What does it mean if you’re an ally?
Ask Google that question and you get a metaphor for an answer, a link to Culture Club’s first video but Chrysalis has an answer. An ally is someone who wants to make the world a better place for everyone, who wants to create safe spaces, who believes everyone has the right to be their most authentic self.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and included in our local community and you can help! Join our #FlytheTransFlag campaign www.flythetransflag.co.uk and get the trans flag flying high and proud across the country during Trans Awareness Week 12th to 19th November.
Don’t worry if you haven’t got a flagpole. You can put the flag in your window, hang it up behind your desk or just get one of our great new #FlytheTransFlag pins so you can even be flying the flag on your commute to work.
Allies are so very important, you are the people who have the power to change the world, to be that voice on those days when your trans friend doesn’t have one. You know that you don’t need to know everything about being trans to understand that acceptance and freedom to live authentically without fear is just what your colleagues and customers need.
Putting together todays blog I did indeed rewatch the video for Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? Growing up in the 80s was a strange and scary time, it really wasn’t OK to be any type of queer and I like so many others just squished it all down. Then along comes Culture Club and brought that challenge into the mainstream. Listening to that song again, after all these years, has brought rather a lot of feelings back. He made it much more OK to think about being me, but at the same time the haunting music still spoke the words of fear, the threat of the pain of authenticity. Because whether or not someone really wanted to hurt me, hurt me they could and did.
Hurt, harm and transphobia was the theme of the two workshops I held at our Bournemouth and Fareham Trans and Questioning Support groups on Thursday and Friday, thank you so much to both of the groups for letting me join you and for being so open and honest. Your words and experiences have stayed with me all weekend and I know will inform much of Chrysalis’ training and indeed campaigns like #FlytheTransFlag
Your words empathised why trans people need allies. When it feels like the whole world is against you, when threat comes from every corner, when you are followed home by a gang shouting abuse from their car, when you are called a pervert or threatened just for using a public toilet then who do you turn to? Who can you consider safe? When you transgress the boundaries of gender normativity, when you are other, then you need a visible symbol of support, of safety. A flag in a window is a sign saying “you are welcome”, a clear indicator that “here is safety”. A flag from a flagpole is a sign that “you are safe in this area, this public space is yours too”. A pin badge says “I won’t hurt you.”
How powerful is that?
This blog is generally meant to be about what’s been on and what’s happening with me and Tiny Car as we run Chrysalis, but sometimes it’s more than that. Sometimes it is my space to tell you how you can make a difference and even more importantly the impact of that change.
I’m signing off now but will meet you again in love and respect as we all carry on this journey. As we all find our own ways to make things better. Message firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to find out more.