gender

My Body Is My Story

 I am a canvas

A blank slate for my tale to be told

My Tabula Rasa

For which I am the master

 

Scars are my battle wounds from wars of long ago

Fighting an enemy at the time I didn’t know

But I won those wars

Conquered the demons and pushed them aside

Now I wear my scars as a symbol of pride

 

The ink that dons my body

Memories not to be consigned to oblivion

Points in time where I made my name

From honours to sin

Lessons and mistakes, all the same

A lifetime of work, etched into my skin

 

Stretch marks and Cellulite

Signs of my growth as an individual

My hair and piercings

Projections of my personality

Each detail highlighting a moment

A moment that changed who I wanted to be

 

Every inch of my being

Owns something I’m proud of

Be it a milestone

An achievement

Survival of a trying time

It is honoured

It is worn with pride

 It has it’s rightful place on my canvas

My piece of art

 

My body is my legacy

A chronicling of my growth

My ascension into being the best I can be

Laden across me, free for all to see

I am the Aviana Tapestry

Perry's Body Image Tips

It is Mental Health Awareness Week this week, it’s theme is body image. Watch our video below to hear Perry talking a little bit about body image, as well as some useful tips for if you are struggling with your body image.

If you feel like you need some support, our Listening Support Service may be beneficial - you can fill out a self-referral form here

Banter or Bullying Event

OTR took part in the Banter or Bullying Event held at the University of Bath alongside SARI and Black Families.

Prior to the event, we heard from over 1700 young people living or studying in BANES from our survey entitled “Are you being bullied for who you are - Young people’s experiences of hate.” We were blown away by the response rate of the survey, and what young people have experienced.

The day was separated with many different workshops for both school students and staff. OTR held a workshop based around online bullying and harassment. We had 5 different activities for the young people all of which were used to discuss online discrimination and hate crime; we had an activity using Meme’s, a ‘Dark Web’, Support Cloud, Online Activism activity as well as a Runway For Change. The purpose of these activities was to raise and tackle the issues around online discrimination, hate crime and bullying as well as sharing with young people where they can go should they ever experience this.

We also participated in a ‘speed dating’ type of activity which allowed us, and other services to share with young people what we do, and how they can access our support as well as allowing them to ask any questions they had.

The event closed with a Q&A session with Nikesh Shukla hosted by our very own Youth Forum member and DMYP Renee Weber. Renee and the young people did a fantastic job of asking Nikesh a range of questions from his experience of racism, his childhood and how he uses his position as an author to discuss race and immigration within the UK.

This event allowed us to promote Bath and North East Somerset as an area that challenges discrimination and hate and supports the people that experience this type of behaviour.

Here’s to working and standing together to make change!

“Abuse and hate crime is part of a viscous circle and we need to break it” - Alex Raikes, Strategic Director for SARI


Photo’s from the day

Hear Abi's Story

I always had this feeling that something wasn’t right, but for much of my early years I couldn’t figure out what it was. My parents pushed me towards typically male things, like sports, and I learned to enjoy them. However, I still naturally wanted to do some of the more feminine activities and my friendship groups were mostly female. It wasn’t until I began crossdressing that I realised what that wrong feeling was. By the time I had realised that though, my mum had found out about my crossdressing and criticised me for it saying, “you are not a girl”. This lack of acceptance caused me to feel like I couldn’t show this side of me and so I suppressed it. This resulted in me suffering with mental illness, mostly depression. My discomfort in presenting as male came back several times but each time I proceeded to suppress it once more. It wasn’t until I became friends with someone that was lesbian that I became comfortable enough to be more comfortable and accepting of who I am and so I came out to her as bisexual. However, after a few months I felt that label didn’t fit and so I used gay instead. Not long after this though my gender dysphoria came back again and so I decided this time to embrace my identity rather than continue suppressing it. So, when I got to Uni I began presenting as female and picked a new name for myself.

I found out about Off the Record at one of their events and proceeded to get 1:1 support to help me with this big change in my life. This led to me attending SPACE and Activists. Since then I have officially changed my name through deed poll, been placed on the gender identity clinic waiting list, and been involved in many projects with Off the Record. Without Off the Record I wouldn’t have grown as a person anywhere near as much as I have done. I value of their work is invaluable and I appreciate and am so thankful for all they have done for me. They truly are a fantastic group of people and are always there to help support the people that access their service in any way that they can.