Last Saturday my friend Rebecca and I went up to Manchester to launch the Dawn Skinner Fund at the Sparkle transgender celebration.
We had a successful though tiring day, receiving many generous donations and meeting a healthy cross-section of the community. Some very good contacts were made, and our message was well received.
Some feedback was rather unexpected. More than one person expressed a desire for end-of-life care centres specifically for transgender people, for example. Surprisingly these views were not restricted to any particular section of our community. Our line was simple, our aim is to make all end-of-life care as transgender-friendly as it can be which we feel would be a far better solution than end-of-life transgender ghettos.
Other feedback was solid gold, we were pleased to meet more than one end-of-life care professional among our community, with whom we had some very interesting conversations.
Sparkle is a topic that seems to raise divisions in the UK transgender community. It's attended by all sections of our diverse community so it is somewhere at which our more flamboyant and extreme subcultures are visible alongside a large number of unremarkable trans people. As a result it's not uncommon to find full-time transwomen who won't have anything to do with it because of a guilt by association with flamboyant part-timers. I understand this, but I think it's a shame as to not care too much about such things is to be truly at ease with your identity. The DQs, LGs, maids, fetishists, furries, nuns and the downright badly dressed may be on different paths from me but that is no concern of mine. Sparkle is our biggest nationally organised event so it made absolute sense for us to launch our fund there.
It was a little different to see the event as an exhibitor. Certainly welcome to sit in the shade on a breathless hot day. With a background of doing exhibitions in the tech industry it was always my ambition to do an exhibition stand with minimum hassle and easy transport, on Saturday I achieved that aim. The whole thing packed onto one sack truck, reducing the effort enormously.
So that's it. We're under way, now we have to get out there and do some work.