. It’s a beast of a drive (about 5 hours give or take) but is worth the amazing line up of events for Trans Pride Brighton 2017.
My excitement for the event had been heightened by being able to put my hand to some of the designs for merchandise this year. The ‘we are 5’ part of the artwork that you may have noticed is my little addition after Fox (Fisher) had called out for people to send some designs across earlier this year. It’s been a nice little extra to have had an input to this special event.
I spent my first day exploring the vegan delights of Brighton, expertly guided by my awesome friend Star who recently moved to the city. Brunch, vegan perfume, Kat Von D lipstick and vegan cake later and we had completed a successful day! We even managed to squeeze in a trip to the delights of Brighton Pier, although if you happen to get given a fortune from Zoltar I hope he’s kinder to you. I don’t know what I did but he basically said I’d have a tough life and need get off my lazy ass! How rude!
Trans & Non-Binary Conference 2017
Should you ever be considering going to this conference then don’t even think twice, it was worth every minute (I would say every penny, but being trans I was able to attend for free!).
Talks and discussion groups spanning a whole range of trans and non-binary topics filled the day and it was hard to choose between some of the sessions which ran in parallel to each other.
Particular highlights for me were the keynote speech from Juno Roche, who spoke about being trans with HIV, and H Howitt’s talk titled ‘(Un) Doin It – Fucking While Trans’.
I picked up some great info in from the session with the Sussex Police representative, some of which will be really useful back in Plymouth at Not Alone.
Hopefully I will be able to attend this conference again next year, I would do it all over again tomorrow.
The Museum of Transology
The conference was followed by a private tour of the Museum of Transology, a display of artefacts donated by trans people, many of which hold significant meaning and are accompanied by a hand-writted label with the story behind the item.
I had been told that the exhibition stir up emotions and be quite moving, but I was truly amazed at the beautiful and powerful impact. The were all kinds of items everything from train tickets to appointments, bras, dresses, hormone packets and much more.
As I walked through and read the stories behind the items that had been donated I began to feel my eyes become rather moist. It was almost too much to handle, I had to stop reading for a while and take a breath, it is hard to explain how connected I began to feel to each and every story, I could see myself and my own struggles reflected in the words I was reading.
This is a remarkable exhibition which portrays the true meaning, struggle and emotions of what it is like to exist as a trans person in this world.
Thank you to the charming and talented curator EJ Scott, what you have created is truly breathtaking.
I met with Owl for some lunch and a relaxing catch-up in the park in the day. Owl, great choice of food! Vegan sushi?? That sh*t is GOOOOOD! Following it up with vegan ice cream was also a very intelligent move. I very much wish I could pick up these establishment and place them in Plymouth, Brighton is a little to far to come every lunchtime.
On the Friday evening I attended (and volunteered at) the Trans Pride Film night at Komedia. The eight short films were all great, I won’t go into to detail as I will end up rambling on for hours, but the film night has been a big part of Trans Pride since the very start five years ago and I can see why.
All of the film makers and contributors should be very proud of the great work that was on display.
Saturday 22nd – THE BIG DAY!
Trans Pride Protest March and Park Event
The sun was out in the morning, but there were fears of rain later in the day, however this didn’t appear to have deterred anyone, there were soon thousands gathered outside the Marlborough Pub and Theatre, ready to march.
I joined Rebecca Carmen-Cook for the march, a friend who I am honoured to have. However I must say, one person who I wished was there is Erin King, who couldn’t make it due to running commitments (whoever decided that running up and down Mount Snowdon is a good idea is an absolute lunatic by the way!). Hopefully we can both be there next year.
As the march was preparing to set off from the Marlborough I could feel a whole host of emotions coming to the surface. The past 18 months of my life have thrown me through a whirlwind of different emotions, many highs and lows and still now there are struggles that I face each day. In reflection of that, and knowing that so many of the people in the march will have been through their own difficult journeys, it was hard to keep myself from crying.
I put my head on Becky’s shoulder and gathered my strength as the march began.
The drums led the thousands through the streets of Brighton and towards Brunswick park. The voices from the front led chants of ‘Trans rights are human rights’, a strong message for those watching to remember that this is not a parade but a march in protest of the inequality and discrimination still very present in the face of transgender people in our world today.
I saw many friends and made some new ones. Tears of joy and just overwhelming sense of collective pride bubbled to the surface more than a few times. This was my first march and it was a beautiful, empowering experience.
Once we reached the park the masses dispersed and I checked out the many stalls from local and national transgender charities, organisations, police and community groups.
The Trans Pride Brighton committee members welcomed everyone to the event at the main stage and the atmosphere was electric. Love, acceptance and an overall sense of pride was filling the park as everyone seemed to be glowing with this happiness.
It was forecast and it came. Small spattering at first, but soon the heavens opened and despite not squashing the spirit of the event, it did cause a scattering of the crowds as everyone sought shelter. Thank you to Sharon who allowed us to seek refuge in her nearby basement flat. We dried off, warmed up and were able to rejoin the park once the weather had improved.
The sun came back out for the close of the day and it was both wonderful and touching to see so many young trans people enjoying just being themselves, with no boundaries, restriction or expectations who they have to be or how they have to look. It was a day to feel free, feel proud and share love. For some this may be the only place they feel they could be themselves, hopefully the world will see events like this and in time become a better and more equal place for everyone.
To Trans Pride Brighton 2017 I say a huge thank you. It was a truly magical and unforgettable experience.