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Help and support for the transgender community

Southern Region

Eleanor Roberts

I’ve been a member of the Beaumont society for fifteen years and became Southern RO in early 2013, taking over from my close friend Danielle. I became a trustee of the society in November 2016 and took over as editor of the quarterly magazine at the same time. For eight years, until September 2015, I edited the fashion section of the quarterly Beaumont Magazine.

I try to attend many of the transgender events that are held in my region each month. I’m convinced that the central south is one of the best places in which to be a trans-person in the UK. There is so much going on if you are prepared to look. Trans social groups, discos, trans-friendly pubs and cafes, weekend breaks for trans women; all within an hour’s drive of home. They do all need our regular support if they are to keep going.

I have found the social experiences of the past fifteen years to be truly liberating. I go shopping, visit restaurants and pubs, attend concerts and operas, with littleĀ trouble or friction. I do, though, take a great deal of trouble over my appearance. “Dress to blend-in” has always been one of my guiding principles, though I like to look fashionable.

I act as co-organiser for three of the main monthly trans venues in my area: the disco party night at Totton (Southampton), the social evening and disco at Lyndhurst (in the New Forest) and the pub evening in Salisbury. Try to come along to one of them if you can, but you may want to e-mail me first. In my “Events” page you’ll find up to date news of the venues in the region, sent to me by the organisers. These range from pub evenings to quiet social groups in hired social halls.

I want more people to join the BS. Few people realise what an influential job it does behind the scenes in supporting the trans community. The BS liaises with police, education departments, social support networks and other community groups. It is recognised as one of the true national voices for the trans community. It is the organisation that Agony Aunts’ columns recommend for information when a cross-dressing problem is posed by a reader. I am in contact with the police liaison officers in Hampshire, Dorset and in Wiltshire.

Finally, I want to help people lose any guilt that they may feel in being gender variant in any way. It is not wrong, and is there to be enjoyed. We should not accept the condemnation that is often hurled our way. In particular, we shouldn’t accept condemnation from other trans people; there are too many “purists” who still seem addicted to the gender binary and who deem anything other than being full-time as a sign of fetish or pretense.

Please contact me if you wish to find out more or if you need advice on any trans-related issues. E-mail is my preferred method of contact; it enables me to send advice, maps, web-links and detailed help. Do remember, though, that all BS personnel are unpaid volunteers offering support in their spare time, so it may take a couple of days to respond to your enquiry.

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