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2020 is a year none of us will ever forget, even though most of us rather would. A global pandemic turned the world upside down, and those most marginalised in our community felt it the hardest. Isolation and social distancing – especially from support networks you rely on – was particularly tough for queer people who rely on being with their chosen tribe. But amongst the chaos there were displays of solidarity, moments of queer joy, and a whole lot of resilience.

Throughout the summer, we teamed up with Heather Glazzard and Nora Nord to capture some of the more poignant, intimate and powerful moments experienced by a collective of trans and non-binary people living in the UK. The result is an uplifting short film titled Radical Tenderness.

Eight contributors submitted their experiences across a number of months, with footage captured at the Black Trans Lives Matter marches in London, to everyday moments of brushing their teeth, exercising, dancing in the rain or cooking during lockdown. Heather wanted to capture the beauty of their everyday lives.

The trans and non-binary people featured in this film were interviewed by Heather and Nora, with the overriding messages and themes of these conversations adapted into an empowering spoken word performance by Mandla Rae. The poem – titled Someone Else Who Feels The Same – offers an insight into how we as queer people navigate a world that challenges our very existence – not least when the social and political spectrum is utter mayhem.

It shows how we come together to uplift those who need it most, be the voice for those who are unable to speak up, and rise to become visible role models, allies and supporters for those who need to see it. It’s full of a hope for a future where we will see brighter days.

The LGBTQ+ community – and particularly our trans and non-binary siblings – have faced greater challenges this year. It’s been tough. But through our chosen families, reignited community spirit, and online support networks, we have been there for each other to lift up those most vulnerable. As Mandla Rae’s poem concludes: “Queer joy can always be found / Through your community and peers It’s the light of the sun / After a storm.”

We would like to thank our contributors for sharing their stories with us including Heather Glazzard (They/Them), Nora Nord (She/Her), Mandla Rae (They/Them), Sakeema Cook (She/They), Amy Pennington (They/Them), June Iam (He/Him), Rico Chace (He/Him), Alexis Meshida (She/Her), Adam Tyler (They/Them) and Mothy Muyobo (They/Them).

You can watch our short film Radical Tenderness on IGTV now, and you can also read Mandla Rae’s poem in full below:

Someone Else Who Feels The Same

Radical tenderness is
A force to be reckoned with
In a world that holds
Hostility in its embrace.
Self expression is a cultivation of self love that
Begins when you find your tribe:
Your queer and trans siblings
And chosen family
They say no feeling is ever new
Which to me means
You are not alone, even if you don’t know it;
There is always
Someone else who feels the same.
It’s a little bit easier to find your tribe
Now everyone you never thought you’d meet
Can be found at the click of a link.
Pride was once again a Protest this year.
We marched six feet apart,
Faces covered
To keep each other alive.
Standing in solidarity with all of our Black and transgender siblings
Feet planted on the right side of history
I yearn to once again queer any space we gather in
Whether a pub, a park or Heaven itself.
For now,
Let’s continue to embrace and uplift one another
From a safe distance.
Queer joy can always be found
Through your community and peers
It’s the light of the sun
After a storm.
There is always
Someone else who feels the same.