Hundreds showed their solidarity with trans and non-binary communities at the ‘We Stand With You’ fundraising event last week, which was organised by influencer Max Balegde.
Headlined by ‘Drag Race UK’ star Bimini Bon-Boulash, the night featured a star-studded lineup of performers that included Black Peppa, Kemah Bob, Bailey J Mills, Sadie Sinner and the Alpha Dancers.
Approximately £40,208 was raised for Not a Phase, a trans-led, grassroots charity dedicated to awareness campaigning, social projects and funding new initiatives for the community.
“The community needs this outpouring of love now more than ever. It’s one thing living day to day with low level transphobia but seeing our country’s key figures taking to the stage to deny our very existence is inhumane,” said Danielle St James, the organisation’s Chief Executive.
“We just want to live our lives and have access to the same basic human rights as everyone else,” she continued.
Given how negatively trans and non-binary issues are often framed in both politics and the media, GAY TIMES wanted to bring the conversation back to the strength that lies in being LGBTQIA+.
So, we asked six icons from the trans and non-binary communities what they find most powerful about being their authentic selves. Here’s what each of them said at the ‘We Stand With You’ event…
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Bimini Bon-Boulash (Drag Race contestant)
“What I find powerful about being non-binary is that I can do what I want to do, wear what I want to wear and be who I want to be and not follow any rules that were created by society because that’s what it means to me, it’s the rejection of that. So, the power is in doing what you want to do…Don’t listen to anyone who makes you feel like you’re not real, or you’re not valid, or you’re not authentic. You’ve got to follow your own heart, you’ve got to follow your dreams and what makes you feel the best version of yourself. If you’re not harming anyone, which we’re not, you keep doing it, you keep being kind to yourself and just slay it.”
Black Peppa (Drag Race contestant)
“What I found powerful is that I can be who I want to be. Every single day, I wake up, I feel empowered to wear what I want to wear, to act how I want to act. Being non-binary has been a journey for me – one day, I might feel like I want to put a skirt on and another day I might not want to put a skirt on. Being non-binary is really important to me because that’s my identity. Growing up, I didn’t really know where I lied and I feel like now, I have realised that there is somewhere where I can place myself and to me that’s really important and I’m really happy that I’m in a cultural climax, such as now in the year 2023, where I can finally find an identity that I can place myself into, and I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way.”
Cambell Kenneford (Influencer)
“My favourite thing about being trans is being trans and then my least favourite thing about being trans is other people – their questions, the rude questions. I love being trans and there’s no other description for it. I love my journey, who I’ve become on that [and] who I’ve met and then the worst thing is the constant questions and then the current government that we have.”
Danielle St James (Chief Executive, Not a Phase)
“I’d say the power in being a trans person, in general, is the power of self definition and how you get to really cultivate who you want to be. Moving away from any cultural norms and expectations, you get to choose every facet of who you are. That’s what makes me feel powerful in general.”
Hallie Clark (Big Brother contestant)
“Being trans is beautiful, it’s unique, it’s amazing and it just shows the world who you are unapologetically. I love being trans and I love being part of such a good community. I love it.”
Jaxon Feeley (Activist)
“I think that inspiring people to live a life more true to themselves is the most powerful thing in the world. I have been in environments where I have inspired people in prison, who are the most hopeless people in the world, who don’t believe that they’ve got a second chance, who believe that it’s too late to change. By sitting there and being open and vulnerable and completely honest with those people and having those conversations and saying, ‘You have to look yourself in the mirror, have the difficult conversations and do the thing that terrifies you the most to find true happiness,’ it inspired people to stop taking drugs, it inspired people to stop self-harming, it inspired people to not be ashamed of their scars because I told them that it was part of them and part of their journey, and it’s part of you and how far you’ve come, and to embrace that. To see people find the courage and the belief that it’s never too late to change your own life, I think there is nothing more powerful than living your truth.”
To learn more about Not a Phase, click here.