Monday 1 May 2023

Changes of Meeting Dates in 2023

For the past several years we've avoided having meetings on bank holiday weekends.

At the most recent meeting we had a chat about this.

It turns out that no one that attended the meeting found this to offer any consistent or regular benefits. Once in a while it meant that they could attend a meeting that otherwise they wouldn't have been able to, but just as often it had the opposite effect.

So, to simplify the timetabling (and the remembering of dates) we decided to switch back to simply scheduling meetings for the last Sunday of each month, with the only exception being December when the meeting is scheduled for the second Sunday of the month.

The full schedule of meeting for 2023 is here and has been updated with the new dates.

For 2023 this affects just two dates. It means that there are now meetings scheduled on:

  • Sunday May 28 (instead of Sunday June 4)
  • Sunday August 27 (instead of Sunday September 3)
Other meeting dates in 2023 aren't affected.

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Working back towards normal

Things had been getting more like normal over the past few months. Let's hope that Omicron doesn't throw things too far off course.

The number of people attending meetings has been quite a bit lower than in pre-covid days.

The great thing has been that most months there have been one or two new people that have come along. 

For some it was their first opportunity to step outside as their feminine selves.

The final meeting for 2021 is Sunday December 12, 2021.

Dates for meetings in 2022 are here.

Monday 7 June 2021

Life after Zoom

Last night was the first non-virtual Surrey Swans meeting of 2021. The one prior to that was back in September 2020 ... and before that was February 2020.

It was great to see people again and also to welcome two new friends.

The future of all things still seems on the more-unpredictable-than-usual side of things, but we're hoping that other meeting scheduled for 2021 will be able to go according to plan.

We were able to sit out under the cover of a marquee in the small courtyard area beside the function room at the Lion Brewery. There was even a heater for when the evening began to get a little chillier.

Mike, who runs the Lion Brewery together with Lyndsey shared a bit of the awful armed robbery that they had been subject to back in December 2020. There's a news article about it here.

All in all the evening was special. A bit like a refreshing shower at the end of a drought or the sunrise after a dark night.

The schedule for Surrey Swans meetings for 2021 is here.

See here for additional information about Surrey Swans.

Monday 31 May 2021

What's happening?

The schedule for Surrey Swans meetings for 2021 is here.

See here for additional information about Surrey Swans.

Tuesday 27 August 2019

The Imagination Acts, Diversity and Unity

A few months ago Anne Yarwood, a close friend of Sally (my wife) and I asked if I would be editor of the month for the web site that she has produced - The Imagination Acts.
The result was a collection of pictures and words with a theme of Several Shades of T – Unity within Diversity.

You can read the article at The Imagination Acts web site or at Andrea's Space here.

Also, to save having to click links (and to guard against the possibility that the above links may stop working one day) the article is included below.

But please do visit The Imagination Acts as well - it has an enormous lot of other things that are well worth reading - and a whole lot more artwork.

Several Shades of T – Unity within Diversity
There is a human tendency towards classification and categorisation. To assign labels. To generalise. Male. Female. Straight. Lesbian. Gay. Bi. Trans.
Classification has its uses, but also limitations.
We can use labels to form alliances and to define borders. To stereotype. To marginalise.
It challenges me that I sometimes construct borderlines as a way of self defence and preservation and fail to see the bigger picture. It is possible to value the things that hold us together. To uphold each other. And to celebrate our distinctiveness.
After more than half a lifetime of denial I gave up a battle with myself and began to accept myself as the person that I am. This came with the label “trans”. As time passes, I need to regularly remind myself of the inadequacy of this label. To see that no label defines who I am. Or who you are. There is a much bigger story to your life and to mine.

The Borderline
Cos what is love – a word, the feeling of you ?
Something we dream or the things that we do ?
And who am I – these thoughts, this feeling, my views
A fragile form or a dreamer like you ?
Are we so different, defined ?
Where is the borderline ?

When we are like water, like trees
We have a name, an illusion of identity
Of boundaries, of borderlines
But my dreams are yours and your fears are mine
I hope we wake up from this dream of being different, defined
When we are only space and time
Emily Maguire ( is a singer-song writer, poet and composer. The International Society for Bipolar Disorders awarded her the 2019 Mogens Schou Award for Public Service and Advocacy.
Several Shades of T 
The storyline that I’m thinking of opened with L and G.
After a while they were joined by B.
And then T.
More recently a large selection of the rest of the alphabet has joined in. Some of them more than once.
Lesbian. Gay. Bisexual. Trans. Queer. Questioning. Intersex. Asexual. Ally. Pansexual. Other. Genderfluid. …
Sometimes the newcomers all get represented by just a +.
But the story isn’t about the alphabet.
It’s about people.
It began long before the alphabet got involved.
And like all stories about people, whilst there are still people the story will continue.
Some people are intimately involved in the story. Others are more on the periphery. We can all be involved. In some ways, we all are involved.
There is a truth in that different people read the same story in different ways.
Some see a collection of different letters of the alphabet. They don’t identify with any of the letters. The story is a threat. An anathema. An abomination. They want to put an end to it. But the story is about people and not the alphabet. Ending it involves blood. And even then, whilst there are people the story will continue.
Some claim a letter as their own. They hold it close. They know it and understand it. Looking at the other letters they aren’t so sure. Not all letters are equal. Some of them are frauds. Dangerous. Threatening. They need to be restricted. Controlled.
Some don’t consciously read the story at all. But by words, silences, actions and inactions they take part.
Over the years I’ve come across people that read the story in these ways. And of people that read it in many, many other ways.
My own take on it has changed. Is still changing.
I’ve discovered that I have letters in this story.
I know other people that have the same letters.
But sharing the same letters in a story doesn’t make us the same people. We have our own thoughts, feelings, preferences. And we can even read the same story in different ways.
I know other people with other letters.
But I know no one for whom a letter, or even an entire alphabet, provides an adequate definition of who they are.
In all of this I identify as T and G – that is a Trans person that is Genderfluid.
So, what does that mean? And does it matter.
The term trans is often defined as something like this: an umbrella term for all people who cross traditional gender boundaries – whether that is permanently or periodically (
And then there’s the term genderfluid. You could say that genderfluid individuals have different gender identities at different times. A genderfluid individual’s gender identity could be multiple genders at once and then switch to none at all, or move between single gender identities, or some other combination therein. For some genderfluid people, these changes happen as often as several times a day and for others, monthly, or less often. Some genderfluid people regularly move between only a few specific genders, perhaps as few as two (which could also fit under the label bigender), whereas other genderfluid people never know what they’ll feel like next (See HERE  – wiki/Genderfluid).
However, the definitions certainly have their limitations.
I’ve come across some trans people who don’t like to stand under the same umbrella as other trans people. Which might add another letter to the story to accommodate them.
Some people don’t believe that T has the right to be included along with LG or B.
Sometimes, people begin to talk trans and then focus more upon pronouns, lavatories, changing rooms and restrooms than they do on people.
Sometimes people say and do things that are much worse.
Trans people face many challenges. All people face many challenges.
What special rights should trans people have?
Perhaps nothing more special than things that I believe should be given to all people.
Things like kindness, compassion, respect and understanding.
Ultimately, what every trans person that I know wishes for, is to simply be themselves.
It’s not about special treatment or privileges.
Of course, that’s the beginning of a story more than it is the end of one. Pronouns, restrooms, changing rooms and safe spaces matter.
Safety matters.
People are capable of pretending to be someone that they are not.
There are challenges.
But in working out solutions to these challenges let’s remember that behind every acronym and label there are real people. That even when people share the same label, they are different from each other. That there is no single voice that fully represents any label. That it is possible to disagree with someone else and yet to do that with respect and kindness. That there are times when the ability to reach a compromise is a strength. That it is better to listen to and talk with each other than it is to write about each other. That whispers sometimes speak more loudly than yells.
The acronyms are complicated. People are complex. But there is something special when people that pick up different labels are able to move beyond the things that make them different. To see diversity as a thing that can enrich and strengthen rather than something that weakens and destroys.
And of course, just like you, I have lots of other letters of the alphabet in lots of other stories. And we’re all involved in each of these stories in one way or another. Some stories touch us closely. Others seem to be more distant. But we are involved. What we say and do has an effect. Our inactions and silences also have an effect. And all the separate stories are, in reality, parts of a single bigger story.
Martin Niemöller (first-they-came-for-the-socialists) is remembered for saying:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

And so, even though I am not L or G or B, I still speak out. We are all neighbours (
Last year I discovered the music of Emily Maguire ( ) and was especially touched when listening to a song of hers called The Borderline which speaks to me of the way it can be so easy to concentrate on things that divide us rather than the things that hold us together. You can listen to it  HERE  and  HERE.
The words are:
The Borderline

Where is the borderline
The boundary between your tribe and mine
Are we the rain, the river, the cloud and the sea
If we are like water then which drop is me

And what is time – the fast blink of an eye
A circle so vast that we think it’s a line
And what is space – the air, the silence we breathe
A place of our own and the ghosts we don’t see
Is it the boundary, the borderline
Between you and I, your mind and mine

Is fire the spark, the fuel, the air or the heat
The smoke in your eyes or the ash at your feet
Are trees the root, the branch, the wood or the leaves
The forest we burn or the broom that we keep
Beneath the stairs, the stars, the space in a jar. The air outside is that where you are
Is that the borderline, the boundary
Between you and I, between your tribe and mine

But isn’t fear the dark shadow of hope
The things that we want and the things that we don’t
And so we cling and close the eyes that look in,
The soul we don’t see under the skin
Cos that’s a boundary, the borderline
Between you and I, between your tribe and mine

But we both were born and both will die
And in between will doubt and dream
Of a better life than life before
A meaning or a reason for
This feeling of being different, defined
When we are only dreaming of boundaries and borderlines
I hope we wake up

Cos what is love – a word, the feeling of you
Something we dream or the things that we do
And who am I – these thoughts, this feeling, my views
A fragile form or a dreamer like you
Are we so different, defined
Where is the borderline?

When we are like water, like trees
We have a name, an illusion of identity
Of boundaries, of borderlines
But my dreams are yours and your fears are mine
I hope we wake up from this dream of being different, defined
When we are only space and time

And yes, I too hope that we wake up.

Thursday 17 January 2019

TRANSlation - a trans film for cis people

Back in November 2018 we had a visit from a group of people studying at UCA as described here and here.

The video that they produced, TRANSlation - a trans film for cis people, is now online. Here it is:

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Sunday December 9th 2018 - Pre-Christmas Buffet

Sunday December 9th was the evening of the pre-Christmas buffet.

It was a lovely evening and it was great to see everyone. Here are a few pictures.