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Issue 5 - May 2014


"Tutti Fruity is a brand new LGBT friendly choir, beginning at the start of 2014. It followed on from a project set up by Mess Up The Mess Theatre Company who had commissioned a site specific production written by the playwright Bethan Marlowe for the LGBT community in Swansea, with funding from the Arts Council for Wales. A choir was set up to take part in the production 'A Queer Christmas' and Sian Pearce was invited as the Choral Director to spearhead the choir. The production was a great success, leaving behind a choir which Sian agreed to take on to become part of her music company Singers Rock, which brings choirs to various different groups within the community. Tutti (musical term for 'all') Fruity (an urban dictionary term for someone gay) Singers Rock was born, bringing a modern choir performing modern songs to the LGBT friendly community in Swansea.”

Bridgend’s abfabb celebrated with a parade through the town centre….

Sian Pearce said “In the short time we’ve been together we’ve

already performed twice - once for a documentary screening and then a huge gig in the Millennium Centre, Cardiff with an international touring theatre company. If these gigs are anything to go by - we are going places!” This choir is open to anyone who is LGBT friendly but mainly caters for the LGBT community itself. There are no auditions, no committees, and no fundraising - just fun singing songs that we all love (modern and ‘pink’ of course!). We'd love to have you on-board. Rehearsals every Monday: 7.30-8.30pm at the Ability Centre, Unit 2, Cwm Road, Swansea SA1 2AY. £3.50 per rehearsal attended.


Transgender in Wales (TiW) is part of the Unity Group Wales co-operative of LGBT organisations, delivering support for those who relate to being transgender and also supporting their partners, family and friends. We assist transgender people, service providers, employers and equality organisations to engage together to improve gender identity and gender reassignment equality, rights and inclusion in Wales Transgender in Wales is a fully inclusive not for profit organisation for all who relate to being transgender. We are a fully constituted organisation which comes under the strict operating governance of Unity Group Wales. We assist transgender people, service providers, employers and equality organisations to engage together to improve gender identity and gender reassignment equality, rights and inclusion in Wales. We strive for everyone in Wales to be safe and valued whatever their gender identity and gender reassignment status and to have full freedom in their gender expression. We believe that it is in the interests of all gender diverse people in Wales to come together in alliance with one another to work more effectively to eliminate discrimination and harassment. We consult and involve many groups and individuals with various diverse identities, including: Trans* women, Trans* men, non-binary-gender people, cross-dressing, intersex, gender fluid and others. We prioritise working in partnership with other local, national and international equality organisations and take an intersectional approach which recognises the importance of tackling multiple- discrimination. For all information on Transgender in Wales and details of our facebook groups, go to: www.tiw.unityproject.org.uk

Why Volunteer for Transgender in Wales? People volunteer at different times of their lives for different reasons: You might want to give back something to your local community, meet new friends; you may be unemployed and looking for a new career direction. Volunteering is flexible – you decide you want to do and when. For more information on volunteering for TiW contact: info@unityproject.org.uk


The New Family Network from the LGBT Unity Project. The New Family Network group is a support group for people whose partners, parents, family members or friends are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The New Family Network group is part of the regional Unity Project group’s, based in Wales. Membership is exclusive to partners, parents, family members or friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people; this will allow them to speak freely with other members without fear of upsetting their partners, parents, family members or friends who are lesbian, gay or bisexual.

The New Family Network group’s purpose is to bring together people whose relationship with a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person is in crisis. We exist to support and help each other, not to bash lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people. Our bywords are confidentiality, privacy, and respect.

When someone learns the reason for the problems in their marriage, namely being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, they usually go through a wide myriad of emotions ranging from devastation to repulsion.

The New Family Network group’s goal is to help these people understand how this happens and how to cope when you find out. Then The New Family Network group can help them make the difficult decisions that will help them move ahead so they can find the quality of life and the happiness that they deserve. After someone learns that their husband, wife or partner is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, their first reactions include shame, guilt, and responsibility. We need to assure these people that they are in no way responsible for their husbands, wives or partners sexual orientation. This was determined at birth, and there is nothing they could do or did to influence this.

For more information on joining a New Family Network support group or volunteering at one of the groups, please contact: info@unityproject.org.uk


International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally. Since then the Day has grown in both scope and depth. In 2013, actions around the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia took place in almost 120 countries. In the United Kingdom alone in 2013, almost 200 events took place around the Day. In short, in under a decade, the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia has established itself the single most important date for LGBTI communities to mobilise on a worldwide scale. LGBTI organisations, governments, cities, human rights organisations, corporations and celebrities have all taken action on May 17th to: 

Draw media attention to the issue of homophobia and transphobia

Organise events which mobilize public opinion Demand attention from policymakers and engage in lobbying activities

  

Network with like-minded organisations and develop new partnerships, at home or beyond Mobilise existing constituencies and address new audiences.

This year Swansea will be holding its own IDOHOT event for the 2nd year between Castle Square and Oxford Street, 11am -3pm, many LGBT groups and organisations and members from the Swansea Bay LGBT Forum and South Wales Police will be attending, so please come and show your support.


Comeback? Debut?

Kate’s Performance

Rocked!


“What did I do? I strapped my bass on and rocked the hell out.”

Kate explained how it was a long bumpy road confidence wise to get to that point. “When I left my last band I didn’t tell them the true reason why I was leaving. I cut myself off from the majority of my circle of friends during the first few months of my transition and then bit by bit I widened the circle of people I told about it. As more people knew and were really accepting my confidence grew.” “My fear had built up this huge wall of negative anticipation. It was so hard to see past this fear full of ‘what ifs’ and unknown possibilities.”

Kate Hutchinson is a 43 year old Trans* Woman who started her transition in late 2012. Last weekend she hit a milestone in putting her life where she wants it. Kate is also a musician, a Bass player to be precise and has rare talent of playing great Rock. She has been playing since she was 15 and been in bands ever since. Kate told us; “When I first transitioned I gave up playing live music, afraid of rejection and ridicule. I thought it was unlikely that I would ever get back to the point where I was before as far as my musical accomplishments went. I had pretty much written off playing live music as part of my life. I thought I would never be accepted. I played my last gig with my old band on 31st December 2012. The next day I went full time with my transition.” Last Saturday night she got up on stage and played at a 600 capacity venue theatre with one of her new bands Black Sunrise. Kate said on her return; “The acceptance I've had from the local music community has been amazing. Ok there's the odd idiot but everyone sees them as that.” “As I was waiting to go on an old friend said I looked really nervous and he had never seen me like that at pre transition gigs. Then it hit me he was right, the churning in my stomach was nerves.” I was scared, whether it was of people laughing or thinking how I would react if somebody yelled tranny at me when I'm onstage with all those people watching.”

“The trouble is that if you come up against a wall what can you do about it. You can stay where you are and make no further progress or you can get past it in whatever way you need to even if that way has never been thought of before. Climb it, go round it, under it, though it just don’t let that fear and all those negative ‘what ifs’ rule your life.” “You really just have to stop thinking sometimes and just do. You can spend a lifetime worrying about possibilities but if you don't try you will never know if you will fail or succeed.”

“To hell with the fear.” “To hell with what anyone thinks of you. Just do what you want and love to do.”


“The gig went well, we have been asked back for a show later in the year. And it was lovely to have people come up who I didn't know and say they enjoyed it. The one that put the biggest smile on my face said she loved seeing a rock band with female members for a change.” “I just feel that people in the community say a lot about things they cannot do or have problems doing because they are trans*. There is nothing you cannot do just because you are trans*, feeling sorry for ourselves is not going to help. We have to be active and very motivated sometimes to push through the crap but being transgender is not a reason to rule ourselves out of living a normal day to day life doing the things we love to do.”

(Photographs supplied with many thanks by Aaron Roberts)

The LGBT Unity Project now operates two successful over 50s Brunch Clubs specifically for older LGBT people and their friends. The Swansea Brunch Club runs every 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month and the Carmarthen Brunch Club runs every 2 nd and 4th Saturday of each month both from 11am to 2pm. We at the LGBT Unity Project are looking to launch more of these Brunch Clubs around South Wales, so if you would like to see a Brunch Club operate in your area please get in touch with us, Email – info@unityproject.org.uk Tel – 01792 346299

Swansea Brunch Club

Carmarthen Brunch Club


SOUTH WALES POLICE CHALLENGING PREJUDICE CHANGING ATTITUDES TOWARDS LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER PEOPLE

Hate crimes against lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people occur within a broader cultural context that is permeated by heterosexism. Heterosexism is defined here as an ideological system that denies, denigrates, and stigmatises any non-heterosexual form of behaviour, identity, relationship, or community. It operates principally by rendering homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender invisible and, when this fails, by trivialising, repressing, or stigmatising it. So what has South Wales Police done to “Challenge Prejudice”? Identifying the true picture of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes and incidents, is integral to providing an effective response and key to prevention and reassurance. Gathering information from members of a small and close knit minority community has traditionally proven to be difficult, with lack of confidence in the Police and under reporting being a real or perceived barrier. South Wales Police are determined to overcome these hurdles and are fully committed to working with and supporting minority groups and organisations to build a clearer picture of the issues affecting the LGBT community. South Wales Police Western Engagement Team (Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot) have now recruited two Hate Crime Engagement PCSO’s to replace Rhys Thomas who in November left his role to become a Police Constable.

PCSO Jessica Reed (left) is now working as Hate Crime Engagement PCSO along with 3 Police Constables working closely with minority groups across Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot. Jessica is currently working with LGBT and BME community while Sean is working with the Transgender community. Jessica’s roles include linking in with all minority groups and building the much needed connection with the police, assisting on any events, which publically promote equality community cohesion and fair play, and setting up initiatives that will help these minority groups build a stronger feeling of safety and well-being. You will be seeing Jessica and Sean at many events over the summer, so if you see them, make yourself known and say “HI”.


Carly Stewart LGBT Officer 2013-2014 for TSDSU Swansea writes about her busy year. This year for the society and for the Student Union we are a part of has been a very busy one to say the least. We have this year merged with the University of Wales, Trinity St David so we have never been short of events and things going on across all of our campuses. As LGBT Officer, I wanted there to be more awareness and education of the LGBT+ community within my university, on a student and staff level. I also wanted there to be more awareness in the wider community of our society and for us to make a difference for all people who identify as LGBT+ within Swansea and Wales. It would be impossible to tell you all of this year’s events but I will go through a few to show the kind of things that we will hopefully do and more as a society if I am elected as LGBT Officer for the academic year of 2014-2015. We have held events for Spirit Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance, LGBT+ History Month and Equal Marriage being legalized with the support of so many local charities. Spirit Day had the full support of many sports teams and departments within our university and got recognition from many lecturers and high up staff. For Transgender Day of Remembrance we held a candle lit vigil with Swansea Bay LGBT Unity Project, which had an incredible turn out with organisations from all over South Wales LGBT+ History Month was extremely busy with one or two events held by us every week. Each week was dedicated to having a theme of mental health, music, sport and education. We also attended events such as the launch of the LGBT Youth Group by YMCA Swansea and LGBT Cymru Helpline. All of these events had the thorough support of NUS LGBT Campaign too. Coming up we have a few meetings to go over changes within our society ready for next year and a few socials to end the academic year with. I feel this has been a successful year but I plan to make it even better if elected next year. Please visit: www.lgbtinswansea.org.uk or e-mail carly@lgbtinswansea.org.uk if you have any questions or issues at all. Thank you for this opportunity.

Carly Stewart, LGBT Officer 2013-2014 TSDSU Swansea Campus and President of the TSDSU Swansea Campus LGBT Society.


Shout! issue 5 (1)