You Don’t Get it

You don’t get it? Really,

Did you not here me sincerely,

Do you not realise that I am saying this because I care. 

Because without it, the stress could swipe me like the claws of a bear.

I am trying not to hide, behind castle walls of tweed and wool, that like curtains seem to hide me so I can curl up like a ball,

As though the frostbite of my cloths engenders this, rather than standing tall.

 

I want to be seen as I see myself, not as a shadow; a cardboard figure. 

But show that I can remove the chains that keep me from striving for happiness and things much bigger,

 

So with this verse, I write the truth,

To correct the lies of my youth:

I am a girl, strong willed and kind

I am a trans girl, I know in my heart; my mind.

 

by Who not What member for LGBT History Month

Reflections in Gender

Looking in the mirror, I see no pane of glass, 

But silver fragments reflected in the monochromic past.

My reflection I do not see; but a myriad of strangers reflected back to me,

Their voices full of tension and stress, some of joy, some saying ‘be free’. 

 

My self wishes be reflected, with make-up, at least, to strip away, 

To let stress, tiredness and dysphoria, fly afar and run astray, 

So that, like a flag that all can see,

The mirror can reflect myself back to me. 

 

By Who not What member

WnW launch Hate Crime awareness film

Over the past few months members of Who not What have been busing producing a film to raise awareness of what a hate crime and incident is and how young people can report it. The film was made with the support of the Herts Police Hate Crime Officers and was launched on IDAHOBiT day at Police HQ.

Daisy, Who not What member,  said  “We made the hate crime film because it is an important issue and the actual process of reporting hate incidents is rarely addressed or talked about so it was great to be able to make something creative that also made light of an important issue. I thought the launch was amazing; it was so great to see so many members of the police force come out in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.“We started to come up with the script and storyboard back in October 2017! It was a learning curve for all of us as we didn’t realise there were so many steps and things to think about when making a film.”

You can watch the video here.  Please feel free to share too!

Remember if you have been a victim of a hate crime or incident you can report it online at www.report-it.org.uk/home or via the Herts Police website www.herts.police.uk/Report/Report

 

 

Identifying as Non- Binary…

I am one of 0.4% (which is 1 in 250 people) who identify as non-binary in the UK.

Gender identity is the gender that someone feels they are internally. This is something that is deeply personal to them, it is in fact self-defined. Therefore, the definitions of gender identities may not be the same for all people who may use the same word to describe their gender identity.

Gender identity is, in my opinion, a spectrum along which every gender identity fits and where every person can place themselves. I identify as gender neutral. This means that I identify as neither male or female, but instead regard gender as a societal and social construct that I wish not to partake in; essentially having no gender. This is not to say that the concept of gender is bad, but just to say that I don’t agree with it. My gender identity is different to both my biological sex (the sex I was assigned with at birth) and sexual orientation.

I use a preferred name which is not yet my legal name and use ‘they, their, them’ pronouns. I will be legally changing my name at some point in the future, but not after settling on a name and using it and the pronouns above for a while. I will be changing my legal gender as well, to non-binary in the future, when government legally recognises non-binary gender identities, which unfortunately, they have not yet.

Gender expression is the way that someone expresses their gender identity, which is affected by the way that people interact with them, for example, through the clothes that they wear. I express my gender through traditionally feminine cloths and make up, but I still enjoy wearing men’s formal wear, for example black tie, which is fabulous. Someone’s gender expression is personal to them, and therefore it is important not to assume someone’s gender identity or pronouns from how they express themselves. Please, if in doubt just ask.

Every day I face challenges; the most common is someone’s confusion about what my gender identity is, mostly due to a lack of understanding.

I also face gender dysphoria, which can be defined as “a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there’s a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity” To put this in a less clinical context, imagine walking around with a great weight on your shoulders, that only you can see and feel. It saps your strength and makes it a challenge to carry out day to day tasks. Other people don’t know it’s there and when you want to speak about it, you can’t because you think that people will not understand it. This is how gender dysphoria makes me feel every day. Dysphoria also affects everyone differently and so be sensitive to individual people’s experiences and how dysphoria affects them.

As regards to my transition, I identify as a gender neutral female. To rephrase this, I identify as non-binary, but I wish to undergo a transition to become biologically female (through hormones, legal name changes and surgery). Unfortunately, this takes time and due to the government not legally recognising non-binary people are not legally recognised. Therefore, whilst I will be able to transition, I would have to transition from male to female, not male to non-binary female. This is because currently my non-binary gender identity is not recognised until the government changes the relevant legislation.

Who not What member, 19, Herts

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Being me.

I’m a 19-year-old guy from Hertfordshire who likes pizza, puppies and playing video games. I also happen to be trans and that is only a small part of my identity.

Growing up, I always felt a little different from everyone else, like I didn’t fit in but I certainly didn’t know I was trans. It seems the idea of ‘always knowing’ is prevalent in the trans community and, don’t get me wrong, I think kids knowing and feeling comfortable in their identities from a young age is amazing but it just isn’t the case for all of us and that’s ok. Every trans experience is different.

My first conscious questioning of gender was a few years ago when I was watching TV. I saw an androgynous person, who identified as a lesbian and I remember thinking to myself, “That seems like it would be so much better… no expectations, just being.” It planted a seed for me and so I came out as lesbian. But it still wasn’t quite right for me and in 2016, after reading up online I decided I needed to transition.

With every change- name, clothes, pronouns, hormones- I became happier and more confident in myself. The knots that had been in my stomach for as long as I could remember came undone; my social anxiety started to fade. I found an inner peace that I never knew was possible. Let’s just say, if it wasn’t for transition, I wouldn’t be up here right now.

While I can look back now and see clues that make sense (the characters in books and games that I identified with most were almost exclusively male) I never explicitly identified as a girl, I just didn’t know there was any alternative and I’ve found this to be a pretty common experience in the trans community. I think that’s why it’s so important to speak out and share experiences.

In terms of what you can do, it’s not that difficult to ask a person what pronoun they prefer but it can make a world of difference. The most important thing when meeting any trans person is to listen to them, and if you’re not sure about anything just ask. We’d much rather you ask than get it wrong in the first place. Besides, we’re not that scary!

Ash, 19, Herts

Pride Prom 2017!

In November 2017, YC Hertfordshire held their first Pride Prom for young LGBTQ. Young People had said that when they attended their own proms they had not felt totally comfortable and couldn’t go with who they wanted to or how they wanted to dress and so members of the LGBTQ strategic group, Who not What, suggested we hold this event.

Ellen, WnW member – “The Prom was a lot of fun and the food was great. There was plenty to eat and realistic fake snow balls to have fun with. There was great artwork on display and one could go to the kitchen area to escape the music and obtain a decent variety of drinks. There were fun props for picture taking and cool lights that didn’t flash so much as to give me a headache (which sometimes happens). It was overall a successful evening where everyone seemed comfortable to be themselves“.

Anonymous member of local LGBTQ group – “It was really fun to meet and talk to new people. I felt very comfortable as I was surrounded by other people in the LGBTQ+ community, therefore I could be myself; I don’t really talk about my identity and the fact that I am bisexual elsewhere. It was also really fun when a massive circle formed and someone would go into the middle and dance. The food and drink were very good. It brought our communities closer”.

Emi, Member of local LGBTQ group – “Prom was really fun. It was amazing to see so many diverse young people: everyone was very social and it was great to just dance and have a laugh. Will definitely go again!”

Anonymous member of local LGBTQ group – “It was lots of fun and I made some new friends from different places that I could relate to. I would really like another event like it”

Astra, WnW member – “I think that the prom was brilliant, really enjoyable and a great opportunity to be social and able to be myself. I really enjoyed the prom, especially the false snowballs”.

For more information about the LGBTQ support groups for young people in Herts or to find out more about the strategic group, Who not What, please visit  http://www.youthconnexions-hertfordshire.org/youth-work/support-for-lgbtq-people/

 

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Unlike last year, the sun was shining…

Unlike last year, the sun was shining for us this year at Herts pride 🙂 It was an early start for all of us, helping to set up the WnW stall ready for the day. The morning also gave us a chance to look around and see the amazing variety of stalls. I never knew there were so many organisations dedicated to helping LGBTQ people in Herts! From Herts Aid, to Healthwatch and Hertfordshire police and of course YC Hertfordshire and Who not What 😉 As 11am hit, the people came flooding in. It was so cool to see so many groups of young people, wearing glitter and flags and representing their community. We spent the morning applying rainbow facepaints, chatting, advertising our support groups and recruiting new members for Who not What. We also met up with young people who attend our support groups throughout Hertfordshire which was really cool as we aren’t often all in one place at one time! One thing that really stood out to me from pride was the representation of the Trans community. I saw more Transgender flags around than any other flag. To me this was a pretty amazing thing. It’s not often that the Trans community is represented at pride, let alone as a majority! It allowed me to meet some really inspirational people and realize that I’m not alone as a trans person in Herts. Bearing a trans flag also brought up some interesting conversations and allowed me to educate people which was awesome. I spent the afternoon relaxing, listening to live music and chatting with friends, both old and new. Overall, Herts Pride was an amazing and humbling experience. I will definitely be back next year!

 

Asher, 18, WnW member