Group shot of around 25 Transpire members at Meet and Eat

Meet and Eat #3

Transpire founder Gina reports from the third Transpire Meet and Eat event

So on Thursday 21st July 2016, Transpire had its third social event with over 25 people attending. So many new faces, and it’s good to see such a spectrum of age groups, and people there.

The whole spirit of starting this group in February 2016, was to provide peer support to the trans community in Southend and beyond, as we were all living in isolation of each other. Isolation is one thing that I personally have never felt in recent years. But I have felt it, and it’s so harmful to the well-being of somebody who may be struggling with any LGBT+ related issues. It could be lack of a supportive family, or a family not having the understanding to support an LGBT+ family member, but truly have the desire to do so. There really isn’t anything in Southend where a group of friends can come together with their families, and actually celebrate their differences and learn from each. When our group started, I began to meet some of its members, one to one, in cafes. Then it began to grow, the group got bigger, and members joined who had the skills to help make the group more accessible. We joined Southend Association of Voluntary Services (SAVS) and the LGBT consortium. Then after a couple of months we formed a committee and created our constitution. At the time of writing our website has been created and we are adding articles. We are having more social events in both the day time and evenings, and soon we’ll be looking at our first day trip out as a group of friends. During August we’ll be working on our plans to engage with schools in September and again we will be collaborating with other organisations, like Essex Fire and Rescue, and SAVS. I’m really an so happy that 6 months after I started a facebook network group for Trans people , their families and supporters the group now has nearly 140 members. More importantly it’s become more than just trans but actually an LGBT+ network group.

I’ve met so many great people, all of whom have community ties to Southend and beyond. Thanks to the efforts of so many amazing people, we now have the website up and running, plus we’re on Twitter. The efforts of so many pro-active, wonderful people are putting us firmly on the map of Southend and beyond. Its so weird that prior to starting this group there was nothing in Southend for LGBT people other than two gay bars… Now we have a virtual and real community, and we meet socially too! My vision is that the group will just grow and grow, because of the enthusiasm of so many people, and the community spirit that exists between us. Nobody should feel isolated and now there is no reason to be.

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