It can be a daunting prospect getting in touch with Chrysalis. We very frequently get people who hang up when we answer the phone; reaching out for help can be really nerve wracking. What am I signing up for? There’s a group… are they sending me to group therapy? I’m not ready to talk about my thoughts and feeling in front of strangers.
Last week I ventured to the Basingstoke Trans* and Questioning group to gain an insight into what happens in these session, which I’d like to share with anyone who would love the support but is (like me) uncomfortable at the notion of walking into a room full of people they don’t know.
I met the facilitator, Hannah, beforehand. We had a great chat with a person looking to be the new co-facilitator, when asked why she wanted to volunteer for Chrysalis her answer was that she wants to do more to help trans* people than just standing up to transphobes online… I think she’s the right person for the job!
Hannah led me to the meeting place, where we met two more volunteers. We set up the room, tea and coffee facilities. Once the beneficiary arrived, Hannah unveiled an array of boardgames, which we played for most of the evening, just us volunteers played together whilst the individual counselling happened… We may have gotten slightly competitive. It was good fun, and despite not knowing a single person, I felt very much at home.
Usually there are several beneficiaries in the Basingstoke group and as there was only one on this evening, she said she felt bad that four of us had come out just for her. Well no, I thought, that’s what Chrysalis is here for; it doesn’t matter if we’re helping just one person or one hundred people – trans lives matter, all of them.
Callum – Fundraising and Social Media Officer