Brighton is really differentBy Ludo Foster
PHOTOGRAPH by Sharon Kilgannon, Alonglines.com
When I first moved here and I wasn’t out as trans, I was more identifying kind of as lesbian, I suppose, but more queer really, than anything else.
I didn’t get a huge sense initially of a trans presence but that was a couple of years ago now. Since identifying myself more overtly as trans, and maybe to do with my study as well, I’m more interested I guess in a queer scene that is more conscious, more inclusive. Brighton is really different from other places in that you do have quite a lot of leeway to be queer and to identify in different ways, but at the same time it’s far from perfect. A lot of people might see it as a kind of utopia, but it’s far from that I think. I’ve learnt that.
There is a community that I’ve noticed more in recent years. There was the big Trans Pride event and
a lot of well established, long term projects as well. When I first started to question my gender in a more open way, one of the first things I went to was something called The Clare Project. I think it’s inclusive of anyone who wants to go there. But there was maybe one or two other trans guys when I went and so I only went a couple of times. It’s an awkward time when you are coming out. You can feel a little bit socially awkward and I certainly felt that way. So going into groups and social situations under the banner of a trans group, I was quite selfconscious. But I made friends and connections and people that I can connect with outside of the groups.
There are certain club nights emerging now. There’s something called Fem Rock that is very inclusive, but also quite political as well - quite feminist in an intersectional way. I know people are hearing a lot about intersectionality. It just means being aware of people that are experiencing a marginalised identity, across different things, such as disability, race, sexuality, you know. And how people can be marginalised in a lot of different ways. There’s also a group for queer and intersex people of colour as well. This is very open as well, to people that identify under the umbrella. They could be from any particular background as long as they identify in that way. I’m from a mixed background myself and this is a good space. I’ve become more engaged politically because we are such a small group, the trans community. We’ve had some amazing forerunners, even thinking in a global sense. And some kind of heroes and heroines that have done some amazing work and have been there right at the forefront of LGBT rights and LGBTQ rights.
This is Ludo'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