The LGBT+ Staff Network at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) invited entrants to submit poems or art pieces related to the impact of transphobia or what it means to be transgender. The competition was part of CNTW’s partnership with Northumberland Pride on the Road.
The winning entry by Louise Charlton, titled Me, was read out before the Transgender Remembrance Day vigil on the 20th November in Hexham.
Me highlights the impact of transphobia through the experience of someone who is shunned and ridiculed on a bus journey, which links to a metaphor for life’s journey later in the poem. The poem’s protagonist stands up for themselves – ‘I am someone. I am not an it. We matter.’
Louise’s poem also remembers those who have been lost during the fight against transphobia – “those whose voices were silenced too soon.”
Professor Stephen Whittle, a transgender activist who was awarded an OBE for his service to gender issues in 2005, has recorded a reading of the poem:
Your Name, a poem by Helen Greener took second place. The emotive poem commemorates the lives lost to transphobia – ‘your name is a moment in a painful record spoken across the world, dripping with angry sorrowful tears, we will remember you.’
A reading of Helen’s poem has been recorded by Michael Cashman, co-founder of LGBT rights charity Stonewall and member of the House of Lords.
Who’s to say by JG was awarded third place. The poem shares the thoughts of a trans person feeling as though they’re living two separate lives and struggling to come out to friends and family. Debbie Wood, Clinical Psychologist, has recorded a reading of JG’s poem.
Transgender Remembrance Day on the 20th November commemorates the transgender and non-binary lives which have been lost in acts of anti-transgender violence in the past year. This year, the Staff Network aimed to show that transgender people are more than their gender identity. The Trust’s LGBT+ Staff Network actively engages and contributes towards ensuring equality, acceptance and inclusion within the Trust.