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Is a transgender festival in Southampton needed? Tait ap Ellis

social media were quick to The announcement that suggest this encouraged Southampton is to host segregation and called into its first transgender festi- question the need for it in val next month has been Southampton. met with scorn on social The Link caught up with media. one such commenter, Lee The week-long festi- Harris, who believes the val (ArtSo Trans) is being idea for the festival is “paheld to celebrate the lives thetic.” and creativity of the lo- “I don’t think anywhere cal trans community and needs this festival. Live is set to be hosted at The your life how you want Art House Café on March to but stop forcing it on 28th. But, many locals on people. I just don’t think it needs to be made into a big deal.” Katrina Morgan, feminist and exchair of Women in Science Engineering Technology and Humanities (WiSET+) at University of Southampton, put her full support behind the festival as she suggested that those who felt it forced upon them should atActivist Nathan Lawrence Picture credit: Instagram tend to gain

some empathy: “I believe there is a lot of conflict that transgender people face in the current climate and festivals such as these are essential to reducing this conflict and supporting the transgender community.” So why do we need a transgender festival? Home Office data reveals hate crime against the transgender community have actually gone up by 39% in Hampshire over the last year, with charities suggesting that number is far higher. This, alongside the trans issue fracturing feminists and the LGBTQ community alike, has led to them feeling like outsiders in a group where they should feel comfortable. This air of animosity has led to some in the community to band together and celebrate who they are. Alex Burnham, a student at Solent University suggests more information should be given to those with body dysmorphia but is in support of the festival:

“Some people are clearly trans – and that’s absolutely fine, we should support and accept them in society. However, it needs to be studied more because the attempted suicide rate for post-op is roughly 40%, which would suggest to me it’s part of a larger mental health issue.” The Link spoke to transgender activist, Nathan Lawrence, about some of the negative comments on social media: “The same theme seems to reoccur in the hate comments, things like ‘special snowflakes’ and ‘why isn’t there a insert day?’ The festival isn’t about segregation or about making people seem special, it’s about a community that receives an unimaginable amount of hate purely for existing. Having a festival like this means that other trans people can find each other and not feel so alone. It allows us to share common experiences through art and that’s a beautiful thing. The LGBT communi-

Celebrating Hampshire Pride in Winchester Lucia Cuprova

LAST weekend the quaint Hampshire city of Winchester welcomed the fifth Hampshire Pride Parade organised by the local community. Hundreds of people from all corners of the county and especially Winchester came to support and show solidarity with LGBTQ community. February is ‘LGBT History Month’ in the UK which is why the representatives of Hampshire Pride have chosen the month for celebrations despite other countries celebrating it in the summer. The chairperson and main organiser of the venue Sa-

rah Collins told The Link: “Originally, there was not a lot happening in the local community to support and celebrate the LGBTQ diversity. So we set up this group five years ago and today we’re hoping for 500 people coming [from all] over Hampshire to celebrate the solidarity and inclusivity of our community.” The Great Hall in Winchester hosted the event and included activities such as a circus, the exhibition of the medieval clothes and was decorated with rainbow flags. Trans Youth Representative Hannah Phillips explained why this venue is

important to her: “We want to bring everyone together in the Hampshire’s L G B T Q community today in Winchester, to stand as one to show solidarity and our diversity.” The highlight of the program was the performance of the Busking Society from the University of Winchester and they sang popular songs such as ‘Valerie’ by the Zutons before the main parade started.

The University of Winchester has been the partner of Hampshire Pride since its LGBTQ community was set up back in the Autumn of 2014.

ty is a very discriminating group, we discriminate against each other. It’s a very white, male-dominated place so I think this festival can showcase trans people of colour, disabled trans people and those who are gender non conforming - is excellent.”

EDITORIAL TEAM EDITOR Daniela Costa DEPUTY EDITOR Joe Parker CHIEF SUB Thomas Corlito DEPUTY SUB Cameron Richards NEWS EDITOR Millie G Whittaker ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Sam Marhraoui LIFESTYLE EDITOR Lucia Fernandez SPORTS EDITOR Alex Gialedakis PICTURE EDITOR Poppy Blain DEPUTY PICTURE EDITOR Katie Brewer & Britt Robbins TWITTER @SolentJou ONLINE solentjournalism.

Activists in Winchester Picture credit: Lucia Cuprova

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