All posts by yorklgbt

Lord Mayor Charity of the Year

We are very glad to be chosen as a Lord Mayor Charity of the Year. We have lots of fundraising events coming up so please do look at the events page for more detail.

We will use the money on the following projects:

  • LGBT Social Group
  • Outreach into York surrounding environs
  • Funding our LGBT refugee project
  • Helping LGBT Homeless people in york
  • Drama Group
  • An allotment/garden
  • Fund youth groups if their funding stops
  • Friending Groups
  • Mindfulness groups
  • Develop the hate crime line
  • To expand the school’s project
  • Expand the transgender workshop

Meet Lisa…

Hello everyone,

I’m Lisa, and I am two and a half years into my transition, it’s a long drawn out process for anyone to transition either MTF or FTM, I still have approximately two more years to go before I leave NHS care and my place is taken by somebody else who is just starting out on their own journey.

I started my transition later in life than most people and this was mainly due to the fact I spent most of my adult life living in a small town.

Allow me to explain…

Like most transgender people, I knew from an early age that I was different to other people, but living in a small town where most people know you, or know of you through your family or friends, doing something about my ‘problem’ was practically impossible because back in the 80’s and indeed most of the 90’s, legislation in the UK was still pretty much non-existent or at best left far too many loopholes that people could exploit to discriminate against a transgender person.

Times and attitudes change though, and although massive hurdles and obstacles have been negated throughout the late 90’s and into the 21st century, for as long as I lived in that small town I could not feel comfortable nor safe and so a move to a city was needed in order for me to begin my own transition.

Why is it so hard for a person living in a village or town to transition into their correct gender?

Well, although attitudes and legislation have changed, and people like myself are afforded much greater protection, there is still an awful long way to go before a transgender person will always feel safe and protected enough to transition whilst living in a small community like a town or village. There is still a massive need for education among the general public, There is still a need for more public places where the trans community can venture out and be safe from the strange looks, the offensive comments, the mocking and the violence that can occur and indeed does occur.

Lots of cities in the UK have a recognised ‘pink zone’ or gay village, like canal street in Manchester, or the Briggate area of Leeds, but a town or village is never going to house a ‘pink zone’. York at present does not have a ‘pink zone’ despite several LGBT venues, and at present a lot of these safer places to socialise in are in very close proximity to routes and establishments frequently used by race goers, hen parties, stag nights and general nights out where drunkenness is common place and with drunkenness also comes the greater prospect of verbal or physical abuse, especially towards people who may just ‘look different’ like a transgender person.

You see, a gay, lesbian or bisexual person is not easy to spot in a crowd, sexuality is not a physical appearance, but transgender is, and is not something that is easily hidden among a crowd, and this makes transitioning that much harder when you live within a small community, it is hard enough within a city where less people know who you are, but near on impossible in a town or village without a lot of help and support.

So, how can you help?

One voice in a crowd will not be heard, many voices in a crowd and the noise becomes too much to ignore.

If you are transgender, know somebody who is, or are just happy to help a worthy cause, then I need you among my Trans sub group for the York LGBT Forum.

I aim to target those towns and villages by way of educating people about why a transgender person will not be any more harmful to them than the person who is standing next to them, that a transgender person is just a normal human being just like they are, that a transgender person is going through an awfully tough time in order to live their life in the gender that they choose and that a transgender person is not their enemy but their friend, a friend who may need support, just as a transgender person can offer that support to someone who is not transgender.

I also aim to try and make York itself a place where the transgender community can feel safe enough to go out and have fun, socialise and go about everyday life without fear or trepidation.

Part of that second aim is already in progress with York’s own equivalent to Leeds’ LFF, YTS (York Third Saturday) is a night out organised primarily for the Trans community, but also integrating the L,G & B community as well as anyone else who doesn’t care what sexuality, gender, colour or creed a person is.

YTS takes place on the 3rd Saturday of each month and is a social night, commencing at Thomas’s Bar 8pm, moving on to the Corner Pin at 10pm and finally into Flares, for which there is a small entrance fee, at around midnight.

If you think you can offer any help, or would like to join the Trans sub group for York LGBT Forum, then please get in touch via the York LGBT Forum website.

Thank you for reading, listening and understanding,

Lisa Kelly,
York LGBT Forum, Trans sub group leader.

“It does get better” Me & Sir Ian

IMG_0308Well today started like no other. I got up, I ate breakfast, I had coffee, I got the chicken out the freezer for tonight’s dinner, I kissed my wife goodbye and drove to work.

However, my day took a remarkable twist.
Mid morning I received a phonecall to say that Sir Ian McKellen was en route to York to deliver an important message to 2 local schools and would I like to come along? In a very high pitched positive squeal, the poor person on the other end of the phone eventually got the jist that – YES I absolutely would love to come along.

So by 3pm in the afternoon, there I was….stood next to Sir Ian. imageNot wanting to miss an opportunity, I expertly picked up a copy of the It Gets Better book en route to the school in the hope Sir Ian would do us the great honour of signing the book. Sir Ian was only to happy to oblige & congratulate the Forum on our plan to make the Schools Book Donation an annual event.  (Who knows, he might come back next year for more signings!)

On a more serious note, Sir Ian’s message to the Students and Staff was strong yet simple – we are all different! Some people wear glasses, some people are tall, some people have never been on a plane before, some people have brown hair, some people are gay. There is room for everyone BUT what there is no room for, is bullying!!!

For some, the effects of bullying can have a profound and long lasting impact. We all have a duty to take action and stamp out not just homophobic bullying but all forms of bullying. There simply is no place for it in our society.

By signing a pledge to ourselves, our schools, our workplaces, our families, our friends and ourselves, we can stamp it out.

Stonewall’s No ByStanders Campaign

So – what you waiting for…. listen to Sir Ian and sign the Stonewall Pledge today….

” I WILL NEVER BE A BYSTANDER TO BULLYING AND TEASING LANGUAGE. IF I HEAR IT, I WILL CALL IT OUT AND IF I CAN, I WILL STOP IT. BY ADDING MY NAME I PROMISE TO STAND UP FOR FAIRNESS, KINDNESS AND NEVER BE A BYSTANDER”

 

CPS Hate Crime Schools Launch

At the end of May, our very own Jen Gagg attended the CPS Hate Crime Schools Launch in London.
Here’s what Jen had to say following the event – 

Today was the launch of the new resource toolkit for schools.  The toolkit aims to tackle homophobia and transphobia in schools.

The day started with a warm welcome from Peter Lewis the Chief Executive of the CPS (Crime Prosecution Service).   We listened to a number of people throughout the day but the two speakers who stood out for me were Joshua Garfield of Proud London whose talk was entitled ‘Taking Part’ and Jay Stewart, co-founder of Gender Intelligence.

All the speakers spoke about what is just, fair, safe and decent.

Many schoolchildren sadly suffer in silence.

According to Superintendent Paul Giannasi, there are 3 key heading areas that we should focus on:-

1. Prevention
2. Responding
3. Educating

School life can be a hostile place and we should not be bystanders.

Youth Trans did a project and out of 7000 16-25 year olds, 1000 were identified as Trans.  72% of those self harm and cyber bullying in particular is on the increase.  The message was clear – much more needs to be done!

LGB & T students don’t want to be tolerated, they want to be celebrated and loved.

Another stark message struck a chord and was most definitely loud and clear;

Challenge It, Report It, Stop It!
PrtScr capture_10

This new resource toolkit will give support to many in raising awareness but making sure that people know about it will be the challenge!

We can spread that message, let’s start today!

You can download a copy of the toolkit from the True Vision website under Education Support.

Thanks for reading,

Jen

Making History in York

I’m Jo, the Secretary of the York LGBT Forum.  Jo and Catherine

I’m also a newlywed…but what I didn’t know when I married the love of my life last Thursday was that we would be making history when we became the first same sex couple to marry in York.

We never knew any of this would happen when we fell in love.
To us, despite what it was called, we felt that Catherine would be my wife, and I hers and we would be married, regardless of the rest of the world calling us Civil Partners.  However when the registrar said ‘Will you take Catherine to be your wife’ I was so overwhelmed with so much emotion. The fact that our marriage is validated in law as being just as sacred, legal and important as a heterosexual one actually means a lot more to me than I thought it did.

We have yet to encounter any homophobia or discrimination. Every single part of our wedding was full of love, happiness and positive people, from the hotel, to the photographer, to the registrars, to the florist, to the fantastic and slightly crazy DJ. We’re preparing ourselves for a bit of a battle with the less lesbian friendly banks and formal institutions when we take our double barrelled surname to them but in the meantime we’re sitting in Cumbria, with a glass of sparkly, reliving the day that we made history.

LGBT History Month, the Sochi Winter Olympics and a brand new website

It’s all going on in the month of February!!!

Sochi

Over the last 2 months, work has been underway behind the scenes to develop our new look website.  We are excited to be launching the site this month which coincides with a whole host of LGBT related activities and issues.

LGBT history

 

 

We hope you find the information presented on the site useful.  It’s still very much a work in progress and will no doubt continue to evolve over time.  For that reason, we very much welcome your feedback.

 

 

Tell us your thoughts by filling in our Contact Form

In particular, we are keen to learn more about what’s missing from the site.

What would you like information on that we don’t currently as yet provide?

Be part of the Forum’s future here in the historic city of York and take the opportunity to get involved, the journey starts here!