Thursday, 16 January 2014

Trans Youth Matters

Graphic courtesy of Trans Student Equality Resources
I came across this very revealing graphic whilst I was browsing the internet tonight  and the statistics contained within it hit me extremely hard as I contemplated how my own mother had reacted to my own coming out to her back in the very early 1970's and how fortunate I had been.
I was so struck with the information within the graphic I shared to my own Facebook page with the following message:- 
"Why would any parent reject their child just because of this. I suppose, mainly they didn't really love them in the first place if they are more concerned of what their friends or relatives will say."
A friend responded with another comment which read:-

"Nell S:  Parents often profess that they want them to be happy ......having a trans child determines whether this is the case or if they really want the child to actually make the parent happy. My heart and admiration goes to all parents, including my own mum, who enable their children to be their true selves."
To which I added my own feelings on the matter:-
That is very true Nell - and I too echo your feelings about parents who want their children to be happy in their own bodies. I have often thought that we should have a special day of thanks for them - for they really are wonderful people and my heart goes out to them for their acceptance.
My Mum (bless her soul) was incredible in that she accepted me and this was back in the dark ages in the early 1970's when very little was known about the condition, even the medical profession was almost completely ignorant of it - yet my mother's reaction was to come over, put her arms round me and say "That's OK, we will see this (meaning my transition) through together" - and she did, I had the most wonderful support from her.
Yes, I was lucky to have such a mother, sadly, so many are are not.
  They are disowned, thrown into the streets, physically abused - as if a beating would change who we are.  This so often can lead to mental health problems later and many will have to resort to prostitution or worse in order to survive.
Just look and absorb those figures - if your parents accept you, you are almost five times more likely to avoid mental health problems - and then you get people like Mona Charen publishing that she thinks it is child abuse if parents love and support their trangender child.  Ms. Charen, I have news for you - surely it is child abuse to try and force your child to be something that they are not and subsequently statistically far more likely to suffer mental health problems - or to disown them and throw them out into the streets.  You are a disgrace to parenthood Ms. Charen.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Nominations open in February for the UK’s Largest Diversity Awards

Your annual opportunity to nominate your own diversity role models.
One of Britain’s most well-known diversity awards celebrations are opening its nominations next month and welcomes your community to nominate.
If your organisation is a strong representative of true diversity or you would wish to nominate then please do not hesitate to get involved with this initiative.
The National Diversity Awards in association with Microsoft is a celebration of the outstanding achievements of positive role models, entrepreneurs & community organisations across the UK.
A collection of some of the nation’s most inspirational and selfless people gather annually to recognise the country’s rich tapestry of talent. The prestigious black tie event showcases the extraordinary work of those who have demonstrated their devotion to enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in today’s society.
The UK has taken such an event to their hearts receiving thousands of nominations each year, and organisers are gearing up to receive an influx of names of people that have made a difference in their communities.
Support for the event has come from a growing list of top employers and celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Claire Harvey and Sol Campbell.
The 2014 ceremony will see Reality TV-star Brian Dowling and CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell return to host the awards.
Brian said ‘To witness the outstanding work of all the nominees and awards winners is extraordinary. The atmosphere is always incredible and I can’t wait for this year!’
Patron Claire Harvey was one of only two openly gay athletes in the Paralympic Games. Harvey said ‘I am proud to be both an elite athlete and openly gay woman. The National Diversity Awards is a great opportunity to celebrate achievement irrespective of difference. I feel honoured to part of such an exciting event, where those who are making a real difference to our society every day are recognised’.
Singing Sensation Misha B added, ’The National Diversity Awards was one of the most inspirational award ceremonies I have been to.
‘It was a pleasure to perform for such a diverse audience, and witnessing the amazing journeys of all the award winners made me proud to support this worthwhile cause. It’s my honour to continue celebrating diversity in all its glory during 2014!’
NDA founder Paul Sesay said, ‘It’s overwhelming to follow the inspiring stories of Britain’s unsung heroes. Let’s recognise true role models and continue to celebrate our nation’s diversity champions this year’.
There are several awards categories including positive role model, community organisation, entrepreneur of excellence, diverse company and lifetime achiever.
You can nominate a positive role model and community organisation under different strands including age, disability, gender, LGBT or race/faith/religion.
The National Diversity Awards will take place in the countries capital on September 26th, nominations open Monday 03rd February.
To nominate please visit
Or for a nomination form please email

Friday, 3 January 2014

All for one - or one for all

Last year, as a committee member of English Riviera Pride, we held events for the LGBT community throughout the Bay.  We successfully raised over £2,200 for charity which was distributed to 3 charities, our local hospice (Rowcroft Hospice), an LGBT charity Eddystone Trust who do a lot of educational work about safe sex and other issues, and Mermaids, a charity which helps transgender children and their families.

A new committee was formed this year after several members left and it soon became apparent that forces were at work to undermine out efforts to raise money for charity, duplicating our events - they have even set themselves up as an alternative Pride event.  Whereas we hold our events spread out across the Bay supporting gay/trans friendly venues, the alternative Pride is based solely around one business and will therefore benefit just that one business to the detriment of the others.

We therefore ask them to reconsider what they are doing and to meet with us to try and work something out for the good of the whole community - and not just one small part of it.

One of the local businesses has just published an open letter - which I have reproduced verbatim below:-


 In support of the official English Riviera Pride I am writing this note with some concern and confusion, as no doubt soon you will have the same dilemma and thoughts as me.

As many of you may or may not be aware my company Greenway Ferry and Pleasure Cruises has provided support to both the Rainbow Ball and English Riviera Pride for many years donating in excess of £20,000 during this time to both causes in way of donations or monitory support. Being a company, which is gay, owned and operated and with a high percentage of gay staff we ‘pride’ ourselves in supporting a group that then supports the gay community and other charities including Eddystone Trust and Rowcroft. Most recently we took over Soho Bar and Lounge, which is catering to a mixed community of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and straight people. We felt that the need for a sole Gay Bar in Torquay was obsolete even though homophobia still exists; straights and gays mix much more freely in bars and clubs.

I felt the best way to deal with this head on was to create a bar in the center of town which was not only unique in its style, premium quality drinks and ambience but one which did not hide from the fact that we had to be just gay but where people could mix in a safe trouble free environment. Our door person is gay, three of our bar staff are gay and we employ straights too. We are doing everything possible to make mixing a regular occurrence and increase the visibility of the bays gay community. How are we going to be excepted if we are hidden away, we are as normal as anyone else, so lets make ourselves be seen and heard and show that we are just like them…. Human!

Today it has come to the attention of English Rivera Pride that another Pride Group has just been set up and is advertising on Facebook as Bay Pride. This seems to be advertising our friends at the Meadfoot Inn and seems to be in complete competition to the English Rivera Pride which is set up and has been running for many years, raising money for charity and working alongside the Rainbow Ball Committee at some points with dual board members. Why? Why duplicate? Why not support the committee?

Why can’t our gay community of businesses work together and not against each other? Why can’t we all sit together and increase the events and charitable works? If it can be done in London, Manchester and other cities, what is wrong with our Riviera? It absolutely astounds me why businesses and groups can not work together in our bay (not just in this instance but others too).

So, my support shall remain with the Official English Riviera Pride and the Rainbow Ball Committee which has raised over £100,000. Not groups set up to forward one business or with an ulterior motive.

I challenge our Gay Businesses to come together, talk to each other and work together for the better of the bay and the better of the community we serve. I can be contacted below and as the previous Chairman of the Over the Rainbow Ball Committee and sure they, Riviera Pride, others and myself are at the table already waiting to talk.

So stop duplicating and lets make a difference. Why when English Rivera Pride are trying to raise money does a business serving the gay community decide to put on a rival event which is just serving their own pocket? Why is there so much backstabbing and bad feeling? We are a community which should work together!

Yours faithfully,
Will Ford

Greenway Ferry & Pleasure Cruises

SOHO Bar and Lounge"

The Facebook pages for the
alternative Pride organisation for Torbay were removed shortly after the people that set them up saw the open letter which I reproduced above.
More condemnation for these shady practices were being forthrightly stated on various individuals Facebook pages all of today.  More will no doubt come of this over the coming months and I will post updates about what is happening here for all the world to see.