I went to my first Pride ten years ago in Brighton. I had just come out as a lesbian, and I came away from the whole loud, colourful and slightly sweaty experience with a strong sense that I had met ‘my people’. The feeling of being able to march with thousands of people with whom you share common ground is fantastic.

I go to Pride to celebrate the LGBT community, to make sure that we are recognised in the constant, wearing fighting against prejudice, and to support my partner in her sexual identity.

So why did I nearly not go to my local Pride march yesterday? Partly because of the politics – every Pride has problems with infighting, squabbles and Facebook flaming, it would seem, and I understand that this is pretty much a part of organising a large event. Particularly one that tries to draw together and cater for a very disparate audience. But for an event that is supposed to be about inclusivity and celebration, this conflict can easily alienate the very people the event is supposed to be for.

Partly because I don’t feel I really belong. I know transmen who stop going to Pride events because they feel they are no longer relevant to them, and whilst I don’t fully agree with that sentiment, I can see where it comes from. Larger events may be different, by my experience is that Pride focuses heavily on the L and G, the B gets very little coverage, and the T…yes, I know we’re a relatively small group, but I sometimes get the impression that organisers don’t know quite what to do with us. Or for us. Saying this, at Pride yesterday there was a screening of a fantastic short film by a local trans youth group, which was a glimmer of light in what, for me, was a day of dysphoria and isolation.

Before the march, I went round the various stalls and stands, asking some if they would mind having some of my flyers for the new FTM Norfolk group on their table. They were happy to do this, but one person representing a local trans support group did ask me what the FTM stood for. This example of glaring ignorance aside, there is SO little awareness of and support for FTM-identified people generally, and at Pride specifically, that I’m not surprised a lot of people just stay away.

So what would make Pride better, and more inclusive for transmen? A few years ago I was in the City at around about the time local elections were on, and a member of the Green Party grabbed me and asked if I’d be voting Green. I said I’d love to, but there was no Green candidate in my area, so he said “Well, why don’t YOU do it?” Well, because I’m not a politician. Similarly, I suppose rather than bemoaning the lack of support and visibility, I should get up and do something myself. But you know, it would just be nice if the only way of changing things wasn’t to have to Do It Yourself. I’m not the only ‘out’ transguy in Norfolk, though I suppose I do stick my head above the parapet a little higher than most. Even if I did have the emotional energy to take on the mammoth task of trying to right the balance in provision for transguys at things like Pride, I can’t do it on my own.

So where are the transmen? The problem here, of course, is that a lot of transguys are stealth (not ‘out’), and yesterday I could have walked past hoards of transmen, and never known. We are not a very visible group, which is great in many ways, but it can mean that as a group we are not catered for at LGBT events, and even if someone wants to cater for us, we’re often not around to be consulted.

From my point of view, setting up FTM Norfolk, I KNOW that there are more FTM-identified people out there than the ones I know personally, and the 5 of us that I knew about at Pride yesterday. Short of approaching anyone who looked like they *might* be a transguy and getting my nose broken (don’t worry – I’m not that stupid…) there’s not a lot I can do. That makes me feel very lonely at an event like Pride – far from the Proud T in LGBT, and closer to feeling like an oddball at someone else’s party.

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