Brighton is the place to beBy Ruth Rose
PHOTOGRAPH by Sharon Kilgannon, Alonglines.com
I've been involved with Brighton Council on producing this thing that they developed last year about transgendered people having a positive policy.
There were about five or six of us that they consulted at length to get the thing right. They gave us a questionnaire and we had to answer questions and it was just hopeless because it asked questions about “Do we believe that abuse is wrong” and that sort of thing. If you put a wrong answer you were obviously some bad citizen. At the end of it, we sent a message back to the Council. “Next time we’ll ask the questions you give us the answer ”. To their credit the Council woke up. They came back with a positive policy that they had pieced together, they consulted us at length about it. They made a really good job of it.
They’re probably the first city to do this sort of thing. To adopt a properly thought out transgender policy which is not just tolerance, but something which is positive. That accepts that this is part of their society and makes provision for it. Also, in Brighton’s case, to be quite happy to attract older people who have retired and are transgendered, or going through a transgender process, to come and live in Brighton because it ’s more tolerant and more positive about these things. That is the sign that they ’re looking beyond just saying “We’ve got them here, we’ve got to look after them”, it’s saying “Let them come. Let them be here, because we’re the place to be”. So I’m actually feeling quite buoyant about the community that we have in Brighton.
This is Ruth's testimony in Chapter One (Communities, Trans Pride, LGBTQ, differences, support) of the ground-breaking Brighton Trans*formed book.
To read more intimate, heart-breaking and heart-warming stories from transgender people, click here.
This page was amended on 19/12/2014