Health and WellbeingOur achievements
1. October 17th: Monthly Walk, 11am @ Roudsea Woods Nature Reserve, Haverthwaite. Starting at the Anglers Arms
2. October 25th: Cumbria Pride Annual General Meeting, 7.30pm @ Sticky Bits Café, Carlisle
3. October 27th: Social Evening, 8pm @ Hope & Anchor, Ulverston
4. October 31st: Halloween Howler, 6pm @ Sticky Bits Café, Carlisle
5. October 31st: Dining Club, 7pm @ The Brown Cow, Dalton
The idea for Trans Lakes was first conceived in 2006, but we founded in 2009. Initially, a resource centre offered us the use of
their venue one night a month for transgender gatherings. Nowadays we have social and support nights in Barrow and Ulverston, and Carlisle.
In the south, we have a Monthly Walk with pub lunch, two Social Evenings and a Dining Club. We also have an annual Spring Walking Weekend in April. In the north, a Monthly Meet-Up is held on the first Monday of each calendar month, and we are looking to expand our activities in north Cumbria in 2017.
The group has now achieved over 40% attendance of the monthly contacted community in the last few years. This includes attendance of either open days or evening events.
The social evenings are designed to enable trans people to meet and get to know one another, as well as to be out and about integrating with non-trans people in society as well. Subconsciously this enables less confident trans people to get used to being out, as well as having the security of being out with other, more experienced trans people.
For some trans females, preferences such as make up and clothing are often hidden from their partners, for fear of ridicule or rejection, and sometimes just plain indifference. In other cases, partners may feel fine about their partner's feminine attire at home, but not in public. Trans Lakes however welcomes the partners of trans people to our events, so that partners can themselves take that step into understanding the trans world in a real world setting. Trans males are underrepresented in our community, and the numbers of trans males using our service remains small. Please note that we accept all trans identities here at Trans Lakes - male, female, non-binary/genderqueer, agender, transvestite and questioning. And whilst we are primarily aimed at trans people themselves, friends, family and trans allies are all warmly welcome at our events also.
So what is transgenderism?
But irregardless of the science, being trans is a part of who we are; and is what makes us the unique individuals that we are. For many years it was considered to be a mental illness; indeed the WHO (World Health Organisation) still list it as such. However, a landmark study in Mexico in July 2016 concluded that it should not be. The study, which was published in The Lancet, will be repeated in other countries. Transgenderism is far more common than is often believed. It is estimated that at least 1/5 males will, at some point in their lives, experience the pressing urges to cross dress. The figure for female trans people wearing male clothing is not currently readily available, as trans males are more difficult to distinguish, due to fashion trends encouraging women to wear clothing predominately designed originally for men - thereby masking those who are trans male. And around 0.3% of people consider themselves 'trans' in some form. Which does not sound much, but actually equates to about 217'000 people in the UK alone. Worldwide, about 23m people!
Social or Support?
At Trans Lakes, we are more than happy to point you in the right direction for any advice and support you may need, of which there is plenty in Cumbria. However, we do not offer formal support ourselves. Trans Lakes is primarily a social organisation to help trans people socialise with other trans and integrate with the non-trans community. This does not mean we are not willing or able to offer minimal advice informally, but this should not be interpreted as formal or official advice.
Who else we provide a voice for
We seek to provide a voice for the trans community to many of the statutory and voluntary organisations. Our founder, Joan Devereaux, sits on local committees seeking to ensure that the trans voice is heard and not drowned out, as well as trying to inform others about who we are, what we do and how we fit into the local community. In that effort we are represented on LGBT+ forums and groups representing the LGBT+ community, and in the past by the Independent Advisory Group for Barrow Police.
We strive to improve the acceptance of our community through an improved understanding from the public at large, by having a presence at public events with our display stands, and fundraising at events such as Cumbria Pride in Carlisle or Freshers Day at Barrow College. And of course, we have our own website! Our aim is for this website to build and grow organically over time. The website is currently under development, so please accept our apologies if anything seems misplaced or out of date; this is being worked on gradually and we hope to have our revamped website completely ready by the new year.
We wish to provide much more public awareness of our community seeing us assisting in other spheres of the voluntary sector. The work that we do on other committees is of greater benefit to the local south Cumbria community at large, though we currently aim to promote the needs of north Cumbria communities as well going forward. The numbers we are in contact with increases all the time, and even then probably only touches the tip of the iceberg. We are aware that there are a great number of trans people in towns, like Barrow, Kendal and Carlisle, who are frightened to admit that they have the feelings of a trans person for fear of repercussions that may arise, either at work and/or in the family setting. But the day will come when those feelings need expression through release, so we are striving hard, ensuring that we can be there for them when needed, and to guide them to the right places when they feel ready to take things any further or simply require different kinds of support.
1. To support new trans in considering all options before they take steps to develop as they feel appropriate to their needs
2. To assist trans with integrating into the broader LGBT+ community
3. To help trans be seen out more within in the wider community
4. To guide trans toward other services, by way of relevant links and informal, unofficial advice
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to email, or contact us online!