This weekend I will be travelling again ~ I seem to have been doing quite a bit of that recently with a trip to Paris a few weeks ago, then after that a trip up to Lincolnshire to see my good friend P. I don't think I've seen her since she retired and moved. Although I think her husband may have got a bit fed up with our constant natter it did make me realise just how much I had missed our chats and our lunches! It also made me realise just how far I have come over the last few years.Croydon Symphonic Band ~ to play in the finals of the National Concert Band Festival. This will be our tenth appearance at the finals (which are by invitation), of course just being there feels pretty prestigious, but in many ways the level of award says even more. So far we have received (I think) at least six awards at Gold or higher standard, so in some ways getting anything less could be seen as failure! One aspect of being a community band is that we are non-selective, and in the case of CSB whoever turns up plays ~ this means that we rarely have a stable band for even an entire season, the instrumental balance is more down to demographics than musicality, and we never know what standard we are going to be at, all this makes the job of our Musical Director rather challenging and must add to his stress levels. It certainly says a lot for his abilities and his musicality that we have been able to play at such a consistently high standard for so long.
|With Big Shiny after playing|
at the 2015 finals
Another reason why I am so keen to enjoy this trip is that if our Government follow through with the changes to the Equalities Act that were telegraphed last week, and which I wrote about here this could well be my last chance to enjoy this sort of thing legally. Given that the journey is likely to take about 5 hours, there's no way that I could go that long without a "comfort break", these proposed changes would make that unviable, I would be breaking the law if I used the "Ladies" and it wouldn't be safe to use the "Gents". With no guarantee of there being any provision of a gender a neutral facility I simply would not be able to make the journey.
Then of course I don't know what provisions are made at the hall. Many venues provide separate men's and women's changing rooms, it would be illegal for me to use the women's changing room, instead I would be expected to use the men's ~ fine, unless anyone, including me, needs to use them as a changing room! I would be put in this type of invidious situation every time I left home regardless of having obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate and had Gender Confirmation Surgery!
So, if you haven't already, please sign this petition, with over 130,000 signatures the Government is already obliged to hold a debate, but the more signatures we can get, the more support that can be demonstrated for trans people the better ~ the more we can move trans rights away from being a debate!