"IT’S A SIN" MERCHANDISE

‘It’s a Sin’ Merchandise

 

We are thrilled by the success of the TV show ‘It’s A Sin’, written by our Patron Russell T Davies.  We are equally as thrilled by our supporters who are promoting HIV awareness and supporting us with ‘It's A Sin’ inspired merchandise.

 

Head to our shop to check out all the clothing, artwork and music being sold with proceeds donated to us.  La!

Friday, 5 March, 2021

 

TRANS VISIBILITY IN THE LOCKDOWN ERA

A blog by Jane

 

I’ve written many blogs for Transgender Day of Visibility, penned when obstacles to visibility were personal fears. This year, obstacles are Covid-related. I’m writing in an era of sweat pants or PJs all day; not bothering with make-up; no social gatherings; a time of home and office involuntarily coalescing.

 

Is there visibility in a time of lockdown? Being out and proud with gender identity seems impossible when the official directive is ‘Stay at Home’. Suddenly there’s no choice, we are all ‘invisible,’ locked down before screens at home whether we like it or not.

 

I have polled others in the Trans community about their experiences. Many are gloomy and depressed. Those struggling to come out have suddenly found lifelines cut. The support groups and gatherings offering safety in their target gender, have gone. Those stuck at home in abusive relationships face pressure; conforming to someone else’s idea of who they ‘should be’. Those needing hormones and surgery face indefinite waits while health staff focus on the pandemic. Hope disappears and, one by one, the lights that gave hope, go out. I have comforted friends expressing suicidal thoughts and wondered about the seeming cruelty of it all.

 

Into all of this came Channel 4’s ‘It’s a Sin’, with its exploration of AIDS in 1980’s Britain. For me, it came like a stone pitched into a pool, each episode setting off ripples of painful memories. I was a gender-queer 20 something in 1980’s Newcastle-upon-Tyne; out on the scene but very vulnerable.  Exploring my gender presentation and sexuality meant intimate involvement with others, yet my relationship was deeply conventional. My then-partner knew nothing about the secret life I led. As the poorly understood means of transmission got clearer, I suspected I might be HIV+ but didn’t dare get tested. Many trans and non-binary people refused because testing meant revealing secret gender identities. Being outed as gay looked bad enough; being outed trans meant losing my job, my home; maybe living on the street.  As the scenes of ‘It’s a Sin’ rolled on screen, I felt a deep shame.  My previous actions seemed so selfish and at times I didn’t want to see any more.

 

I completed my transition many years ago. My current birth certificate records my birth as female. I’m someone’s wife. I had the longed for big, white wedding. I became a mum with two kids and later two step children. I had the awful shock of understanding I was heterosexual. These days I work and volunteer for George House Trust and before I had Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS) I got tested and found out my status. Now, I consider it my responsibility. Others tell me I pass well (something I still find hard to believe). Ironically, ‘passing’ hands you the option of invisibility: in the Trans community, we call it ‘going stealth’.

 

In the end I chose NOT to go stealth.  How could I? Winning the trans genetic lottery and having a winning smile doesn’t entitle you to turn your back on sisters and brothers. By the same token, knowing your HIV status doesn’t take away the responsibility of managing relationships. I had the option to hide my past and to fit into normative cisgender society. It was tempting. In an earlier, less affluent time, like many transsexual women, I worked the sex industry to pay transition related bills. I could feel shame and hide but who would that help?

 

Visibility is not just about physical presence, it is about being counted when it comes to trans-activism and upholding the rights of all trans and non-binary people.

 

You can do that whether you are trans, gender-queer or a cis-gender ally. It’s about joining the debate, whether you are stuck ‘invisible’ at home or not. It is also about getting tested and encouraging trans friends to do the same; despite their fears.

 

Visibility is not just for you, it’s for all of us.

 

Read more of Jane’s writing here.

 

Photo credit: Tina Williams Village Photography 

 

 

Wednesday, 31 March, 2021

REMEMBERING DAME GRACY

 

REMEMBERING DAME GRACY

 

We were very saddened to hear of the death of Graham Giles aka Dame Gracy who was a true friend to George House Trust.

 

Our Finance Director, Neal Sharpe, says

 

Graham has been a friend to George House Trust for many years, indeed from our earliest years.  

 

He was one of the team who started the bank holiday Pride March, determined not only to stand proud as a gay man but to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, and raising countless amounts of money doing so.

 

Graham lived with HIV and when we called him recently to check he was doing OK during lockdown, he was happy to be out tending the communal garden he loved so much.

 

Graham was a very special character and whether he was in wellies or stilettos, we thank him for all the support he gave.

 

We send our condolences to Graham’s family and friends at this very sad time.  Wonderful tributes have been paid in this article by the Manchester Evening News.

 

Photo courtesy of Jemma O'Brien for the M.E.N.

 

Friday, 19 March, 2021

Important Covid Risk and Vaccine Updates

 

An additional 1.7 million people in England have been added to the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ list for COVID-19 based on a new risk calculator called QCovid. QCovid is based on a combination of factors which include ethnicity, housing, obesity and specific health conditions.

 

If you have been told that you are in this group it means that you are on the Shielding List and so you are in priority group 4 for COVID vaccination. 

 

You are also eligible for additional support - see the Shielding Support Website: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support.  You can find your local council’s details at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-local-help.

 

For the January 2021 article on SARS-CoV-2 vaccine advice for adults living with HIV: British HIV Association (BHIVA) & Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) guidance - Plain English version, you can read more here.

 

For a more recent update (February 2021) regarding "Important Covid risk and vaccine updates" as set out by BHIVA, you can read more here.

 

We will publish more up-to-date information as it is released.

Monday, 1 March, 2021

Join Manchester Disabled People’s Engagement Panel

14 paid positions

 

  • Are you a disabled person, or do you have lived experience of disability or a long-term health condition?
  • Do you live or work in Manchester?
  • Could you use your lived experience and knowledge to make Manchester a better place for disabled people – both during and after Covid?
  • Would you like to do this whilst developing your skills and getting paid for your time at meetings?

 

Breakthrough UK, a leading disabled people’s organisation, is recruiting disabled people and people with long term health conditions to join an exciting new panel starting in Manchester very soon. This work is funded for 12 months through a grant from the National Lottery’s Lived Experience Leaders programme.

 

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 6th April 2021.  You can find out more information here.

Wednesday, 24 March, 2021

Living with HIV? Want to talk to us?
Call 0161 274 4499 or email: talk@ght.org.uk