By pushprojects, Jan 13 2017 08:52AM

Last night we watched BBC2's documentary, 'Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best' with interest. Aware of the controversy and outrage surrounding the programme before its broadcast, we were apprehensive about viewing it. Despite being billed as a balanced documentary, we found it to be quite the opposite.


While there were positive voices during the documentary, the programme overall came across as an attack on trans people, medical professionals and "activists" who support a child-centric affirmative approach to young people who are unsure of their gender identity.


At Proud Youth, we regularly support young trans people. The youngest has been 9 years old, but we typically support teenagers. We see first hand the damage that is done when young trans people are not listened to or supported to be who they are. We have helped young trans people who have considered or attempted suicide because their parents, and even medical professionals, will not support them. We have spoken to CAMHS workers who have called us because they don't know how to work with young trans people. We have intervened when a local school put a trans student in isolation on several occasions to "protect other students and parents" when the student wore a skirt to school. And time & time again we have encountered young trans people entering adulthood who would be in a much happier position if they had been listened to, supported and had the correct intervention at a young age.


While we believe in freedom of speech and the right to hold alternative points of view, we also believe that documentaries such as this one are damaging to trans people, as are the non-child centric affirmative approaches to young people who are unsure of their gender identity. It is not an exaggeration to say that this has the power to kill trans people. You only need to look at the tragic cases of Leelah Alcorn and a numerous other trans people who have taken their lives. And of course, we have seen such case first hand, when young trans people have self-harmed, or threatened or attemted suicide.


Ultimately, when the documentary finished, we felt a huge sense of disappointment that the BBC would air such a biased and damaging programme. We also feel angry and deeply concerned for trans people, and not just because of this documentary.


Last night there were scores of people being transphobic on Twitter about someone who had appeared on Question Time. There have also been awful articles in the media about the "first man to get pregnant", like this person's life some kind of freak show.


Also this week, we have ben deeply disappointed in LGBT History Month/Schools Out's failure to condemn the appearance of Julie Bindel at an event in February. Bindel is well-known for her anti-trans views, and we cannot comprehend why she would be allowed to speak at an inclusive LGBT+ event. The statements that LGBT History Month have released on social media have come across as dismissive of the concerns that trans people and allies are raising. Although LGBT History Month as a national organisation are not directly organising the event that Julie Bindel is speaking at, they have it in their power to remove the event from their calendar and condemn the booking of Bindel. However, they chosen not to do that.


Trans people deserve more than this, and we will continue to support the trans community as much as possible. We will continue running our drop-ins, which provide a safe, welcoming, inclusive space for young trans people. We will continue to support trans people by email and telephone. And we will continue to campaign and lobby for the rights and freedoms of trans people, both legally and socially.


We will always be at your side.

By pushprojects, Mar 24 2016 11:34AM

At Push Projects LGBTQ Youth Support we are deeply concerned by the actions of the NUS and the NUS' LGBT Campaign over the course of the past couple of years. This has come to a head with the introduction of a new motion that we targets gay men.


The NUS' LGBT Campaign has recently passed a motion regarding the position of gay men within LGBT communities. They said:


"Misogyny, transphobia, racism and biphobia are often present in LGBT+ societies. This is unfortunately more likely to occer when the society is dominated by white cis gay men. Gay men do not face oppression as gay men within the LGBT+ community and do not need a reserved place on society committees."


The NUS' LGBT Campaign have now encouraged LGBT+ societies that have gay men's reps to drop the position.


This type of message of great concern to us as a charity, as we actively support a number of LGBT+ students. We see the discrimination, prejudice, violence and abuse that many of those LGBT+ people endure. This of course includes gay men, and indeed white cis gay men.


One of the positive things about LGBT+ student socities is that they have tended to have reps for gay men, lesbian women, bisexual and trans people. We are of the firm belief that LGBT+ student societies should continue to represent and include LGBT+ people and the minorities that exist within that minority.


Acting to remove gay men's reps from LGBT+ student societies is a shocking turn of events. Gay men, along with lesbian, bisexual and trans people, continue to experience discrimination, violence and abuse in society, at work, school, college, university, and also within the LGBT+ community. Homophobia still exists, even within the LGBT+ community. That is why it is imperative that gay men's reps remain within LGBT+ student societies.


The NUS and LGBT+ student societies should support the diverse range of students that it is supposed to represent. That includes gay men. Excluding parts of the LGBT+ community makes the NUS and the LGBT+ student societies that act on the NUS encouragement to remove gay men's reps no better than the homopobes and bigots who genuinely still abuse and persecute gay men.


Sadly this is the latest in a long line of worrying decisions made by the NUS, the NUS' LGBT Campaign, Universities and student societies. In recent times we have seen freedom of speech and expression being taken away from people by the growing trend of no-platforming rather than using debate and rational discussion to challenge opposing views, and also in the decisions to ban cis white gay men from behaving like black women and by banning cross dressing costumes at certain times of the year.


We are now calling on the NUS' LGBT Campaign to take a hard look at itself and reassess the direction it is heading in. We also feel that there needs to be a change in leadership within the NUS' LGBT Campaign, as the decisions being put forward and made are potentially incredibly damaging to gay men, the wider LGBT+ community, and LGBT+ student societies.

By pushprojects, Jan 13 2015 10:39AM

We are thrilled to announce that the Big Lottery Fund have kindly awarded us a grant of £3,410 so we are able to set up and run our new weekly LGBTQ youth group in Stratford upon Avon. The grant award means we are now able to reach a number of young LGBTQ people who previously could not access some of our services due to not being able to travel to Warwick.


Warwickshire is a rural county and public transport is not great, which meant some young people were simply not able to get to our existing weekly group in Warwick. This will no longer be the case as those who live in the Stratford upon Avon area or the south of Warwickshire will be able to come to our new group.


The new weekly group in Stratford upon Avon launches on Tuesday 3rd February and will run each week from 6:00pm - 8:00pm at Stratford College.


Without support from the Big Lottery Fund we would not be able to set up this new group and it would mean a number of young LGBTQ people would continue to not be able to access the support they vitally need.


Everyone at Push Projects LGBTQ Youth Support would like to extend a sincere thank you to the Big Lottery Fund for the grant award and support of not only us, but the young people we work with.


Daniel Browne

Chairman

By pushprojects, Dec 31 2014 11:39AM

If you had told me three years ago when I founded Push Projects that it would become a widely known and respected charity with a load of award nominations and wins, I'd have laughed and said 'no chance'. You see, when I set up Push Projects it was only going to be a weekly group for LGBTQ youth. Anything more than that hadn't been thought of. I was just keen to provide a source of support to young people.... A source of support that I believed (and still believe) was vital.


Fast forward three years and there has been a quite rapid evolution of the charity. For starters it became a small charity back in 2012. Now as we enter 2015 our income is now large enough (although not that large on the wider scale) to register officially with the Charity Commission, so that's the first task on our agenda moving forwards. Other services have developed, such as telephone and email support, talks, workshops, consultancy, advocacy and netreach. In February 2015 a second weekly group will launch in Stratford upon Avon.


Throughout 2014 the award nominations have flooded in, and back in July we were surprised (and thrilled) to win the Carer of the Year award at the Pride of Warwick District Awards. In November we were up for Charity of the Year at the Children & Young People Now Awards. Personally I have been nominated for around 17 awards over the past three years. It's fantastic for Push as it means the charity gains exposure. It's nice to attend the posh award ceremonies with free food and drink (never turn down a freebie, especially food). However, there is something far more important that's happened in 2014.... The amount of young people we have worked with, who have received our support.


All the recognition of what we do is nice, but the most important thing to us is the work we do with young people. The aim of Push Projects is to ensure that all young people feel valued and included in society regardless of sexuality or gender identity. Locally we are starting to make progress on that aim. Several schools and colleges have engaged with us in some form, and we have attended one local school to work with students. We have built a great relationship with a local college, having LGBT awareness stalls at several points during the year. Our Warwick group now has 29 registered members. The number of people getting in touch via telephone and email is increasing. The netreach service we launched in June is supporting a significant number of young people from all around the UK, not just in Warwickshire. It is that contact with young people, letting them know they are not alone and that we're here for them, that's the most important thing to us. It could be viewed that it's a shame young LGBTQ people need to seek support in this day and age, but on the other hand it's positive that there is now local support that's easily accessible for these young people.


I can remember my teenage years being quite horrific due to homophobic bullying and there being no source of support for me or others like me. Push Projects is about providing the support that previously didn't exist. Sure there's a long way to go until our aim is completely achieved, but progress is being made and that is something we celebrate.


In June we hosted the second Warwickshire Pride festival. The rain poured down, stalls collapsed, people got soaked and the weather meant there were a few technical hitches, but that didn't prevent people from having a good time and embracing what the festival is about; celebrating diversity. Another Warwickshire Pride is due to take place on Saturday 4th July. The sun has been booked in advance, so hopefully it will make an appearance. The theme is DROP THE LABEL and the festival aims to bounce back from the washout with lessons learned and something truly fabulous for you all.


If you have been a part of Push Projects' journey this year, I thank you for your support. There are a few people and organisations I wish to personally thank before signing off:


Ann Townsend - For supporting Push Projects through the profits of her new book 'LGBTQ: Outing My Christianity'. You can find out more about the book at http://lgbtqoutingmychristianity.com/blog/. Ann is an example of a truly wonderful human being and we thank her for her continued support of our work with young people.


Stratford upon Avon College - Stratford College have been great supporters of Push Projects throughout the year and have a progressive, open minded ethos when it comes to making sure their students receive appropriate support and know what's out there for LGBTQ people. The college stated that they were keen to have a long term link with Push Projects and they have stuck to their word. With so many schools and colleges not doing enough for their LGBTQ students, it's great to see Stratford College are leading the way locally.


Warwick District Council - We thank them for their assistance with the Warwickshire Pride festival and for their funding support.


The Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation - Their support meant we were able to launch our netreach service back in June, which provides online support to LGBTQ youth.


Wild Bill McKechnie - Bill has been a huge help to us this year, helping out at events and even putting on a charity line dancing night for our benefit. I'm eternally grateful for all Bill has done for us.


Healey Moyes - Also known as Sassi Afrika, Healey is an absolute superstar and has gone above and beyond what would be expected from a volunteer in order to support that charity. He is a true superstar.


Everyone who helped out at Warwickshire Pride - The festival is a true community event and it was great to have so many local people helping out to ensure things ran smoothly. On the day it was a big team effort and I am eternally grateful to those who volunteered their time and talents.


2014 has been great.... Thanks for being a part of it and here's to an even better 2015.


Daniel Browne

Chairman of Push Projects

By guest, Oct 10 2014 12:54PM

It's been a long time coming, but welcome to the brand new Push Projects website. For the last three years we have had to have a Moonfruit branded website as it was free and we are poor. We are still poor, but are now able to have a non-branded website. That means we can put more content on the website and make it even more fabulous for you. It's a win for us and a win for you.


Anyway, have a look at the website. There's so much information, tips, advice, and other bits and bobs.


Enjoy!


Ps. We are hoping to get our blog on a bit more now we have a proper one.

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