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Hi, Im Andi the CEO of Chrysalis and a regularly like to keep everyone informed of what we are doing at Chrysalis.

THE CEO BLOG

Chrysalis goes online!

Such incredible news to share with you this morning. Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved with Chrysalis we are now able to offer our support groups and our one-to-one counselling online.

For those already a part of Chrysalis then the team will be in touch with you with all the information you need. If you want to join Chrysalis and access our support then email info@chrysalisgim.org.uk or call 07823 504306 between 9:30 and 3pm Monday to Friday and Dawn or Sheila will be there to chat with you.

Want to speak to a specific lovely person? Then check back on the website for the rota of who is doing what, when. Whatever you need we are here for you, we have a list of volunteers who can just give you a ring and regular check in, we have volunteers who can go and pick up essential supplies, we have humans who are here to care. Want to catch up with me in person then you can email me andi.maratos@chrysalisgim.org.uk, I’m always up for a chat too.

Chrysalis exists to break down the barriers caused by isolation and in these challenging times we are emerging stronger and better than ever before. No longer are we bound by location. If you are in the UK and want our support then just drop us a message. We have confidential support groups for trans and questioning people, for parents, for partners and for anyone else whose life has been impacted by the …

“Chrysalis goes online!”

March, spring and cycling

Cycling to work is infinitely superior to driving, I like that I can do my bit for keeping Southampton cleaner and also get my fitness back but it does mean that I don’t get to listen to the radio on the way in so my thoughts for the day are not prompted by the words of others. Perhaps I should start listening to the radio in the office. So today you’re getting unexpurgated me. I’m sorry about that!

Cycling to work is so good for the soul, thanks to Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash for this image

We’re settling into our new offices, my sofa arrives tomorrow which will take up the big empty corner in my room and dampen down some of the echo. Dawn and I are getting used to having a corridor between us. Thank goodness for Office 365 (take a drink Sammy) and Teams – the communication tool of champions!

Last week was a bit of an admin catch up and just checking my phone I see I didn’t take any photos to add to this blog so I’m going to have to go and look for something to brighten it up. To be honest after the week before and two days in London and lots of driving it was nice to be in the office, to sit down with Dawn and look at plans and generally get ourselves straight again.

I did get out on Thursday though, back to the University of Southampton to …

“March, spring and cycling”

Safe spaces and safe bases

At the d&i Leaders conference on Thursday I was introduced to the concept of “When in Rome; Embassy; Advocate” principles of how companies work in places where there is limited LGBT+ acceptance, or indeed where being your authentic self is a crime.

Inclusion is good for business, it’s good for society and it’s good for LGBT+ people. Slide from @HughMilward from @Microsoft

Previously I’ve been speaking with various Universities about creating self selected LGBT+ flats within their student accommodation and the discussion came up again at our most recent Chrysalis training.

But why do we need safe bases? What really is a safe space?

Are you familiar with attachment theory? That knowledge that we all need a place of safety, a place where we know we are accepted. Once we have that safe base, be that from our family; our friends (adopted family); our Chrysalis support group; or our work colleagues we can go out and explore the world. We have resilience to ride out some of the storms, deal with those places where we are not accepted and in the end we grow and develop and find our own way. We become secure in ourselves, in our identity and in our way of being.

But it’s not enough to have just a safe base. It’s not enough to create an embassy where the rules of fairness, acceptance and inclusion are followed unless we are aware that for many people stepping outside that safe base is dangerous and that we …

“Safe spaces and safe bases”

Connections

Today I’d like to tell you two stories of people who would never know what an impact they had had on my life had not the streams of time brought us back together after over 20 years. The first a punk who came and sat down with a group of metallers in the park and showed us that it was OK to cross barriers, that it was OK to be different and that we had more in common than we thought. The second a person in a crowd at a gig who offered to put me on his shoulders, a common enough happenstance at that band’s concerts, something that many people take for granted but something never before, or since, offered to me.

Both of these people had completely forgotten those encounters, but they stayed with me. Both of those encounters changed how I viewed myself and others, empowered me to be a bit kinder, a bit less afraid and a bit more able to view myself as OK. Last year I was able to say thank you to the person with the strong shoulders, and last week at training I was able to reconnect with the punk from all those years ago. A kind person then and a kind person now as I welcome our newest Southampton volunteer, Mike, we couldn’t ask for a better person to join the Chrysalis team. Welcome

With everything being up in the air: head office moving to Southampton today; Basingstoke Trans and Questioning …

“Connections”

Busy, busy, busy

Did you miss me? I’m so sorry. As is always the way I’ve got to the end of the year and haven’t used up all my annual leave so I’m taking the opportunity for a few sneaky Mondays and Fridays! Yep, that’s right, I was off last Monday. Chilling and reading and doing all those things that one does on a day off like: cleaning the bathroom; sorting out some old junk; tidying. You know, that relaxing kind of stuff.

Then it was flat out busy for the rest of the week and I had to trust that you, dear reader, would be OK without me for a week. I do hope you were.

Tuesday and Wednesday saw me at the University of Southampton delivering trans awareness training to the whole of the Residences Team, it was great to be back in halls and to see some people from my past life as well as to meet so many great new people and to know that Uni of Southampton students have got a really incredible team of people in halls looking out for them and working to give the best possible support to everyone.

Tuesday night saw Maximillian and I at a Gala Dinner. It was all a bit posh I can tell you. Many thanks to Solent University’s deputy Vice Chancellor Dr Julie Hall for inviting us to join you at the Apprenticeship Awards. Fine food, fine company and some stunning entertainment from Solent students.

Thursday was a …

“Busy, busy, busy”

Can you teach an old cat new tricks?

A new week and so many new things for this old cat to learn. I’m pretty sure that when I convinced the board to let us upgrade the website and to move to WordPress it was because it would be easier for me, but now I’m faced with so many different options. What category do I pick, how do I upload images, where will my post appear? Gosh so many questions, and all a day late too.
So what’s my pitiful excuse? Well not content with lots of projects for Chrysalis I’m also doing a spot of home decorating and if there’s one thing I learnt this weekend, and you’d think I’d already be well aware of this, is that every project takes longer than initially anticipated and that the initial work always uncovers a host of other challenges. Suffice it to say that two days wasn’t enough and it needed another day to return the living room to a habitable state. Not so good that I’m posting pictures of the finished article on here though! If you were wondering why you hadn’t heard from me then I confess that I worked so hard I ran out of fingerprints and couldn’t even log on to anything!

But enough about the fun that is my life outside Chrysalis what’s been going on inside?

Well Samantha and I went inside! Yep, on Wednesday we packed up the travel bag, handed over our technology and went inside HMP Winchester for their Protected Characteristics …

“Can you teach an old cat new tricks?”

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.…

“GRA reform, hate crime and fantastic coffee”

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