IMAGE BY SHARON KILGANNON / @alonglines
Trans Pride Brighton turns six this year. Since its inception, almost 30 trans, non-binary people and cis allies have helped create the event and shape it to what is now – a week-long celebration of gender diversity. The committee put representation on the top of their priorities list. Some other events across Brighton & Hove give people across the gender spectrum a platform but it’s only Trans Pride that focuses on boosting the representation of trans and non-binary people.
It’s not easy to put on a week-long celebration of diversity. The organisers, though, say it’s completely worth it. Sarah has been on the committee since the event started. She tells us, “I’ve helped out with most jobs but the protest march is my pride and joy. Six years ago the police wouldn’t let us off the pavements and now thousands of people stop traffic and take over the busiest roads in Brighton for more than an hour. You can’t miss us now! It makes me so proud to have been part of a project that has empowered so many people, it’s become my raison d’être.”
Mainstream Brighton Pride doesn’t represent the trans community in a way that really helps bring trans issues to light. A space was needed which was safe and actively empowered people normally overlooked, to raise everybody up, and to be visible to people who may not be out as trans yet.
Natalie, project lead and trustee, tells us, “Trans Pride has played a huge part in helping me feel able to own and be proud of my identity. I attended my first one before coming out, and the feeling of power and belonging I got from being among a sea of humanity who felt like me was something I’ll always treasure.” If you’ve ever been marginalised in society, you’ll understand what Natalie means. This type of inclusion is rare, but when it is achieved it’s the kind of feeling that will stay with people. She continues, “The sort of visibility we get from events like this cannot be underestimated, and gives us a real platform from which to try to effect social change.” It’s common for transgender and non-binary individuals to feel isolated, especially with so little representation in the media. Trans Pride Brighton exists to show that this group in society are not alone – there is a supportive community out there.
This year sees the return of the protest march and event in Brunswick Square Gardens, with the main dates being Fri 20 – Sun 22 July. Other events on the run up to the main weekend include the much-loved film night, and there’s likely to be a choice of a couple of things to do on the Saturday night. The trans and non-binary community is diverse and has different needs, so a range of events will cater for everyone. Plans include club nights, gigs, open mic opportunities, art exhibitions – all to be confirmed. You can check in on the progress of the events on the Trans Pride Brighton website.
Every year the event grows. The committee are passionate about maintaining the core principle: that they’re doing things by trans people, for trans people. Pride can be a celebration but we must always be conscious that it is a protest. This community is so often misrepresented and marginalised so Trans Pride aims for trans people to feel proud and to show solidarity. Grace, Community Outreach & Events Lead, says,
“I’ve only been part of the Trans Pride Brighton committee for six months, but already I feel so empowered being granted the opportunity to be a part of this huge community-inspired activist movement. Oddly enough, at first I hadn’t considered what we were doing as activism. But when our core mission is increasing the Trans’ communities visibility and representation, it’s exactly that.”
The team are currently looking for volunteers to help run this year’s event. Roles include stewarding, set up, selling merchandise and more. Volunteer lead Michelle says it’s a rewarding task. “This year I switched to being the Volunteer Coordinator. I’ve found the whole experience exciting and empowering. For trans people, a pride that deals with their own particular needs, and raises awareness of intersectional issues, is absolutely vital and I’m so happy to be part of organising it.” There are also occasional committee roles available. Keep an eye on their website and social media for opportunities. The team are particularly keen to hear from trans people of colour, to better represent the community.
Trans Pride Brighton returns for its sixth year Fri 20 – Sun 22 July. The main event is at Brunswick Square Gardens.