Monday 16 Nov 2015 6.30am
Daring not to speak
I’m awake early and in my last half an hour of self imposed silence for Gendered Intelligence. 40 kind people have helped me raise £577 for their funds, by supporting me in my sponsored silence. For the past 24 hours I’ve not said a single word. [addendum: subsequent donations took me up to £600]
The campaign was a fund-raising idea that Gendered Intelligence are running, to draw attention to gender based violence and bullying. It’s called Stop Our Silence. It’s part of Anti-Bullying week. Which ironically invites us to Make a Noise about Bullying!
Some lessons learned:
- I’ve learned at quite a deep level how frightening it can be not to be able speak.
- How frustrating it can be when you’re trying to get through the busy streets of London and everyone seems like an obstacle in your way.
- How hard it is to assert oneself and complain about things, so that you feel disempowered in your life.
- How lonely it is to feel that your only safe space is your home and how reliant you are for support from people online.
- How good it is when someone spontaneously contacts you to ask how you’re doing and encourages you. The people who emailed, tweeted at me and responded to my posts on Facebook kept me going
- Memories of being bullied at school haven’t left me. I carry them with me. Mostly they motivate me.
I was bored, and so incredibly interactive online. Some people enquired whether I ought to be allowed to speak digitally, and whether I was breaking the rules?
I felt that this is about experiencing similar conditions to those faced with bullying because of their gender presentation or gender non-conforming behaviour. So maintaining an online presence and finding support through online networks is a vital life saver for their sanity. Hiding away from the bullies in their room!
I’m glad I’ve done it, not least so they have almost £600 but also because it’s been a useful learning experience.
If you’re tempted to see how it is, please do! The campaign is running 14-22 November 2015.
More information on this link: https://stopoursilence.wordpress.com/
Founder and CEO – Pink Therapy
It looks like I didn’t get enough nominations to impress the Judges for this year’s Independent on Sunday Rainbow List and so after two fabulous years of being included and reaching the heady top 30, I’m off the list to make room for some of the fabulous new entries.
I’ve always said I thought the list should be a way to recognise the work quite work to unsung heroes and it’s lovely to see Toni Hogg from Antidote and Sören Stauffer-Kruse (THT) being listed as they’ve made a significant contribution to the mental wellbeing of many LGBT people for more than a decade.
I am also pleased to see that Meg-John Barker and Jay Stewart (Gendered Intelligence) and Monty Moncrieff (London Friend) continue to be recognised for their enduring commitment to work to improve the lives of our communities and nice to see that Dr Stuart Lorimer (GenderCare and Charing Cross Gender Clinic) is on the list.
This year’s list contains lots of fresh new faces and inclusion in the Rainbow list a great way to promote their work for the community. To my embarrassment I didn’t know of the work of Matthew Ogston (https://www.nazandmattfoundation.org) Amelia Lee (The Proud Trust), Wayne Dhesi (http://www.rucomingout.com/), Abbey Kiwanuka and Edwin Sesange (Out and Proud Diamond Group). I’m pleased I do now and it shows how well informed the judges are and what a tough job they have to compile such an interesting list.
I’ll be honest, I am sad not to have been included. I’ve rarely been recognised for my work in putting queer therapy on the agenda in Britain and in working with all the psy/therapy bodies to ensure therapists don’t pathologise gender or sexual diversities and actually get a decent level of training to work with us. This is also something Meg-John Barker and I have recently written about for the UKCP journal The Psychotherapist
There are now masses of gay Awards for which I’ve not been nominated: Stonewall, Attitude, OUTstanding for LGBT corporate types, which sit alongside the broader diversity and inclusion awards the National Diversity and European Diversity Awards (the last two Pink Therapy was shortlisted for), and so finding myself on the Rainbow List two years ago was an immense boost to my self-esteem and I’ll cherish the two years I had on it. Tomorrow evening I will enjoy escorting Meg-John to the Celebratory party and the fabulous view of St Paul’s.
BTW the one award I most covet (in case anyone’s feeling like putting some energy into nominating me for something) is the Sexual Freedom Awards Where you get a Flying Golden Penis. How AMAZING is that?
(This one belongs to my mate Empress Stah)
Founder and Chief Exec