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The Chrysalis outdoor stand flying all the trans flags at Eastleigh Mela
June 8, 2020
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This month is Pride month, we should be celebrating our freedom, our authenticity and our future but somehow that doesn’t feel right. Trans and non-binary people come in all shapes and sizes, from all races and ethnicities and are of all ages. Being trans is simply an aspect of our whole self. Sometimes our transness takes  centre stage, we need to do something, we need to change, to come  out but at other times the rest of our world is more important.

The weekend saw some tremendous, momentous events. A recognition that racism is still rife in this country and that now is the time for systemic change. A time for those with lived experience to share their stories, to gain a platform that is all too often denied. I’ve seen discussion and debate on social media which shows that for some there is an increase in understanding and for others perhaps simply that the dialogue is shifting. As always I remain hopeful, a firm believer in the general progress of our society. Working as I do with those who are tasked with writing policy, with ensuring inclusion, I know there are vast numbers of allies out there, those who simply want the world to be an OK place for everyone. But at every conference I attend, every conversation I have there is always the statement that you need management buy in before real change can happen. It’s not simply enough to pay lipservice by hiring a diversity professional and getting a tick in your training box.

In changing this country we, all of us, need to take our own part in that management, that seismic shift that says “we are better than this”. So how can Chrysalis be better? How can we show that we are open to all, that we are willing to learn where we have our own blind spots? Back in 2018 we were lucky to have an intern sponsored by Solent University who we commissioned to carry out the initial research for a project looking into a project looking at Growing up trans in UK African Culture, this is work that I would like to continue. We also have a clear statement that discriminatory language and conduct will not be accepted at any of our groups and our facilitators will address any issues that arise. But we can do more, we should be actively recruiting among BAME communities for volunteers and trustees, we should be looking at our own networks, building and developing them, attending events that are not about LGBT+ issues. As always I have lots of ideas and would love to hear yours. If you feel that we are not adequately serving your community then get in touch. You can email me directly on andi.maratos@chrysalisgim.org.uk

At the moment I’m sure you will all agree with me, the world seems to be turning faster than someone whose completed the Couch to 5k app in nine weeks can run, every time I think I’ve a handle on what’s happening we have more change around the corner. We are most definitely living in interesting times but from these times come great changes. Perhaps it would be nice to go back to those heady days of gosh, was it only February? But we can’t go back, we must go forward, Chrysalis lives and thrives in periods of change and transition, it’s what we do, so yes we will all change and we will keep growing and developing and learning and while we’re doing that if you want our help then drop us a message.

What’s on for this week in my world- humn, probably a bit more keeping up with current affairs, I know I’ve got a lot more involved with LinkedIn recently and will have another article coming out soon. We are working towards at least one team member returning to our physical office so I get to go back to our homeland, check out the borders and look at my lovely sofa as I complete the risk assessment and drop off cleaning supplies. I also get to move my office, not quite so far, only upstairs but finally I get my own working space here at home which means I’ll probably need to move sad aloe-vera and orchid upstairs to keep giving them the love, they are certainly happier than they’ve been in a year or so.

Tuesday is looking quite busy: a chat with Steven from Portsmouth Council about funding, then a chat with CUBE about training opportunites for Chrysalis staff and volunteers, a chance to catch up with my one-to-one person and then I get to go to the Galactic Collaboration Summit! Now that’s definitely not something I would have envisioned typing back in February.

After the fun of Tuesday the rest of my week currently looks quite unallocated, this is a good thing as Dawn will tell you, time for me to get back to focusing on the actual work, continuing to catch up and plot and plan to make your charity better and better.

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