News and Events!
On this page we will be sharing details of our upcoming events, relevant news stories from our Facebook page, reviews of trans related media from our group members and other updates. Please check back regularly!
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Gender Community Lending Library
The Gender Community Lending Library is a small transgender postal library which has recently set up a pen pal scheme for UK trans people over the age of eighteen.
It’s a connection to a community that can’t meet up in person and it’s a fun, low pressure way to make new friends.
The library can be found at www.genderlibrary.co.uk and the pen pal scheme at www.genderlibrary.co.uk/penpals. You can also find it on social media and book borrowing is open to anyone, cisgender or transgender. It has an extremely wide variety of books, from memoirs to academic texts as well as fiction.
Open letter shows solidarity with trans women
Olivia Colman, Jameela Jamil and Paloma Faith are among those to have signed an open letter showing solidarity with trans women to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls. The document was also signed by Labour MPs Nadia Whittome and Zarah Sultana.
According to Stonewall’s 2018 Trans Report, two in five trans people in the UK experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the previous 12 months.
The letter condemned all “violence and hostility” to trans women, writing that “those who use hostile, crude or mocking language towards trans women, demeaning their bodies, and refusing to accept that they are who they say they are, contribute to the culture which creates those discriminatory disparities, a culture which de-humanises trans women and girls thereby legitimising prejudice and violence against them.”
The document highlighted how statistically trans women are more likely to be homeless, murdered and victims of violent attacks in their own homes.
Alliance Calls For Greater Support For NI’s Trans Community
The Alliance Party has called for greater support for NI’s Trans community ahead of Trans Day of Remembrance on Friday 20 November.
Making the call Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has paid tribute to the volunteers and organisations providing support to the trans community.
“Trans Awareness Week provides an opportunity for the health and social care board, as well as health officials and Trusts, to reflect on how they are supporting the trans community here in Northern Ireland,” said South Belfast MLA Mrs Bradshaw.
“The Department of Health is currently undergoing a review of gender identity services, and I would encourage the Department to rectify the huge pressures on, and underfunding of, the Regional Gender Identity Service at Brackenburn. I urge the Health Minister to expedite this work so the trans community, and the groups that support them, are supported to play a central role in the resulting health care.
“Unfortunately, the discrimination and marginalisation many members of the trans community experience is still far too prevalent. On Friday, we should all recognise Transgender Day of Remembrance, and honour the memory of those transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence around the world and those who led the way in the fight for equality.
“Here in Northern Ireland, every one of us can play a role in ending this discrimination by better educating ourselves and providing a hand of friendship to the trans community.”
The Golden Needle
For hair removal contact TV friendly electrologist Dana Stitt on 07935394482.
TV friendly Guest House in Belfast
Contact Walter on 0771 9677783 for details and bookings.
Bee Bailey, third from right, of Gloucestershire Constabulary, who gave a talk on Transgender and Policing to the Belfast Butterfly Club at its August open meeting. Included are representatives of the PSNI and the Belfast Butterfly Club.
Michelle, Belfast Butterfly Club Coordinator, and Bee, National Trans Police Association and Trans Ambassador for the European LGBT Police Association, at the BBC’s monthly open meeting in Belfast.
Michelle’s cake pictured before it was quickly gobbled up by attendees. Fiona provided sandwiches which were devoured before our photographer could reach them.
Transgender Woman of the Year Adrianne Elson receives her award from Michael Gillies at the September meeting of the Belfast Butterfly Club.
Guest speakers and Club members who were among the large attendance at a talk on Hate Crime given by Community Police Officers at the Belfast Butterfly Club’s September meeting.
Laura, Ashley preparing to cope with life at the Belfast Butterfly Club.
A visit by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Sonia Copeland to the June open meeting of the Belfast Butterfly Club.
A decorative lamp presented to the Club by volunteer Michelle.
One of the many treats at our regular meetings is cake.
Debbie De Luxe shows her support for the Belfast Butterfly Club at Fiona’s Forum.
The Belfast Butterfly Club’s new volunteer Michelle shows her support for the transgender community at a recent BBC meeting.
Former Alliance Party Assembly member Anna Lo MBE is another supporter of transgender rights.
Silver Butterflies in Europe’s most bombed hotel
The Belfast Butterfly Club celebrated its Silver Anniversary in Europe’s most bombed hotel, the Europa in Belfast city centre.
Special guest at the event was the Northern Ireland Equality Commission’s Deputy Chief Commissioner Rev Dr Lesley Carroll who congratulated the Club on its 25 years of transgender support charity work across Northern Ireland.
Club volunteer Charley Troy, a Social Anthropology student at Queen’s University, was presented with the Club’s highest honour for her work with the organisation over the past 18 months which included organising the anniversary celebration. She became the eleventh winner of the Hollywood Oscar-style Barbie Award (BA) for exceptional services to transgendered people.
In paying tribute to Charley’s work with the charity Belfast Butterfly Club President Linda Marshall referred in particular to her development of its social media presence and a completely revamped website. She had also staffed the Butterflies’ weekly helpline and designed new promotional materials in addition to obtaining a first class honours degree at Queen’s.
A delicious four course meal was followed by music and a raffle for prizes donated by club members.
Charley Troy with her BA statuette, citation and Trojan horse gift.
Club President Linda Marshall and Rev Dr Lesley Carroll at the BBC 25th Anniversary event in the Europa Hotel.
Fiona, Linda, James, Lesley and Charley in celebratory mood.
Mandy, Linda James and Nour at the celebration dinner.
Martine, Michael, Adrianne, Nikki and Stephen joined in at the Europa.
Sorry you missed out?
Art imitates real life
Belfast Butterfly Club Vice Presidents Adrianne and Michael were the subject of an art exhibition at the PS2 gallery entitled “Real Life Experience.”
Centre piece of the exhibit by artists Yvonne Kennan and Hugh O’Donnell was a 15 minute video documentary about Ireland’s best known transgender couple. Stills from the pair’s life experiences also featured in the gallery.
Hugh and Yvonne commented: “We had many adventures documented through the medium of video and photograph. We enjoyed many conversations about tights, societal attitudes about transgender and identity, drumming, ballet, trains and cheese pies. We gained insight into the political and personal triumphs and hurdles for two people facing many issues around transgender, Asperger’s syndrome, disability, discrimination and love.”
The project formed part of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in May.
Artists Yvonne Kennan and Hugh O’Donnell with Adrianne and Michael at the Paragon Studios gallery.
Two of our wonderful members have had a documentary made about their Real Life Experience which will be shown at the PS2, 18 Donegall Street between 25 April – 14th May. They discuss their hobbies, likes, dislikes and the challenges they encounter as a transgender couple with Aspergers in Northern Ireland.
A community embracing diversity can teach the world a lesson
An award-winning Spanish-made documentary about drag queens on the Cape Verde Islands was given a showing at the 16th Belfast Film Festival and captured the hearts of the small audience who saw it, including members of the Belfast Butterfly Club.
“Tchindas” (Queers), a 95 minute documentary by Pablo Garcia Perez de Lara and Marc Serena featuring the music of Cesaria Evora, paints a picture of the lives of a small band of people who would be labelled outsiders anywhere else but here are seen to interact as equals in total harmony with their local community. The film charts the month long preparations leading up to the annual Carnival parade on Sao Vicente with the dialogue in Cape Verdean Creole and with English sub-titles.
Although their surroundings may be basic and the materials they use simple, the main protagonists nevertheless manage to create something magical which has an awe-inspiring effect on everyone in the community around them. An old cart is transformed into a maritime scene complete with child mermaids and exotic dancers perched high on rickety towers in time for the parade through the town’s main street.
The only negative note comes from the local priest who is reported as describing Carnival as “evil,” a view clearly not shared by the vast majority of those on the island.
Co-director of “Tchindas” Marc Serena attended the showing in Belfast to introduce the film and answer questions from the audience afterwards. He explained that the Cape Verde Islands, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean between Senegal in Africa and Brazil, became independent of Portugal in 1975 and was officially regarded as the most gay-friendly country in Africa. If they lived in Senegal the participants in the film would be persecuted and even on other islands in the group they would not have the same level of acceptance as on Sao Vicente.
The film, produced in 2015, has received excellent reviews everywhere it has been shown, including the USA, Spain, Australia, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde and now Belfast.
The local branch of the DUP don’t look happy about Carnival on Cape Verde.
A couple of our wonderful members recently had an article written about them in the Sunday Life – Check it out below.
Over the coming weeks the Belfast Butterfly Club learn to handle the heat or get outta the kitchen! We’ll be having a “Come Dine with Me” competition in which each participant cooks 3 others a three course meal. See the photos in the gallery!
A few of our members attended a showing of this movie last week and were very impressed! If you’d like to read a review please Click Here
Michael has written a very interesting and relevant submission for the inquiry. If you’d like to read his suggestions (and we suggest you do!) then please download this PDF:
They are known to us
Hey you! You can’t come in here, you he-she!
But I just need… He? She? You mis-gendered me…
Get out of here, I don’t want my kids to see,
I don’t understand, I only want to pee!
But you aren’t a real woman though are you, I mean really.
I’m standing right here, can’t you see me?
But I mean, he’s not really a he though, he doesn’t have… you know?
Is that what makes you a man, having something to show?
Get away from my children, Tranny! They won’t understand,
They understood before you used that label – like a brand.
You’re confusing my child, he’ll think boys can wear skirts,
But what if he wants to wear them, so much it hurts?
I want to tell her, but it’ll change her life!
How will I tell her she married not a husband, but a wife!
She’ll be so confused, what do I say?!
She’ll scream “you’re transgender… does this mean I’m gay?!”
“You’re not a real woman” says Germaine Greer,
She snarls at you, her face an ugly sneer,
How could you be? You don’t understand the inequality we face!
I guess you’re right, I’m merely transgender, misunderstood by most of the human race.
Whilst ignorance still permeates the planet,
Whilst the population still calls Jack, Janet,
Whilst people still kill those they don’t understand,
Whilst being who you are is still partially banned,
Whilst people are bullied into becoming untied,
Whilst people are still turning to suicide,
We will remember, we will fight,
We will make them see the light,
Until Remembrance Day is a distant memory,
Until it’s a remnant of a forgotten century,
One day, all will survive,
One day, we each, will thrive.
The following contains thoughts on “Jesus Queen of Heaven”; it describes how trans people are not only human but CREATE humanity.
“We confused people, and I loved that in us most of all.” Jesus, Queen of Nazareth
When I came across an advert for a play depicting Jesus as a transwoman I was thrilled, mostly because anything remotely controversial being shown within Northern Ireland delights me ridiculous amounts. It’s so vital to challenge the conservatism here after all. And what better way than to depict Jesus as a wonderful woman?
But this play isn’t about controversiality, nor is it offensive or shocking – it is beautiful. It is warm and funny and so very, very human.
Jo Clifford, the amazing transwoman who wrote and starred in the play, is full of nothing but love and acceptance and a deeply entrenched will to resist the shame and guilt projected onto the trans community of the modern era.
The play consists of Jesus talking to us, the audience, imploring us to listen to her, to her scripture as it was intended to be portrayed. She describes how the 12 disciples were so far removed from the 12 men with beards we often see decorating religious places; she tells us that, alongside John who baptised the eunuch, was Mary Martha and Salome. And alongside these men and women were women who were men and men who were women and some who were both all at once.
Jesus Queen of Nazareth asks us not to beware the homosexual, nor the transgendered, nor the queer but the self-righteous and the hypocrite, those who, on the outside seem so sleek and smooth, and on the inside are a mass of filth and corruption!
And I couldn’t help but think about the Catholic Evangelists protesting outside with their poster “Family, Tradition and Property” and their banner “Stop Blaspheming, Enough is Enough.” Because for them, enough is never enough; they will always be standing judging others as though they were qualified to do so. Jesus could stand before these people asking for those without sin to throw the first stone and they’d rain boulders on any poor person seeking forgiveness for their sins. For these protestors religion isn’t the love Jesus Queen of Nazareth preaches but the hatred and judgement they’re so keen to pour upon others. Beware those whose “lips are full of goodness but their hearts full of hatred” the Queen of Nazareth warns, “beware those who imagine themselves virtuous and pass judgement, those who condemn others and think themselves good”. It seems as though, those who protested the play were those who may have benefitted from it the most.
On the way into the venue, I felt uncomfortable and angry and so very bitter when walking past these protestors. I felt the full force of everything that is wrong with religion. I felt judged by people I felt were unfit to tie their own shoelaces. And yet on leaving the play, having broken bread with other people watching Jo, and having listened to the moving comments from those who resonated with the play, I felt a softening. Religion will never appeal to me, but it hurt less to look upon. Because Jesus Queen of Nazareth took us back to basics, back to what matters.
I am a 21 year old, atheist female living in, oh-so conservative, Northern Ireland. But I would follow Jesus Queen of Nazareth. Because, to me, she does not represent religion, she is human, she is humanity.
Ozon layers aplenty in new Transgender movie
As befits a film by French director François Ozon his latest cinematic venture “The New Girlfriend” has many layers.
Based on a story by Ruth Rendell, the film stars the exquisitely beautiful Anaïs Demoustier as the sexually uncertain Claire opposite the gender conflicted David, played convincingly by Romain Duris.
Following the death of David’s young wife, Claire’s best friend since childhood, she decides to help him get over the loss and look after his baby daughter.
Claire’s emotions are in turmoil as she mourns her dead friend and her state of mind is traumatised further when she discovers David is a secret cross-dresser who longs to become a woman. She soon finds herself fascinated by Virginia (David’s femme persona) and neglects her own husband to go off on shopping trips, nights out and a weekend away with Virginia.
Inevitably the two are drawn closer to one another though Claire battles against her attraction to the female figure that David increasingly portrays.
“The New Girlfriend” is a light and gentle look at the underlying motivations of the two characters as they interact with each other. It is non-judgemental and a real treat for any crossdresser with ambitions to both “get” the girl and “be” the girl.
In French with English subtitles and available on DVD from Metrodome *****
The Belfast Butterfly Club runs open meetings every first and third Tuesday of the month. Anyone 18+ (and their maiden auntie!) is invited. This meeting is for you to learn more about our support group and for you to talk through anything you wish in a safe and comfortable environment. The next meeting is on ???? 2020 at 7 pm and we’d love to see you there. If you’d like more information feel free to contact us!
The Belfast Butterfly Club holds weekly meetings on Wednesdays for members. These meetings provide a safe space for members to dress how they wish, talk through any issues they might be having or simply stop by for a cup of tea and a chat! We will often hold little events during these meetings too. From our very own version of “Come Dine with Me” to movie nights, these meetings are always fun and relaxed. If you’d like to attend please get in touch!
If you’re interested in trans rights around the world then this map will be right up your street! Explore the interactive map and click on the country you’d like to learn more about:
One of our members also made a legal quiz based on trans rights in NI. Feel free to give it a shot and comment below to let us know your score!
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