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Gender Explorers
July 20, 2020
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Every week on Wednesday the office team gets together for a chat to see how we are all doing. Back in the days of yore we caught up on the fly, we were casual and spontaneous, now we are organised. I remember back in the past when we interviewed someone and they asked us about staff briefings and meetings and we were so chilled, “they happen when they need to happen, but we generally have a full staff meeting once a month” we thought that was all we needed with everyone on part time hours. Work time was too precious to spend it in meetings, we all had our tasks to do. But now time together is precious. Those weekly meetings and our check ins with Dawn are what has kept us going. With Q1 now completed and the need to report to the board looming Dawn put together some stats for me. Can you believe that in three months lockdown has brought us together for 99 more meeting hours than before? We are making the time to be with each other, making the time to connect.

Last week the networking stepped up a gear thanks to Paeton and the #TourdeTrans team when we appeared on Pink Saltire to talk about the tour when it reaches Scotland, about being non-binary and about connecting up LGBT+ people and organisations across England and Scotland. Thanks so much to Dom for hosting a great show. If I haven’t mentioned it before I am totally in awe of Paeton and Callum in their aiming for this goal, a cycle ride that is so long that a detour to Southampton on Sunday 16th August for our pRide Along event seems like nothing, a cycle ride where they will be covering a staggering 70miles a day! I just completed the Couch to 5k and now feel like I’m fit, their drive and ability is beyond incredible. Check out Paeton’s blog, @TourdeTrans and the Tour de Trans part of our website to get up to the minute information about why the journey is important to them, to Chrysalis and to all of us.

Andi and Colin checking the tech on Streamlabs before the Pink Saltire broadcast
Tour de Trans – bringing us together across genders and across Britain

The talking continued with gasp an actual pint in an actual pub! A chance to meet with one of our volunteers for a catch up and to talk about how we can develop in Portsmouth – If you have ideas and want to get involved in the planning then there are still a couple of spaces at our Beyond Lockdown – How can Chrysalis coexist with Covid-19 events this week. Message for an invite. We are hoping for a wide cross-section of views from people who currently use the groups to those who have never been able to, people who volunteer, supporters and those who’d like to get involved. You all count and you all have experiences which are valid to us.

A meeting with the LGBT Foundation on Tuesday was a chance to speak about my personal experiences of lockdown and to share those of our members. Taking part in a qualitative study about the impact of lockdown on trans and non-binary people specifically, talking about how our LGBT+ community has come together to help each other. I have missed connecting with new people and new thoughts over these last months, spent too long staring at the screen, reading news and views. Connecting with real people is so much more than that, a chance to bounce ideas off each other, think about the bigger picture,  share experiences and heartfelt moments when trust grows and we can share our hurt as well as our happiness. Connecting through likes on Twitter or LinkedIn is a poor simulacrum for those bonds that we form when we have long and open conversations with each other. Thanks to those who took the time to attend the event, and thanks to our wonderful host Zane, for giving us that opportunity to come together.

Gosh! More things! A chance to explore the potential of creating a centre of excellence for trans health and well-being in Hampshire – watch this space and your inboxes for a survey to see what you think. A board meeting and more statistics, your charity is doing so well, and the date for the AGM has been tentatively set as Saturday 7th November. A meeting with SVS and many other charities in Southampton talking about what we are all doing to come out of lockdown, the worries we have but also the strengths that have been built up over the last four months, the incredible resilience and adaptability of all our staff and volunteers, how people have stepped up and want to give more. A planning meeting for the pRide Along event and catching up with politics. Working with MPs and others to bring the real feelings of trans and non-binary people to the table. To showcase the positives about being trans, and about transition, to share real stories of real people going about their real lives. Working towards a place where being trans is just an aspect of who we are and not the only thing people see.

One of the good things about board meetings is that the board members then volunteer to help you out with stuff. Welcome to An Law and Russell Thackeray, the talent on our board is staggering. Check out the Governance section on the website for more information and updates on the board and our achievements. Thanks to Jon for the final touches on last years accounts, it’s great to be able to put something back in reserves as well as ensure that we can operate in good health this coming year. I’m so proud to be able to show the board that every month we are supporting more people through one-to-one counselling, virtual support groups and the Friday drop-in. Thanks to all our volunteers for continuing to deliver this amazing service and balancing Chrysalis work with their paid employment.

Chrysalis' 2nd online board meeting - nine trustees on Teams
The future is now – board meetings on line

This week will be taken up with meetings with some of the board, a bit of HR and Marketing focus this week, and the Beyond Lockdown events. Thanks to Joanne Lockwood of See Change Happen for her help and support with these. It’s so nice to be able to get an expert in and Joanne has been very much at the forefront of online training and facilitation development over the last few months.

And finally – this is your morning cat fix – say hi to Helena

Helena the tortoiseshell cat lying down and looking cute
Helena – trying to be cute


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