Running Beyond Reflections is a whirl of different activities. Last week I let you into my mind so you could understand my motivation and ways of working. This week I’m going to take you on a tour of some of my networking for the charity. I want to show you how I stay positive and will never stop believing in the power of authenticity to allow someone to reach their full potential and achieve lasting mental wellbeing.
Why does Beyond Reflections go to Pride?
To network, to meet new members and volunteers. To talk about our work and to gather new supporters. Pride energises us. Being with our community sustains us through the darker days. Running a stand at Pride requires planning, coordination and a whole lot of effort but it is always worth it.
Beyond Reflections has a mission to deliver world class mental wellbeing support across the country, you can’t simply do that by helicoptering into an area. You need to build your knowledge, get to know people. Find your allies and supporters. We have a priority to reopen face-to-face support in Bournemouth. So, we took the Beyond Reflections stall to Bourne Free.
We made so many valuable connections, talked with new members and volunteers and met up with old friends. I was able to meet MJ from STARS and David Sidwick the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset as well as many others. Our inboxes have been full of fantastic new connections.
Free to be me
I absolutely love Pride, long time followers of my blog will know that I came out at Pride in London back in 2014. My training as a therapist taught me the theory behind the power of authenticity. Being at that Pride showed me the worth. I was finally ‘free to be me’ and it was amazing!
Our stall was next to Space Youth Project. It was there I spoke with Jay on the subject of authenticity. We were sharing our joy at all the young people wearing their shades of the rainbow, proud of their pronouns. We saw how free they were and how the world has changed so that young people can grow up free of denial and self-hate.
A trip to London
Why was I going to London? Because Patrick from Unison extended me an invite to an evening with Mark Segal. Mark Segal is a pioneering gay rights activist. He was there when the Stonewall raids happened. He raised awareness for LGBTQ+ people across America, and the world. This was his first speaking tour in the UK, and I was beyond privileged to be invited.
History is one of my loves. Hearing Mark speak was like entering a piece of living history. What would our world have been like without his innovative ways of drawing attention to the needs of LGBTQ+ people to be given the same rights as the rest of the population? What would Pride be like if Mark and his friends hadn’t had that first march?
The world needs people like Mark, and Patrick, and all the other wonderful people I meet. People who know it’s OK to be authentic. People who see that the world can be improved. Not just for them but for everyone.
Be your best self
Here at Beyond Reflections, we play our part in making a better world too. In our valuing of authenticity, in our respect of the individual and acceptance that everyone is different we empower our members to understand themselves better and to make healthy decisions. That is not simply a tag line but the core and essence of what we do. The reason we do it is because we know that trans people will always need to transition, to be out to thrive.
I think of those wonderful young people at Pride, and I see the power in them to make the world a better place because they won’t have to fight to simply be. That work is done.
Another blog done, another few words to bring the inside of Beyond Reflections to you. It’s not easy delivering mental wellbeing today, but I leave you with words I shared with Mark. Because of the work we all do more LGBTQ+ people than ever know the power of being authentic, of being visible and of being free. They can never not know that. You cannot make history flow backwards.