Brighton is about to host the first regular fundraising event for trans people in the UK.
Beyond is a community, non-profit event designed to raise money for transgender individuals looking for financial support while transitioning.
The popular UK coastal town will host the evening at the Marlborough Pub & Theatre on 19 January. Among the guests, author and trans rights activist Juno Dawson will kick off the event.
Moreover, there will be live music, poetry, DJs and drag performances, including drag prince Alfie Ordinary.
The aim of an event such as Beyond is finally putting trans people first, showcasing their talent and ‘supporting a community struggling to be seen or heard,’ the organizers explained.
Why a fundraising event for trans people?
Exorbitant costs and surgeries unavailable on the NHS make the transition journey even harder for trans people.
‘With hugely under resourced services trans people face enormous adversities when attempting to access support services, often waiting years before even receiving an initial assessment. This process can impact enormously on an individual’s psychological health and well being,’ the organizers say.
‘With a sense of urgency, it isn’t uncommon for trans people to attempt to facilitate their own medical transition, self-medicating with hormones and raising surgery costs through online fundraisers.’
Looking for ‘trans + surgery’ on the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe brings up nearly 3,000 worldwide results.
However, this process of raising money on the Internet is still painstakingly long in most cases.
Accessing resources can be ‘overwhelming’
The launch will also include a solo exhibition by artist Samo White, called Exploring the Body and Transitions. White underwent top surgery last year.
‘The waiting times are horrendous. The idea that one needs to live as their true self for two years in order to “start” their transition is risking lives especially with self-harm and suicide rates constantly rising,’ he said.
‘Then once you have started treatment the communication is also problematic. Appointment cancellations, waiting times for surgeons. You can see why so many people are now choosing to go private.’
‘I have been on hormones for over a year that I sourced from a friend, feeling like I simply couldn’t wait on a 16-month waiting list,’ says another trans person who wishes to remain anonymous.
‘I felt like I was navigating the process in the dark, working to put away any money I earned for surgery.’
They describe the process as ‘overwhelming’.
‘Surgery now seems even more out of reach than ever before.’
That’s where Beyond comes in.
‘Not everyone is able to create an event or to raise thousands of pounds for surgery. Beyond aims to make a considerable contribution to support individuals where it can by hosting bi-monthly events in Brighton and hopefully in more areas of the country.’
Find out more on their Facebook event page.