Monday, 13 June 2016

June 2016

We had a good meeting on Sunday June 5th. It was even warm (and dry) enough to sit outside for a while.

Jo came to visit along with a display of products, with an opportunity to take a look at things and try them out along with helpful hint;,s tips and advice.




Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Pictures that illustrate life isn’t just black and white

Back in November 2015 we had a visit from Ernielson Limbo.

As I mentioned then,Ernielson is a second year  BA Photography student at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Ernielson has been working on a project on The Third Gender. Part of this involves merging portrait photographs of people with the text of things they have said to produce abstract representations.

I said that I’d post a link to the images that Ernielson created one he had completed them. So here is Ernielson’s Facebook page and here is a link to the album of pictures.

They are great!

As Ernielson says:

This body of work attemps to destroy the socially constructed boundaries of gender in the contemporary world. By the own words of those photographed, the images are manipulated and corrupted. Symbolising the refusual to be categorised and challenges the binary concept of gender as well as expressing gender freedom.
A special Thank You to the Surrey Swans

Thank you Ernielson, it was great to meet you. And, of course, you are welcome to visit the Swans any time at all.

December special

December 2015 was an unusual month for Surrey Swans.
Usually there is no meeting in December, but in 2015 we had a pre-Christmas buffet.
The food was provided by the Lion Brewery, where our meetings take place.
It was a fun, relaxing time.
Here are a few pictures:




Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Sunday November 29 2015–Speech and Portrait Modification

We had a really pleasant evening at the Surrey Swans this week.

Louise Milner-Smith who is a Voice and Speech Coach, Qualified Speech and Language Therapist visited us and talked about the work that she has done and continues to do in the area of voice modification, particularly in relation to transgender people.


The kind of topics that Louise covered included:


-        Who am I

-        What do I do

-        Background & relevant experience

Getting help – what matters most?

-        Qualifications

-        Experience

-        Cost

-        Location – hospital / clinic or private setting

-        Length of initial appointment & follow-up appointment

-        Group or One to One

-        Face to face or online (including video consultation)

Which voice for you – how to decide?

How to look after your voice – general tips

Open forum questions & answers

It was really interesting and helpful.

Louise has a strong personal commitment to helping Transgender people. It was great to meet her and spend some time talking with her.

There are contact details for Louise here if you’d like to find out more.

After speaking with us Louise stayed for the rest of the evening chatting with people.

Here’s Louise with Linda and Adele.

P1090020 copy

We also had a visit from Ernielson Limbo. Ernielson is a second year  BA Photography student at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Ernielson is working on a project on The Third Gender. Part of this involves merging portrait photographs of people with the text of things they have said to produce abstract representations.

Once the images are available I’ll post a link to them.

It was great to meet Ernielson, and once he had the portraits and text that he needed he stayed around and chatted with people.

Here’s Gina, Mia and Laura with Ernielson.

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We had a visit from a film crew of students way back in November 2013 as described here.

Monday, 26 October 2015

October 2015

There were about 16 of us at the meeting this past Sunday, with 2 girls visiting us for the first time.It’s always a real pleasure to meet new people.

We also had a visit from Michelle who told us a bit about the work that she does. It was lovely to meet her and listen to her. She is a stylist who is keen on helping people to have a positive mind-set and to realise their own beauty and greatness. We really hope that she will be able to visit us again sometime soon.

Monday, 20 July 2015

June 2015

There was a smaller than usual gathering of girls at the meeting in June. Nevertheless, it was a very enjoyable evening.

The weather had been fairly good that day so we sat out a while. Here are a few of us:

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A visit from Surrey Police


On Sunday November 30th we had a visit from Jo, Michelle and Carol.

And here they are:

Carol, Jo and Michelle:P1080828

Jo works with Surrey Police and her role there includes that of a LAGLO, There’s some additional info about Surrey Police LAGLOs on Facebook here which mentions:

Surrey Police LAGLOs (Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers) are specially trained officers with an interest in helping the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community.

Surrey Police has a team of LAGLO officers covering the Surrey policing area. There are currently a total of 18 officers who have specialist knowledge and training surrounding the LGBT community and their issues.
LAGLO’s work closely with the LGBT community and can provide advice, support and assistance to victims and witnesses affected by homophobic incidents and crimes.

Michelle also works with Surrey Police. Carol works with New Patch which mentions:

Here at New Patch we pride ourselves in providing an all-encompassing legal and professional consultancy service, ‘hand crafted’ to the individual needs of our clients.

Providing sound advice and assistance on a varied number of matters, we like to think that we ‘fill the space’ between the Citizens Advice Bureau and a traditional solicitors office thus in real terms we could have easily been called ‘The Gap’ (unfortunately some large clothing outfit got there before us)!

We believe it is not so much ‘what we know’ but more so the unique and individual way in which we deliver that knowledge.

Do you need us to hold your hand? Would you like us to point you in the right direction? Have you been directed to us? Whatever your circumstances we are here to help and are delighted to be able to do so

Jo talked about the kind of work that she and the LAGLO team at Surrey Police do and answered a range of questions that people had.

There was one question regarding the use of conveniences / toilets / restrooms in public areas. We were told that by law transgender people have the right to use the toilets associated with the gender in which they present themselves. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there will never be objections raised by other people about this. But the law doesn’t have a problem with it. There’s a story here that illustrates the kind of problem a person might face. But that this specific case is seen as a hate crime by the police force concerned.

Jo also talked about the kind of specialist training that LAGLOs undertake and mentioned that all police officers receive training in diversity. She was clear that everyone, including transgender people has the right to expect the police to give them a fair service. But also realistic in that there are times and places when this hasn’t happened.

The diversity training isn’t only relevant to hate crime, but is also relevant in dealing with transgender people in general. Jo also mentioned that whenever police officers are dealing with transgender people they are able to liaise with LAGLOs whenever that helps.

Current levels of hate crime generally, and trans-phobic hate crime in particular in Surrey are low. However it is believed that a lot goes unreported. Jo mentioned that it is possible to report hate crime anonymously and mentioned that this can be really helpful to the police force in helping them identify areas where they can be of most help and service.

Jo said that as with all crimes, there are various degrees of hate crime. But that legally speaking, pretty much anything (words or deeds) that caused offence to a transgender person and related to the expression of their gender would be considered to be a hate crime.

Everyone that I spoke to found the evening to be very informative and was very appreciative.

Personally, I was left with the feeling and belief that Surrey Police are committed to offering support and protection to the LGBT community and it was a real pleasure to meet Jo, Michelle and Carol

After the meeting, Jo emailed me the following message:

I just wanted to take the opportunity to say that it was a pleasure to meet you all last night, thank you for inviting me to speak.

Surrey Police LAGLO Team can be reached on the following number … 01483 630474

Or email us on

If you use Twitter you can find us… @SurreyBeatLGBT

Or Facebook… Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers

The Surrey Police website has details of how you can report a crime anonymously and for those not living in Surrey I am sure our surrounding Forces have a similar set up, please check the individual websites or contact the Force Diversity Team.