The advent calendars are open and the first chocolate has been eaten, the first pictures gazed upon and the anticipation starts, but does it? December and the festive season is a time of mixed emotions for many people and certainly for many trans and questioning people.
Whilst being trans isn’t a predicator of poor mental health or familial rejection there’s no denying that many trans people are rejected by their families and come to find new families within the trans community. All our Chrysalis Trans and Questioning support groups will be running on the 20th December to allow our group members to access their counselling and find support with those who understand, who share their experience and who have become their friends.
For those who follow the news it would seem that there is an increase in awareness of those who ‘detransition’ and it would be wrong of me to ignore this since we at Chrysalis are very aware of the pain and thought and consideration that goes into each individual’s choices. We have people who come to the groups who have held off transitioning until they are past retirement because they feared judgement, censure or rejection. We know, because we speak to all our group members, that even after transition there is still internalised transphobia, bigotry and societal pressures to withstand. Being authentic is hard and sometimes it’s not enough to get you through the dark times, sometimes love of a partner is a greater driver and that’s OK too. Chrysalis works with both binary and non-binary individuals, as well as those who are questioning their gender identity. As societal understanding moves away from a fixation on a gender binary then more individuals will be able to find their own truth. Find their own place of overlap somewhere between the three circles of gender identity, body and expression. The more society opens up the more we can define ourselves.
Before I move on to a precis of this week and the last I would like to say one more thing on the subject of discussion of other’s gender identity and that is to please be aware that every time an individual’s gender identity is discussed and opined upon in the media a trans person you know hurts a bit more. No one goes into this easily and no one more than the trans person themselves has asked over and over again “Am I real, do I know what I’m doing, should I do this?” Take care of your trans people, step up to their defense because they may look like they’re doing OK but they still need your support.
I was quite quiet on social media last week – so now I really should shout about the training that Maximillian and I delivered for the Crown Prosecution Service up at the Ministry of Justice (no phone boxes but it’s still quite an exciting place and also I’d like to thank Samo of Play Dead Studios in Southsea who is selling prints of his You Are Loved piece to celebrate 50 years since Stonewall and to raise money for Chrysalis. Check them out here https://www.facebook.com/samo.white.1/posts/10162488556975562 and own some incredible art
Now, before I rush off to spend the day with Hampshire Constabulary what else is on for this week?
Today I’m off to Bournemouth for a strategy meeting, it’s so great that we’ve got a wonderful strong team down there and I’m looking forward to talking about how we can develop our support in the area. Want to get involved? I’m looking for counselling supervisors to help us develop our counselling services. Before Bournemouth I’m speaking with Lisa and others about opening Chrysalis Trans and Questioning support on the IoW. Yep, a Chrysalis group is coming to an island near you soon
Tomorrow is a much needed day in the office, catching up with Dawn and some of the trustees. Wednesday is a chance to look at the future of Chrysalis and how we’re going to keep developing, informing our work with hard facts and the latest research (watch this space, I’ll update when I can)
Thursday I’m off to the London Gender Clinic and then Friday I’m back in the office as it’s time for the monthly report before heading into Southampton for a pre-recorded BBC radio show discussing what it is to be non-binary.