I've always loved this cityBy Darcy Heston
PHOTOGRAPH by Sharon Kilgannon, Alonglines.com
Despite having lived here for over six years now, it’s only actually been in the last year or so that I’ve really fallen in love with Brighton.
I’ve always loved this city but it has taken me a while to really find a community here and feel settled. I didn’t move here specifically to transition, but I do think it’s made it a lot easier, the fact that there is support if you need it, there is a visible and active trans community and more of an awareness of trans issues compared to a lot of other places.
It does have its challenges though, with there being a large visible gay and lesbian community, I found passing took longer here than anywhere else, being read as a masculine woman, particularly when in predominantly L and G spaces was very difficult for a while. I do find Brighton more diverse and relaxed in terms of sexuality and gender identity than a lot of other places but this idea that it’s automatically a trans friendly place because of its large gay community is laughable. The majority of the transphobia I’ve experienced and witnessed has been within LGBT spaces here, I know this isn’t the case for everyone and maybe I’ve just been very unlucky but those are the spaces I feel most uncomfortable. This is one of the many reasons I question the T being part of LGBT. I realise there are a number of ways our communities overlap but as time goes on, my feelings of a separation have become stronger.
I love that there’s a lot of diversity in the trans community here as well, I do at times feel in the minority as someone who identifies as a binary transsexual, I haven’t yet met many others who share my identity. But it’s great that cis-people here are getting more exposure to different trans people’s lives, it breaks down people’s ideas of what it means to be trans which is a really positive thing. I’m unsure of how out I want to be as a trans person, my identity has changed a lot over time and I’m starting to realise that I’m never really certain about anything. I used to always think I’d be an out and visible trans man, but I also said back then that I’d never take testosterone. I’ve said a lot of things that are no longer true.
Having Trans Pride last year was amazing, that was around the time I was coming out of my lowest point and was starting to feel comfortable engaging with the trans community here. There was a real sense of pride and inclusion, the opposite of how I’d felt at Brighton Pride in previous years. Meeting people through that and other various trans inclusive groups like Brighton Feminist Collective has made a major difference in my life. Being in those spaces, full of so many supportive, positive people has been one of the best changes in my life over the last year. Having people in your life that are supportive and don’t fuck up with pronouns makes such a difference.
This is Darcy'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