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CHRISTANIA: I’m Christania, the girl with the big hair and Editor-in-Chief of AZ Mag, an online publication for LGBTQ people of colour

ALEXIS: My name’s Alexis, I’m a gay man, writer and apparently what happens when you let your boy play with dolls  

BOTH: - and welcome, to Qmmunity

ALEXIS: For our first episode, we thought we’d dive right on in there and rip the plaster off straight away with the biggest of question….what does it mean to be LGBTQ in 2018?

It’s 2018, and they LGBTQ community is going through a change. We’ve apparently won all of our legal rights & protections, and seen off the bogeymen who wanted to hurt us. We’re told we’ve never had it so good - and many people, even from within the community, questions whether Pride is still necessary?

CHRISTANIA: I first realised that I was a lesbian at a very young age .and over the years that I’ve grown, matured and found myself within my own identity and the community - I’d say that to me, being LGBTQ means... different things to different people. Your experiences definitely effect how you’ll interact with this LGBTQ identity - but to me - ultimately, it means that you’re extra special, that you live outside of the hetero, cis, patriarchal norm. And we can live and make our own rules.

ALEXIS: I would never change being gay, I absolutely love it, and I think to me - being LGTBQ means that when I was younger, because I was pushed out of the “mainstream” - read heterosexual norm - and made to feel different, as I’ve grown up, I’ve felt free-er, and more able to build a life for myself on my own rules. I’d say the biggest gift that comes from being gay, is that it not only makes you stronger, but can instil you with such great empathy for other people.

CHRISTANIA: It’s clear that between us that we don’t have the answer, and I like facts and figures, so let’s make a start -

ALEXIS: Since 1983 the British Social Attitudes survey has asked the question “whether they think sexual relationships between two adults of the same sex are; always wrong, mostly wrong, sometimes wrong, rarely wrong or not wrong at all” - and the good news, is that we’re almost at 70% to the positive. But that’s still 30% of the people around us who believe that we’re wrong, that our relationships aren’t valid and we’re not equal to them. Which - side note - if we look at how that question is asked, is even loaded against us! That’s four negative option, and one positive option. And that, is straight bias at work.

CHRISTANIA: Despite equality legislation apparently being on our side, YouGov research found that in the last year, 35% of LGBTQ people have hidden their identity in the workplace, because they were afraid of discrimination. A shocking figure that rises two 42% for Black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT staff and 51% for trans staff.

ALEXIS: While these facts and statistics can give a sobering snapshot of some of the difficulties we face - it’s important to remember, that they don’t tell the brilliance of our community too. We are winning our journey to equality, people are feeling more and more able to come out and live happy lives at younger ages. The strength of our community, the joui de vivre and ability to bounce back and keep flying our flag in the face of adversity can’t be reflected in statistics.

CHRISTANIA: We need to start the conversation - and so for our first panel show, recorded live at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, we were joined By Reeta Loi, CEO and founder of Gaysians, Steffan Zachiaya film director and producer, Chloe Filani writer and Lewis Corner, Deputy Editor of Gay Times.

ALEXIS: We kicked off the conversation by asking the panel what it means to be LGBTQ today. The next voice you’ll hear is Reeta, she bravely took on the opening question and got things going

REETA: It’s  being part of a community and I think that's one of the most beautiful things about it. I think one of the best things we have is, is that we can share our experiences and feel like we're, we're part of a movement.

LEWIS: Yeah, and to add to that-

CHRISTANIA: That’s Lewis’ voice

LEWIS: I think the, all of us have a common experience in coming out. So we all have that psychological event in our life and as soon as we become a part of this community and kind of get to explore what that means to us

STEFFAN: It's a lot bigger than just the LGBTQ community now. When I came out as trans, I thought now I found a sense of belonging. I found home in a way, so it was about accepting myself first before being able to accept that other people on the outside of me will or will not accept me. So it's also about being authentic. It's also been about being true to yourself is also if you just owning who you are as an individual. So yes, I've come out and maybe maybe the T’s attached to the LGBT but that doesn't define all of me

CHRISTANIA: you’ve just heard Steffan describing his coming out, and next we’ll hear Chloe sharing her thoughts

CHLOE: I feel part of me I understanding historically why it's even LGBT in the context of we were all not sort of cisgendered and het some were and but some weren’t het and we were all pushed to the margins, reason why we have this term and I think one thing that has been a massive understanding of mine is like we realistically the LGBT movement has mainly focused on the L and the G and the T, you know, Stonewall even put out the statement, it wasn't until 2016. We haven't been thinking about the Trans people and that is a realisation that the community, what that is, has not really taken into account of what does trans mean what does gender mean.

ALEXIS: For context - what Chloe is talking about here, is that Stonewall - Europe’s biggest and leading LGBT charity - until four years ago did not consider the trans identity to be part of their fight for civil rights, and left them aside. When their new CEO, Ruth Hunt, took over she set about righting this wrong and said Stonewall must “apologise for the harm they have caused” and she quickly set about righting the wrong, stating “however you identify, you must all be trans allies”.

CHRISTANIA: As we keep talking about community, we then had to ask the panellists how they viewed community, and what it meant to them

STEFFAN: I feel like community is almost a support group. When I hear the word community, I feel a sense of warmth. Again, a sense of belonging, but it's not always like that. So coming out as a transgender man or woman of Trans Experience, I felt a huge resistance from the community itself. And I don't know whether that was because obviously you know, I transitioned from female to male or whether that was because I was black and I was transitioning or I also identify as black British Jamaican

CHRISTANIA: This is Steffan’s voice speaking

STEFFAN: So the community in my head that I felt most connected to you was my family at the time, so as soon as I made that decision it’s like my family lives, she just kind of like literally crumbled before my eyes and therefore I had to seek another support system another support group in order to feel loved in order to feel accepted, even though I had to do that internal work myself, first and foremost, it was almost almost needed that extra support around me outside of me. So when I think of community, I think of a group of people that I can connect with, a group of people that I can, you know, basically just that can embrace me for who I truly am.

ALEXIS: Steffan then went on to reveal his journey to acceptance had a surprising twist, one I wouldn’t have anticipated

STEFFAN: I felt the most acceptance from cisgendered heterosexuals, which is crazy because that's what I thought, that's where I'd meet the resistance. But the resistance in the LGBT community, and I'm speaking about it today because I feel like it's an important issue to raise because there is still a lot of resistance when people choose to go into transitional journey, you know, transitioning through, you know, obviously medically or just transitioning mentally. So again, I had it from lesbians, you know, why you doing that, you know, you're just seeking attention x, y and z. It was just like seriously, this is my sole decision and you know, your projecting your insecurities and your beliefs onto me because you feel uncomfortable with the way I want to live my life. And that was again from the LGBT community, even from gay guys as well.  It was very difficult

CHRISTANIA: Although what Steffan said might be quite surprising to you - I can empathise with him because being other within other, is something that I deal with, I’m not just a lesbian, I’m also black - and sometimes that can feel isolating and for safety you want to stick to what you know. Transphobia in the LGB community is rife and some people are not willing to unlearn their bad behaviour.

ALEXIS: Sounds like we need more context - Two in five trans people who would like to undergo medical intervention as part of their transition, haven’t done so yet, because they fear the consequences it might have on their family life.

CHRISTANIA: In the last year, a third of trans people have been discriminated against because of their gender identity when visiting a café, restaurant, or nightclub & More than two in five trans people avoid certain streets because they don’t feel safe.         

ALEXIS: IF we look at housing - One in four were discriminated against when looking for a home, the knock on effect being 25% of trans people having experienced homelessness..

ALEXIS: Chloe made it really relatable when she next spoke -

CHLOE: There have been killings of Trans women before we've even been reporting this stuff. This has been consistent and throughout history. So when it comes to community, personally, I have found it with other black queer women be they lesbians or Trans Women and I say that because it's like my race comes into account when it comes to my identity and how I navigate the world and then my womanhood and understanding what my womanhood has been has been so much more of a like finding a community within that and there are nights that I go to that specific towards that and sort of celebrate black queer women and femmes and non-binary people. But realistically I don't find any solidarity

ALEXIS: I found that really troubling to be honest - that she felt such a lack of solidarity had been.

CHLOE: I think there's also that realisation that with the whole marriage movement that was really centred around sort of same sex people and very specifically white and middle class as well.  And yes, that created a lot of change. But realistically that didn't really create change for trans people because we're more about our gender. And even with me personally, like I would see myself as a heterosexual and like what does that mean when I'm coming to a club and like gay guys are not looking for me basically. So yeah, there is a lot that we actually need to talk about and if we actually want to again maintain this LGBT and the T not falling off it. Yeah, there has to be a real look at ourselves with misogyny and racism, transphobia within the community and actually deal with those problems before you can even talk about like cis heterosexual people attacking us, like we actually have to deal with what's happening in our community.

ALEXIS: the hate is coming from inside the house. If we look at how race amplifies the issues of sexuality that people face - it’s not just the wider heterosexual world doing it, shamefully, we’re doing it to people within our community too. According to research by FS magazine, a horrifying 80% of black men, 79% of Asian men have experienced racism on the gay scene. Sanjay Sood-Smith, Director of Empowerment Programmes at Stonewall said of online dating that the frequent appearance of phrases“‘No blacks, no Asians’ and ‘No chocolate, no curry, no rice, no spice’ had become the modern-day versions of ‘No blacks, no dogs, no Irish.”

LEWIS: I think with Gay Times in particular over the last 12 months, we’ve done a really big push to be like, you know what, we can't just appeal to gay and bi men anymore. We have to appeal to the whole community. So instead of just having a trans covers one a year, we've fully integrated it into the, to amplify their voices for it the whole year through cover shoots or, or insights. We're trying to bring that community and have those discussions within the community while addressing the issues outside of the community towards all of us as the LGBTQ community as well

CHRISTANIA: I am glad that Lewis touched on this and I think that Gay Times are moving in the right direction, their most recent covers and features have been quite surprising. Lack of representation was exactly why AZ Magazine was set up. Lewis Continues…

LEWIS: almost when you come out everyone thinks that, oh, you come out as gay. Oh Hey, we'll like, everyone accepts it. It's fine. And then you go from there and you'll live a happy life. You actually have to completely deconstruct everything that you've been taught from that moment of how life should be, how society will accept you and rebuild who you were supposed to be. And that could take another 10 to 15, 16 years, it's almost like we're growing up twice. And that's kind of been my experience. Like I when I think when I came out as gay, I didn't really know anything about the LGBTQ community. I barely knew what it meant to be gay. And so that's been a journey of discovery for myself, but through my twenties when you're supposed to sort of be the responsible adult and know everything. And yeah, it's kind of getting rid of all those things that you've been taught. You're not supposed to like the whole toxic masculinity thing comes into play where, Oh, is that too feminine? Who cares, you should, you shouldn't have to care about that. Or is that too that? Is that too something else? And it takes a lot of time and work to break that down and it also takes a lot of time and work to break that thing and not care what others think.

ALEXIS: that speaks to me deeply - my sexuality got labelled by people at my school, before I’d even really processed my identity, and it was used it as a way to put me beneath them - as a result, I felt incredibly rejected from masculinity and straight spaces, I was hounded out of spaces I’d previously been free. If I’m perfectly honest, I still have to clock myself and that inner-shamed voice that sometimes will worry about how I come across, how I look, my mannerisms or how I’m dressed, whether I’m too camp or not man enough - and even though logically and rationally I don’t care about those things, that’s not the society that we were raised in. And so to unpick all of that past trauma, almost the way we’re brainwashed into thinking we all have to conform to a very narrow range of what a “man” is - it’s tiring. Lewis spoke about how freeing yourself from assumptions, and admitting you don’t have it all figured out can help you break these things down

LEWIS: I think interacting with other people from the community. I grew up in the countryside where I don't think I ever really met a gay man or an openly gay man until I was like 17. And so you, you learn from other people's experiences and also a big part of it is listening. Don't assume you know everything you don't know, you know the way you feel or the way you should act is listen and observe.

REETA: What I've found that most of my Asian friends, well actually, none of my Asian friends were queer and none of my queer friends were Asian. So I was exploring my queer identity in one place and separately exploring my, my cultural identity or ethnicity. So the two, two, were not coming together, so I felt that I was building community in spaces and with people and making those connections but I wasn't doing that and I didn't feel whole really. I still felt like I was living a double life, which I think a lot of LGBTQ people can relate to and a lot of Asian people can relate to. And that was the reason behind starting Gaysians too. I ended up creating a community, um, or a space and a platform for, for us to meet and putting on events and coming together. And that's what's great about now is that we can build those sorts of movements with social media and technology and the Internet.

CHRISTANIA: The crossing of different identities, ones that may oppose and not naturally interact was something that Reeta then elaborated upon, on how she found peace with her conflicting identities. I can relate to Reeta’s experience because growing up I was convinced that I was the only black Jamaican lesbian in the village and black women are constantly erased from media.  Even in everyday life people act like they can’t see you on the tube so being a lesbian on top of that just felt like more discrimination , more pain, more hurt. But finding other black LGBT plus people was absolutely liberating for me and I felt so lucky to live in a big city at the time where I could meet other people that looked like me and had similar experiences and it probably saved my life

REETA: I started researching and going to events and just sort of grassroots meeting people and there are all these amazing charities and support groups and other activists out there that were going through similar things, so we came together and started working together. Last week we saw legislation changing India, section 377 being repealed, which is India saying, yeah, okay, you know you can be queer at the same time. And I'm like, yeah, I know like with queer, you know, we know that I was going to swear, but I didn't, you know, I think that a lot of our identity or facets of your identity have been seen as separate or taken from us and I think it's about reclaiming those in ourselves and then finding ways to connect in those ways with other people.

CHRISTANIA: One thing that we’ve noticed is the way people are identifying is differing and diversifying. We’re not just the Gay community anymore, it was Gay & Lesbian, then we included the B, and T, and it’s grown into an ever increasing spectrum. Which I think is brilliant because, people feel the freedom to express their sexuality and identity however they wish.

ALEXIS: While it’s great that some people are finding their identities and the acronym is expanding to represent that - I do understand how a lot of people can feel left behind and resistant to this change. It’s only very recently that I’ve forced myself to be okay with the term Queer.  To me, and probably a lot of other gay man, Queer is a really violent, and aggressive word that was used against me. It was spat at me, along with the F word, the one with a couple of gs and a t, - when I was 15, and I was really badly gay-bashed - that’s what I can remember being shouted at me before I lost consciousness and ended up in hospital.  However, I recognise that there is a strength in the way that some people are working to reclaim the word Queer and define that label for themselves...and if they don’t feel comfortable identifying as Gay, then maybe I should take the steps towards them and make myself become comfortable with the term Queer.

CHRISTANIA: Reeta elaborates on the diversification of our identities…

REETA: I think there is a lot of isolation and loneliness that a lot of us feel when we first start to discover our own identity and when we share it with people, you know, their response often becomes how we end up feeling about ourselves as well and if it's negative, which is sadly often is, that has an impact. So I think there's a real need for us to be able to find connections and find our tribes and I think social media and technology have really helped us to do that. We want to identify with a particular label so that we can understand ourselves, place ourselves in our environment and our world and then find other people that we can connect with based on that.

CHLOE: We can learn all these new labels for ourselves, and understand each other. We'll be like, oh wait, that is me, or I'm not that term because it's very like. I think sometimes obviously for some people it's not fully encompassing of their identity, so yeah, there's this big push for having more labels and not that I feel like these for me, labels don't narrow yourself. They give you a foundation in which you can then be a person in the world because like personally for me it wasn't when I started transitioning and understood my womanhood and instead my blackness also came into that and my trans-ness also came into that in which I was like, okay, it wasn't really about being consistently happy, which they always say, but it's like I have bad times. I have depression or this other thing, but now I have this foundation of my black trans womanhood in which to fall back on of okay, this is me, what is happening? How can I change that? And like I think labels can really help activate that. Sort of like your being your beginning. So what you have to deal with it. You're not dealing with no foundation because that's probably the worst to be like, I have no idea who I am.

CHRISTANIA: I was really pleased Chloe made this point - it made so much sense

ALEXIS: Right? A few years ago, there was a definite push to drop labels, that we were going to reject them, that labelling ourselves and our sexuality was reductive - I hadn’t consciously considered the way she talks of them as a basis of strength

CHRISTANIA: She really hit the nail on the head with her next point

CHLOE: We live in a society where labels are pushed onto us and it’s almost like trying to claim something before someone claims that for you.

CHRISTANIA: Lewis agreed and expanded upon how labels can be useful in our understanding of our identity, and how our attitudes towards labels, and whether they’re needed or not, has shifted

LEWIS: I think a lot of labels maybe 10, 15 years ago came with a very stereotypical idea of what that means and I think the new generation coming through is very much taking an owning it and redefining it. And then that's probably why there is a desire for all these different labels so people can understand their experiences and their voices, what they are going for. And it's also, there's also a sense of representation. People want to see themselves represented in culture and mainstream culture within the community. And if you've got a label on it, then you can identify with that amongst the stories being told or the voices being heard.

ALEXIS: In the past, when our community was first coming out of the shadows and beginning it’s journey towards civil rights and equality - our forqueers, and by that I mean those men, women and trans individuals who bravely took to the streets and fought for our rights.  They were forced to frame our identity in a political and social context that was entirely different from our life today. The world they were operating in was violent, oppressive and they had to define our identity in retaliation to what was being said about us - rather than who we wanted to be, and how we wanted to live.

CHRISTANIA: With this in mind, I wonder how much of that came into the labels and the community identity that was created then? And now that we have, fortunately, moved on and progressed our rights - are we seeing our changing identity as a natural evolution and growth? Language changes over time, therefore surely the way we speak about our identity has to evolve too.

ALEXIS: Exactly - the term homosexual only entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1976, the term Gay originally used to refer to prostitutes.

REETA: it has been about rights and it has been about just fighting to even exist and feel that we have the right to be here as we are. We've also had the HIV and AIDS crisis that has made our community focus in terms of our energy, but also in terms of funding and charitable support and where access has been so it's really quite recent even here in the UK that we're in a position where we're able to now really start to explore and develop the community in a broader sense, in a more inclusive sense if that's what we collectively want to do and choose to do, which I certainly hope it is

LEWIS: It kind of feels like maybe the community is maturing, like they're kind of getting a sense of who they are and what they should be and what they deserve rather than trying to like wow, fighting...the energy isn't being spent fighting on rights. There's still a lot more to do, but now we can sort of sit and be like, okay, what do we represent as a community and what should we stand for as a community? And so I feel like those conversations are starting to happen now  and it's 50 years over 50 years since the legalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales. So it's kind of becoming into our own a bit, kind of all that, that history is there and we can learn from that and build a future from it.

CHRISTANIA: As we see the community diversify in its identification - does that have any impact on our shared sense of identity and community? Are we at risk of moving too far away from each other?

CHLOE: I feel it's made the community look at itself in the way that they're realising that difference. That there's a lot of problems in the community. I feel like it's not really possible to just even say LGBT anymore and just like have one person be, that image, it’s just not possible to have that anymore at all. Like I think it's great that there is a community, but like I don't know what the steps forward would be

REETA: I don't think there is a singular homogenous community anywhere in the world and I think that I see it as a gift to be part of the LGBTQ spectrum because like I said, the beginning is about we have this gift and this opportunity to embrace difference in ourselves and difference in others and that, we're a microcosm for everything that's happening in the world and I think that we're in this information age, right?

CHRISTANIA: Reeta argues that this changing time gives us permission to ask more questions of ourselves

REETA: Like who am I? What is my identity? What is my place in the world? How do I connect with other people? Is this person just because they have liver, all the same intersections as made, do I even connect with them? You know, because a lot of the time you don't right, a lot of the time you connect with people the most connect with happen to be a very different intersections to yourselves. But I think yeah, the journey for me is really now about moving into that space of connection and spiritual awakening. That where we are right now is a part of us getting there. We have to go through this period that we're at together.

LEWIS: It's almost like we need our era of enlightenment where we kind of, we celebrate everything that's different within the community and about the community and support it and evolve with all of those facets involved.

CHRISTANIA: While we explored this view of our identity, Steffan chimed in with a different perspective and the argument for stripping back the way we identify

STEFFAN: We need to embrace that the fact that we're human first and foremost, and I can connect with you to you as a human being before race, before culture, before gender identity, before sexual identity before all these labels that we create. We've just basically got to just think, you know, we're human and that's it.

ALEXIS: As we began to wrap up the panel talk, we asked each of the panelists for small, easy steps that everyone in the room, Christania and I, and now all of you listeners - all of us in the community - can do to start to improve the bonds within our family

CHLOE: I think very real, especially when it comes to trans people help fund our transitions, help get us taxis when it comes to, especially the ones in early stages who are trying to fight navigating society who get harassed on the streets for just like walking existing in the world. People need to understand like transitioning is like a second career. You have to have a job on top of having another job and just like sort of I guess with when it comes to sexuality, you know, yeah, you're, you're almost becoming a new person. Trans people, especially ones who do a medical transition, we're becoming a whole new person and like that's really hard to deal with that and especially upon when it comes with race only with that you're dealing with, like other situations in society and a lot of time there are so many statistics out there, loads of trans people do not get hired, so if we want to really do that activist community work, it's do the trickle down effect. We need to be in a reality where you like, think about your position, what you can do. Maybe you can't give a lot, but sometimes it's doing those small things or you know, walking home with someone if you know that trans, if they endanger on the street, like even that, that's a lot that you could do for that person. So yeah, those small steps.

STEFFAN:  I think it's really simple for me just to kind of like it’s just act from a place of compassion, do to people what you would want done unto you, treat people how you'd want to be treated. So the change starts by feeling love.

CHRISTANIA: - Chloe’s suggestions on supporting trans women, were helpful, especially as she gave options for people on different pay grades. Steffan’s point was basically telling us not to be shit humans which is something I think we can all manage.

LEWIS: Whether that's based on race, gender identity, even expression so two of the biggest stories today was the fact that queer eye and RuPaul's drag race won loads of Emmy’s last night and they are. Those are mainstream programmes that are showcasing the wide breadth of gender identity and sexual orientation from different backgrounds, but then on the flip side, there was a story about a really popular gay night club in London. Basically saying that if a guy wants to turn up to their doors and heels, they're not gonna be let in and they don't want anyone from femme acting in the club and they kicked them out and we should not let that be happening in 2018. That there proves that we've got loads more work to do in that area, within the community and I just think the way we can challenge that is stand up to it and don't go. Someone recently said to me, your money is almost like a ballot card. How you spend it is almost a vote in favour of if you agree with something or you don't agree with something, so put your money with, with things that you agree with.

ALEXIS: Lewis makes such a good point - we can, as a whole, let quite a lot of bad behaviour go unchecked - I won’t name the club night, but as Lewis mentions - in the last month there was an incident were a club owner went on a very aggressive rant against femme men and anybody  who didn’t fit in with his very narrow definition of what it means to look and be masculine. And honestly, sure, you might not be that guy in heels that wasn’t allowed in - but in truth, I believe everybody - regardless of sexuality - have probably been affected by toxic masculinity and worried whether we’re too effeminate, too masculine, or not masculine enough. we only escape these pressures if we challenge that behaviour when we see it.

REETA:  I'd say there are three things that we can all do every day. The first of those is gratitude. You know, real gratitude for this journey because this is your journey and no one else can judge you on it and no one else can tell you that you're wrong. It's for you to enjoy and celebrate, you know, celebrate your life and have gratitude for everything that you have within it and the people you have within it and for yourself, I’d say the second thing is do something for yourself every day you know, like ask yourself how you are and what is the gift that I can give to myself every day. Be kind to yourself because sometimes when things are really tough, you just don't want to leave the house that day and think about something nice you can do for you. Whether that's just cooking a meal or speak to a friend or you know, whatever it is, you know, watching, watching a movie, whatever. 'd say the third thing is ask yourself what you can do that day for somebody else that is part of the LGBT community and I think that's really important and that's how we start to build this alliance and that's how we own LGBTQ plus is think of somebody that, you know, that might be a friend, might not be a friend. It might even be something on social media that you've, you know, someone that you follow that you think is cool or someone that follows you that is always retweeting your stuff, you know, shout out to them and say hi, like reach out to each other because this is how we become a family and that is, that is to me, what family is supposed to be.

ALEXIS: After that beautiful answer from Reeta, we handed over the microphone to the audience who asked some great questions on the night - we’ve included one here.

AUDIENCE: Um, hi.. Something specifically related to what Steffan said earlier, right at the start actually was that, as you came out as trans, you were, you felt neglected by the queer community and you found, you found your way in the cishet community. What could we do as CIS queers to make people like yourself and other people going through the Trans experience more welcome?

STEFFAN: What would say to that is just kind of like trade shoes, shoes with us for one day.  Coming out as gay or coming out as lesbian is the same similar experience coming out as trans so you know what the feelings that you receive coming out. If you feel those feelings, then you'll be able to relate and understand how to treat us from that place. You see where the commonality is and then navigating through that. You know, even down to the workplaces as well. I know that, I know the doors are opening, as I said, but it's recruiting a lot more Transgender people are not discriminating. It's even down to like your application forms, you know, removing the trans box for number one. That's my personal opinion. We've got man, we've got woman, we've got trans, we've got, you know, non-binary, we've got, you know, all these different types of identities. But as soon as I tick trans man, if I choose to, there's another page that I'm directed to where it asks me, you know, was this the gender you was born at birth, like that that to me is a trigger. So then I don't want to take anything. It's the same thing with, you know, the diversity section and application forms as well. Why? Why do we need to kind of tick into these boxes the same way you would want to be treated the same way you could shoot somebody else. And that's how we would feel respected in that sense.

CHRISTANIA: Chloe made the point that it’s the responsibility of the rest of us, those who are cisgendered, to educate ourselves - rather than to always put the burden of explanation on people who are trans

CHLOE: You know there’s Google, there’s so many trans activists on Youtube online that have put out so much information that like even with me, I found out how to transition because of Google, like if I can do that, you can figure out how to just get the correct pronouns or how to approach trans person in the right way. It is very easy.


ALEXIS: What a way to end the panel show eh? As you sat in the audience for this one, what did you think?

CHRISTANIA: It was such an amazing night!! The panellists really touched on topics and issues that I think we shy away from. It was great that Reeta, Steffan and Chloe gave context of their experiences as non-white LGBT plus people because sometimes I don’t really think it’s always considered that your race plays such a large role in your identity. I really appreciated Steffan and Chloe’s frankness when talking about how the L,G and B had treated them as trans people, everyone always wants to pretend that shit is all sunshines and rainbows and that is definitely not the case. We have a lot of work to do in terms of uplifting and supporting each other.

CHRISTANIA: what stood out for you?

ALEXIS: Firstly, I learned that my shirt I was wearing was see through under the stage lights and I accidentally showed a bit too much skin…What stood out to me the most - is that Lewis, Reeta and I all spoke of a feeling of empathy and solidarity that we felt with other Lesbian and Gay people, but that wasn’t how Chloe and Steffan felt. I hadn’t realised before how distanced many within the trans community felt and how we’d let them down. It’s well documented and covered that Marsha P. Johnson, a black trans woman, who kick started the Stonewall riots that triggered the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement...and yet...we’ve left the T by the wayside. I also really liked their very practical tips about how we can all start to build a stronger, more cohesive community and look out for one another better - what’s the one thing you’re going to start doing?

CHRISTANIA: when i can, if i can afford to, I’d like to support more trans women monetarily

ALEXIS: I’d never even considered the sheer cost of transitioning - we’ll find a list of crowdfunders like Chloe mentioned, and we’ll share them on our site, under the Get Involved section.

CHRISTANIA: To check these out, the charities Qmmunity pledges to support - along with the full episode transcripts, links to further reading and ways to listen, go to www.qmmunitypod.com

ALEXIS: You can follow us on social media using @QmmunityPod or further the conversations with our #QmmunityPod.  Please subscribe free, review, rate and share on Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast app, just search Qmmunity - Q M M U N I T Y

Qmmunity is produced by Renay Richardson for Broccoli Content, exec producer is Kevin Morosky, researcher Rez Marino and our live show engineer is Ben Williams.  Thank you to the Ace Hotel Shoreditch for letting us record in your Miranda Space and a big thanks to Nick Brigden Shine PR for hooking us up with tickets to DreamGirls, Kinky Boots and Strictly Ballroom the musical for giveaways.  Thank you Cass Denton for providing our live show technical advice.