I was privileged to be involved this week inan event, speaking and introducing other speakers at the Surrey History Centre for their LGBT History Month event called The Power of Our Stories. I was there in my role as co-Chair of the Surrey County Council LGBTQ+ Staff Network and spoke on the power and nature of queer joy to a sold out audience.
We heard from colleagues about the work of the staff network, of Surrey’s provision of support to young LGBT people, and the work of the History Centre in documenting and archiving LGBT stories in Surrey. We heard from a student in film and lens media studies talk about their work and mission to reclaim and desexualise the depiction of trans bodies through challenging expectations. We were also honoured to hear from Bernard Reed OBE, founder of GIRES, speaking of the heartbreaking events that led to their campaign to improve the lives of trans and non-binary individuals throughout the UK. To round it all off, we then had the most beautiful accapella arrangement of Somewhere Over The Rainbow provided by the Surrey Rainbow Choir.
We had stalls from a number of services and charities in Surrey, ranging from the local library and the adoption service, to the police, Catalyst, HER, and Haven. There was talk, laughter, song, and connection among a wonderful array of people – and I was absolutely buzzing from the positivity and happiness that buoyed the whole event.
I’ve been utterly exhausted as a consequence the last day or so, but so worth it and can’t wait to work with my colleagues to make it all happen again. My original copy of my speech was rapidly grabbed by Di to add to the archive but I’ll grab the text when I’m next back in work. Recordings were also made, so as those become available I’ll link to them too.