Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Monday, 23 November 2015

Girls Doing for Ourselves

I know a busy weekend is nothing that unusual for me! I am constantly over committing and taking on slightly more than I can manage, you see I'm just a girl who can't say no, and every now and then my worlds collide and I end up running around in ever decreasing circles until I disappear up my own fundamental oraphis! This week end was in danger of being one of those occasions.

On Friday evening after an extensive day's work  I met up with some good friends for the London TDOR event, this was a very moving occasion, organised and presented by and for the Trans community. On these occasions it not only strikes me how cruel the world can be but also just how many of us, in our diverse expressions of gender, there are.   There were many there who I already knew, but even more I have yet to meet.   Afterwards we followed the traditional routine and adjourned to an adjacent hostelry. Several bottles of wine later I managed to remember that I had to get home, a journey involving two walks and two trains, in the end by the time I managed to get home it was the wee small hours of the morning, so I had all too few hours sleep before getting up and starting to prepare for our own TDOR event in Croydon.

There has been an act of remembrance for many years in Croydon, and this is the second year that I have led the event, last year we had a simple ceremony, but we wanted to build on this.   Previous years' events had been put on by the Excellent Aurora, Croydon's LGBT/Police consultative group, this year we were keen that the Trans community should be much more involved in both the organisation and presentation of the event. We had a wonderful event, suitably solemn, but at the same time celebrating our lives, I think we successfully managed to involve both the local Trans
Community and supporters. I hope to have some photos at some point and will (maybe) write more on this event then.
It was wonderful to have the wonderfully talented Stephanie sing for us and Faye play her Sax, with a mixture of ceremony, music and poetry I feel we struck the right note with our event, and for the first time we did it for ourselves.

I have no wish to belittle the work put into previous year's events, Aurora have done a wonderful job and we would have nothing without them, no, we are standing on the shoulders of giants, yet somehow this year it felt that it was time that we did it for our selves.   That we should make this an event put on by, and for the Trans community.   I am so grateful to all the guys from Aurora and CAGS for all the physical, and financial assistance that they have given us this year and previous years.  I am grateful to Croydon Council for providing us with a space and refreshments, I am grateful to Croydon Library for letting us put up a display there prior to the event (and to Roger for putting it all together), I am grateful to my friends in TransPALS for bringing it all together, despite my own disorganisation.  But most of all I am grateful to those who turned up and made this a valuable event in the life of the community.

This has been an important year in the life of the Trans Community here and around the world. We have witnessed some high profile transitions, and more and more public figures are coming out. I won't go as far as to say that being Trans is now normal in most people's experience, but it is definitely less scary, and more and more people know that they know a trans person.   It is becoming less hard to walk down the road without fear, more and more girls are feeling able to go beyond their own front door, and as more people read about those high profile outings, less feel the need to ask inappropriate questions.

Here in Croydon we have had a year of change, the old Croydon Trans Group as developed into TransPALS, now serving all of South London, we have more members, but have still to reach a lot of people who don't yet know us. We have developed a different management structure and are slowly managing to be more involved in London and National forums and campaigns as well as local and individual issues, yet still want to put on more events.   Maybe we are not quite ready to run yet, but this weekend we walked a lot faster.
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