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March 22, 2021
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What drives change?

Today’s blog is brought to you by the power of looking forward. I’ve seen enough retrospectives over the last couple of weeks to feel that perhaps we’ve all had our fill of looking backwards.

Last week I viewed the Women and Equality Committee hearing evidence from those who really know why the Gender Recognition Act should be reformed and I have a new hero in Cat Burton, Chair of GIRES, a most eloquent speaker. The ridiculous hyperbole that has come to surround this simple, humane and respectful piece of reform, intended to make some few people’s lives that bit better has never been more elegantly corrected.

Last week also saw people talking about the Census and the two voluntary questions. The gathering of real data from every household to gain understanding of this exact moment in time. Data that will inform policy locally and nationally, data to prioritise funding, data we can use to press for change. Real change. And in that gathering I saw something else beautiful, I saw the empowerment of individuals to come out. I saw the moment when people felt, for the first time, able to be legally visible, and the sense of inclusion that gave. Lasting change doesn’t start with a voluntary question on a decennial survey, but to my mind those questions most definitely will drive change.

The evidence session could not have been more timely, the discussion around simplifying a legal process, making it more humane; coupled with the hard data that will for once and for all define the edges of the issue will provide all of us with the validation that has been so hard fought for. The moment which makes all of those Pride marches, all the hardships worthwhile.

So what drives change? the build up of pressure inside, inside the system, inside ourselves, a gradual build up on knowledge that things have to get better, things need to be better for ourselves, our families, our society, and a knowledge among those who truly count that it is only through removing the barriers to authenticity that everyone benefits. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are those for whom change is scary, those who want to squish it down, build the dam higher, those who stand there in the face of the inevitable flow forwards of awareness, the increase in understanding that comes from growing up and learning to listen but the groundswell is increasing.

I think about how many trans people are able to question their assigned gender labels now, the number of people who saw themselves reflected for the first time in questions on a government survey, the number of parents who were validated in their support of their gender variant children, despite all the challenges. The number of teachers and policy makers who saw their hard work on pushing the rock of system change had finally brought it to the crest of the mountain. I think of all those trans people who have gone before, the fighters, and the quiet ones, the ones who were supported all the way through by loved ones and those who had to make some tough choices but who have now their found families who affirm and love their authentic selves. I think about those who went through the fires of change and came out like phoenix, their true selves shining so brightly that their loved ones finally understood who it was they had cared for all along. And I think “this is your change, this one is for you.”

So where do we go with all this power for change? How does this link to Chrysalis except in the abstract? Where is your immediate change?

The power and energy of change resides in me, in all of us within Chrysalis and we have a new challenge. This time last year we rose to meet the changes that were forced upon us, and those changes drove something greater, we didn’t just go online but we built and developed and are now ready to take the next leap. This time our change comes from within, we are ready to grow and develop, to move back out to face to face groups and counselling and to expand. Perhaps not yet to take over the world but certainly to take our brand of support and affirmation outside of Wessex. Watch this space for the new adventures of Chrysalis.

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