International Trans Day of Visibility falls on 31st March every year. The aim is to bring attention to the accomplishments of trans people around the globe and to counter prejudice by spreading knowledge of the trans community. This year’s theme is “surviving, thriving” (#TransThriving). Below, Touchstone volunteer Rachel talks about her experience and work.

Originally from York, I relocated to Leeds in 2011 after being diagnosed as Transgender. Due to mental health issues I needed to delay my transition, which I resumed in 2015.
For the last 3 years I have been a volunteer for Touchstones Positive Care Programme (The PCP). Over the last few years I have seen and felt the benefits of the holistic approach and therapies they offer. Participating and volunteering on these courses has helped me with my own personal transition immensely. I have found my anxieties easier to manage and depression lifted and not to forget the most important part, getting back out there into the community and making some really good friends.
Recently I was asked to help with a Steering group, the reason, to organize an event around LGBT+ experiences while using services in Leeds.
While preparing to set up the steering group for the event, a recurring theme, within the LGBT+ community, presented itself time and time again. ” A safe space for people with mental health issues. So as we progressed planning out the event, I spoke to adult social care regarding one of their Mental Health Hubs and the possibility of opening it as a café/drop in for the LGBT+ community. The idea is to offer a safe space close to the city centre, for social activities, workshops, support and signposting to other services when needed.
So to the Event.
We have been asked to put on an event that will enable The LGBT+ community to
“Have Your Voice Heard”
We are looking to collect info around your lived experiences, both positive and negative, while accessing services in Leeds. So what we have now is a consultation style event with a market place of stalls from services and groups in Leeds, speakers from the LGBT+ community and of course Alison Lowe Touchstones CEO, interactive arts, Touchstones Positive Care Programme, art from the LGBT community a Q and A panel and of course the famous Touchstone curries.
The first consultation event took place on 1st February.

Events coming up for Trans Day of Visibility 2018