Birmingham LGBT were very “Proud “to be nominated for the National diversity awards LGBT community organization and at a stunning event in Leeds in September which truly celebrated and embraced Diversity. We were both shocked and delighted to win this prestigious award. The National Diversity Awards pay tribute to diversity within our communities and remind us of how far we have come in the struggle for fairness and human rights.
It has been an amazing year for Birmingham LGBT, a small charity delivering services to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* community in Birmingham. At the end of January we opened the doors of the first LGBT health and wellbeing centre in England and Wales. The centre is fully accessible and includes a café, clinical spaces, training and counselling rooms and a fitness suite. In many ways this is fitting as the first LGBT community center in the United Kingdom was the Birmingham Gay Community Centre which opened in 1976, sadly the center closed after a couple of years due to the lack of financial support.
The LGBT center is a one-stop shop for the LGB and T community in the city, offering a range of services, activities and events. It is something far greater than that though; it is a sign of a ‘community’ of shared values, shared experiences and a ‘symbol’ of pride and visibility.
It is now the beginning of November and I am wondering where the year has gone.
November is a significant month in the LGB and T community’s calendar as November the 20th is Transgender day of remembrance. The Trans * community are often marginalsed in mainstream LGBT organization’s whose main focus is on sexual orientation and not gender variance. This in itself holds a certain irony as Trans* activists played a major part in the Stonewall riots, the cornerstone of the fight for liberation for LGB and T people.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time of reflection and reminiscence, a time to remember that even though there have been great advances in the struggle for human right there is still a very long way to go. Trans* people are amongst some of the most discriminated members of our society often facing prejudice when they try and access health and social care, housing and employment
Transgender Day of Remembrance is held in November to honour Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28, 1998, launched the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco vigil the following year.
The event provides a forum for transgender communities and allies to raise awareness of the threat of violence faced by gender variant people and the persistence of prejudice felt by the transgender community.
This November as Transgender Day of Remembrance approaches I would encourage everyone committed to social justice to remember the rich continuum of gender diversity and fluidity that exists in human society and to move away from rigid binary categories that oppress. It is important that we all remember the struggle of Trans* people throughout history and unite to end that struggle honoring those lost through hate, discrimination and fear.
This year Birmingham LGBT, an organisation committed to diversity and inclusivity, have decided to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance by holding a number of events that celebrate Trans* members of our community while a minutes silence will be held at an event we are hosting on the 20th November the following weekend we are holding the first Trans* fest in Birmingham
Events will include a film evening, cabaret evening and day of workshops debates and talks. Reality TV Stars Drew-Ashlyn Cunningham and Lewis Hancock, who presented us with the award for the LGBT community organization at the National diversity awards, will appear at the evening cabaret event. For further information go to www.blgbt.org All events are free, though a collection will be made for Birmingham LGBTs FTM and MTF Trans* support groups
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