Guest Column: York LGBT Forum - Transgender Subgroup

18th August 2016

Photo by Renata Nascimento

Photo by Renata Nascimento

York LGBT Forum is now 10 years old, became a registered charity in 2015 and is currently one the Lord Mayor of York’s Charities of the year, but who or what are the York LGBT Forum? Lisa Kelly, Co-Chair to the forum is going to start a regular column here with us, telling readers all about the charity and helping to raise awareness all things LGBT. Catch up with previous columns HERE, and read on for more…

Spotlight: Transgender Subgroup. The York LGBT Forum has several subgroups: this time we focus on the work the transgender group is doing.

The transgender subgroup hosts a social night every month at Thomas of York Pub, an LGBT friendly venue. The social night runs from 9pm until 3am on the third Saturday of the month, is called York Third Saturday (YTS) and is a night where transgender people can get together and feel safe enough to be themselves in the company of other transgender people and other members of the LGBT community who are very welcoming of transgender people. The night consists of food and socialising until 10pm (you do have to pay for your own food) followed by Queenie Buffay, Drag DJ, playing music all night that will keep you singing or dancing or both.

As usual, full details can be found on our Facebook page, along with details of the Transgender Workshop.

The transgender workshop was set up because of the plight transgender people face and is the first of its kind in Yorkshire. Transgender people are at a very high risk of attempting suicide, suffering mental health issues, self-harming, the reasons being cumulative. Many transgender people when first setting out to transition find they are stuck on a waiting list for up to 4 years before being seen by a gender clinic, during this time they have no help at all and often suffer verbal or physical abuse. Low confidence and self-esteem can quickly become shattered completely often leaving transgender people thinking they have no chance at all of just being able to live a normal life.

Showing the general public that transgender people are still human beings, and are as normal as the next person, educating people that transgender people are not freaks, and certainly no more a danger to anyone else than your average person on the street is something that is going to take a long time, the likes of Stephanie Hirst, Laverne Cox and Kellie Malloney are helping, being celebrities, but there is a very long way to go still.

There are things that transgender people can do to make their transition easier and less stressful, and hopefully avoid becoming one of the 84% who think about suicide, or worse still, one of the 48% who attempt it, and that is what the transgender workshop is set up for and designed to do, with hints and tips on a wide range of topics and discussion with experts in nonbinary, trans-male and trans-female fields, plus professional make-up artist tutorials and much more. Next time we will move the spotlight onto our older person’s subgroup and the valuable work they are doing.

If you would like to get involved with the Forum, please do get in touch with us at [email protected] or check us out on Facebook. - Lisa Kelly, co-chair, York LGBT Forum.

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