After a very bitter election result – make no mistake, thousands will die as a result of further Tory cuts to the welfare budget and health and emergency services – no one I know feels very cheerful at the moment. Luckily I had a project I was already working on, or I might have gone to bed for a week…

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Having seen a lot of uninformed prejudice on the subject of transgender identity when I volunteered at the Women’s Centre, I’ve always tried to be a good ally, and speak up where I felt it would help. About 18 months ago, that meant on a facebook thread that was getting unpleasant, and now I have 3D friends who are very involved with Nottingham TransHub. An event was organised for last Sunday and another friend, Keith, was doing the media/sound so I was called on to lend some backdrop cloth…a long and very laughter filled hour followed as he wouldn’t express any firm opinions on what colour/style etc 🙂 The next day I decided to make a quilt to be a backdrop, based on the TG flags and what I feel about gender… that it is both more simple than people make out and much more complex.

People are the identity they feel themselves. Simple as that!

What they feel themselves to be fits on a spectrum much broader and more colourful than the binary of the Judeo-Christian consumerist transnational business heads. Colonialism tried to erase many cultures’ much more nuanced understandings and expressions, but if we listen, there are people prepared to tell us how it can be…

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Some transgender people do indeed transition, via surgery and hormonal treatments, so I have used a butterfly to symbolise the transition.

With equal validity, some do not – they define as non-binary, perhaps similar to two-spirits in some cultures, but because they have to work very hard with their intuition to clarify this and stay strong in the face of the pressure to find a binary pole, I have used a heart. The black/variegated batik fabric is very close to the PoC Pride flag colours, which I wanted to bring in as there was an awful lot of white, pastels and Euro-traditional baby colours in the mix, so there are blocks of this in each spectrum too.

So, my quilt is based on these ideas:

at the heart of it all, we live on a blue and green planet

we are personalities based on the energies that run through us [I based this ring on the directional poles used in healing and medicine wheel work – nothing is right, wrong, better or weaker, just itself and powerful/empowering when used in the right place]

we live in a society that acknowledges male, female and TG and is beginning to acknowledge A-genderedness. So there should be 4 poles, not 2 or 3 on that circle…

there are currently a variety of flags used at Pride parades: Trans sexual, Transgender 1, 2, and 3, Neutrois, Genderfluid, Gender Non-binary, Genderqueer, Intersex and Hermaphrodite. I added an Ally flag, too, cos..I’m an ally making it? 🙂

There will be more embroidery/embellishment, but I finished it Sunday morning, it was used as the backdrop at the Transcribing Gender event open mic that night and it may be used again at IDAHOBIT [International Day Against Homophobia, Bi, Intersex,Trans Prejudice] organised by local activists and the Police, on Sunday again! So better to leave it tidy…

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