This has been a year of first journeys for me, and writing a blog is just one of them, so please join me and let’s take this one together.
Usually the first thing people ask me about the Tour de Trans is why? The answer has layers; this is a journey of many dimensions.
Perfectly timed as part of my own personal pathway to wholeness, which started a few weeks before lockdown. A way to externalise a struggle which has roiled deeply in my soul since childhood.
This is very intensely personal to me, and yet is something bigger. Every one of the thousand-plus miles of this bike ride is a statement. Gender identity matters. Trans rights are human rights. Non-binary people are valid. Trans men are men. Trans women are women. These are not just phrases I hashtag regularly on social media. There are truths and reasons. Truths the world needs to hear and accept. Reasons for trans people to stand together and be seen, heard, counted and respected as equals among all.
Every pedal stroke, whether in a sweat-soaked haze as I push myself above lactate threshold, or on the road between Cornwall and Scotland, resonates these reasons and truths. Cycling as a sport featured prominently in my previous life and when I began my journey to wholeness, I had to look deeply inside and decide whether it was part of me or the person I was trying to be.
Happily, I found not only the certainty that my love of cycling is truly me, but also the conviction I have lacked for years to embark on a ride of this magnitude. One turbo-training session a few weeks into lockdown, the Tour de Trans was birthed in the depths of a sweaty, panting, zombie-like state as I fought my way up an imaginary mountain pass right there in my lounge.
Challenging the roar of personal demons as I grappled the reality of who I really am for the first time in my life, I determined to make this Tour something that could reach out and touch others – others going through transition, others that are questioning, others that love someone trans, others that stand up and speak out on important transgender issues. Others for whom the support Chrysalis gives means the difference between falling broken along the way, and emerging as happy, healthy and productive members of society.
The second question I normally get asked is why now? This I will talk to in my next post.
I hope to see you there.