Dozens of people congregated at the Gay’s The Word Bookshop last night to celebrate an evening of gender diversity.
We organised the event to showcase equality and diversity in a time when it is given a great deal of media coverage – and rightly so.
Speakers included Dr J, Dr Elly Barnes MBE, LGBT Poet Laureate Trudy Howson and young people of our PRIDE Youth Network. One by one the incredible voices took to the stage at the back of the book store to talk about diversity, identity, how times have changed and how we must embrace gender diversity being in the spotlight.
Yesterday’s event also saw the launch of the new book by CJ Atkinson that hit headlines last month, Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity? CEO Dr Barnes read the opening chapter from the book to the audience and described it as a much needed resource. This book will be going into our Best Practice Schools across the UK as a teaching guide that offers an insight into what life is like for a trans+ child.
LGBT Poet Laureate, Trudy Howson also took to the stage for twenty minutes to read poetry to our guests. She started by reading IDAHOT, a poem which spoke to every single person in the room. It started…
“I’m your brother and sister,
I’m both Mrs and Mister,
I am Gay, Bi and Transsexual,
I am… myself.”
Dr J who is a genderqueer photographer, performer and digital business analyst, spoke of not fitting into the gender binary, especially not in the corporate world.
Being creative with photoshop, Dr J formulated a series of images of what they would be expected to look like in the corporate world if they were to fit into the gender binary. One picture saw Dr J with a mullet and the other a suit and tie.
While some great speakers showed up to the event and entertained the audience who were topped up with wine and nibbles, the star of the show was 23-year-old Nathan.
Nate is a transman, he is also a student of art in London and a motivational speaker helping thousands of young people through their own transitions. Nate spoke openly and honestly about his own story and how he came to terms with, and in fact, came to discover his own gender identity and sexuality.
He said: “After a year of uni, I came out as lesbian. I had pretty mixed feelings towards it to be honest, I wasn’t all that happy with it – I knew I liked girls at the time but there was something that felt really wrong about it and there was that element of shame, I had lesbian friends, and it wasn’t a problem with queer identities, it was something inside of myself and I couldn’t put my finger on it.
“Less than a year after coming out as lesbian, I came out as trans and that’s not an uncommon story for transmen. When I discovered I was trans I remember being in my room and experiencing gender dysphoria.
“Youtube was the only space that I really had at that time to fully explore, the internet was a great lifeline for me in terms of being able to explore gender and sexuality in this point of time.”
Nate now takes his own videos and uses them to help others in the same position he was in as a younger adult, his videos include a home-documentary of his preparation and recovery from top surgery.
Dr Elly Barnes MBE described the event as: “An emotional and heartwarming evening filled with voices of gender diversity of all ages and experiences. We must carry on this conversation until we are all treated equally and fairly and we can reach the land of social justice.”