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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

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”

You are loved

The advent calendars are open and the first chocolate has been eaten, the first pictures gazed upon and the anticipation starts, but does it? December and the festive season is a time of mixed emotions for many people and certainly for many trans and questioning people.

“You are loved”

Why #GenderIdentityMatters

Good morning! Another busy week ahead for all of us. I hope that those of you in retail have survived Black Friday weekend and are now set for the fun and joy that is December. Yes! Can you believe it? December is just around the corner.

Last week was Trans Awareness Week and Trans Day of Remembrance, a week of raising awareness and understanding of what it means to be trans, how you can be an ally and a day when we think about those who lost the fight against hatred and transphobia. Thank you to everyone who donated to our #FlytheTransFlag campaign and flew the pink, blue and white stripes outside their windows, on their flagpoles or on their shirts. Without you, our allies, this would be a lonely world indeed. A special shout out to Trans*(Verse) for their moving poetry recital @TheArtHouseCIC after the Southampton event.

My thoughts are still with those of you who organised and conducted vigils across the world. This year I was privileged to stand alongside five others in Southampton at the Peace Fountain as we read out that long list of names. On Wednesday morning I shut my office door and transcribed that list, those 369 names, from www.tdor.translivesmatter.info, each name accompanied by an image. An image, a photo, a face, viewed across the world. An image, a photo, a hope encapsulated in 0s and 1s. An image, a photo, a face now gone. Taken. Ended. In writing that list I centred …

“Why #GenderIdentityMatters”

Friends and Allies

Today I was thinking about friends as I drove into work. The importance of friends and how those connections keep us whole. Friends come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes we’ll drive across the country to see them, other times it’s a chance meet up or a coffee. Friends do favours for us, they’ll feed our cats or go with us to a difficult appointment, they are there to share our triumphs and our challenges.

Allies are like friends but perhaps we don’t know them very well. They are those people who want to make the world a better place for more than just themselves, they are the ones who understand why it is important to have trans awareness week, why Pride matters. Allies may be those who have passed along the way before or simply want to walk alongside you. Allies may not always get it right but then nor do friends, sometimes we miss each other, words aren’t quite right, but that’s OK too. What counts is the caring, the passion, the support. Allies know why it’s important to #flythetransflag

Chrysalis is all about breaking down the barriers caused by isolation. When you are feeling unsure, when your dysphoria is high, when everyone around you seems to be a threat, then it can be hard to be your authentic self. Joining a new group isn’t always easy and for some it may take several tries to pick up the phone to contact us. We want to make it …

“Friends and Allies”

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day, my feed is full of people I have met along my travels remembering those who they served with. My grandma and child spent yesterday at Remembrance Day services. A moment out of our lives to think about war, and peace and hope for the future.

I heard Ian Rankin interviewed this morning about his 30 year old book that’s been reprinted, he said how the themes within the book were eerily relevant to modern times, well except for the 12 mentions of the new innovation of car central locking, 11 of those have been edited out.

Today is a day of reflection, of remembering, of thinking of all those who still grieve, who are still affected by the costs of war. Today is a day when, perhaps, there is stillness, for just a moment.

So today a reflective blog, a calm blog, a blog where I perhaps look outwards. A blog where I want to recognise all of those within Chrysalis who have a connection with the armed forces and for whom this day is not a day to remember history and a war that less and less people remember but a day to remember colleagues and loved ones.

Last week was a very rushed blog, but Monday was a great day. All day in Bournemouth meeting with some great new Chrysalis allies at Bournemouth Uni and catching up with those we’re already working with. The conference planning is moving on apace thanks to everyone who is involved …

“Remembrance Day”

What is safe space?

I’m back and I have 15 minutes to write my blog because today is a fun packed day at Bournemouth University, Chrysalis’ new partner. I can’t express how great it is for Chrysalis to have been welcomed into Bournemouth by so many institutions and individuals. We are really making an impact here and this is just the start of our Dorset adventures. #ChrysalisWessex is on the up.

Over the last week Deanna and Samantha have been valiantly keeping our Facebook page a safe space. It was perhaps inevitable that our campaign to encourage people to take a stance, to actively display that “it’s OK to be trans, it’s OK to be your authentic self” by #flythetransflag during Trans Awareness Week would come to the attention of people for whom perhaps the concept of an unsafe space has never really occurred. A massive thank you to Deanna and Samantha for all their moderating, shutting down those commenters who perhaps have never experienced the concept of an unsafe space, a space to which they haven’t automatically felt entitled to. To them I say “We will make space safe! We will show everyone that being authentic, being accepted is the reality.”

I’m back from holiday now and raring to go. Expect a lot more publicity about the campaign, expect some great new social media content and yes – if you want to get involved with our social media then please do drop the office a line. It’s pretty simple – be nice and …

“What is safe space?”

What is it to be trans? Reflection and training

What is it to be gender diverse? Is it an endless search for language to describe your inner experience? Perhaps it’s a gathering of all others together so you can share your triumphs and tribulations. Maybe you slip and slide out of control down the slope to the bottom of the pit before realising that transition is the answer. Maybe you meet with others, with someone who inspires you and you find your authenticity another way.

Whatever your truth is there will be people who have similar life experiences and those who don’t. People who know what it’s like to be your kind of trans and others who want to fit you into their boxes. The more I speak about binary and non-binary identities the more I realise that everyone’s truth is slightly different and that to try to fit other trans people into your box because it’s your truth is to falsely define what it is to be trans. Chrysalis has nearly 15 years’ experience in this field and I have close to 10, gathering everyone’s truths and holding them close. Respecting them and trying to refine them so that we can communicate them. Our training development team is wonderfully diverse, with binary and non-binary people, loved ones and allies all working together to develop a training package that respects each individual’s experience and draws together the common threads too.

Chrysalis has been commissioned to design and deliver training for the Crown Prosecution Service and we ran our pilot …

“What is it to be trans? Reflection and training”

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