Fundraiser for Rise video with Julie Burchill


I’ve never really talked about it much but two years ago, when my life was first splashed across national television, I was homeless for a while and eventually found a place in a women’s’ refuge. Much like when I first arrived off the boat in the UK, I had landed in Brighton with all my worldly possessions in my car, and it was my new friend Fox who suggested that I call Rise. Little did I know it but this charity had a history of being very inclusive of trans people, they had a dedicated LGBT officer and had policies in place that made sure that gender variant people’s identities were respected. I was assigned a key worker who for the first time ever, asked me how I identify and how I wanted to be addressed. It was a complete breath of fresh air.

My whole life was in complete chaos during those first few months, I couldn’t tell anyone where I lived for fear of putting the other women in danger by exposing exactly where the refuge was, the immense pressure I felt from the TV thing, the breakup of a relationship and being homeless yet again took it’s toll on me. I met some great people and it gave me the space to think and to plan a way to put my life back together so in a roundabout way, I’m glad things worked out how they did, if it wasn’t for Rise, my life wouldn’t be what it is, my confidence wouldn’t be where it is now and I’d probably be living in a tent on the Outer Hebrides or something.

Fast forward two years and the Trans Alliance, one of the organisations I volunteer with, heard that notorious transphobe Julie Burchill would be organising a fundraiser for Rise in Brighton called End Of. The reactions from the local trans and feminist community varied from quite strong ‘burn the witch’ the responses to the more moderate and although last year I had helped organise one of the wave of direct action protests against her sickening rant in the Observer, I felt that the bigger picture needed to be taken into account on this occasion. The Trans Alliance reached out to Rise and we talked about how best to manage the situation and they asked me if I would like to say a few words on the night to highlight how the charity supports women, regardless of whether they were trans or cisgender.

Rise is a charity which can only offer such a wide range of support services because of the fundraising efforts of women like Julie Burchill. Rise doesn’t discriminate who they help so of the tens of thousands raised last night, trans women will be among those who are helped to recover from abusive relationships. Wonderfully Ironic, isn’t it?

When I was deciding what to say for my time on stage in front of hundreds and hundreds of people I was very aware that I was walking a tightrope, on one hand I had to be respectful of the real needs of Rise as a charity, and on the other, I couldn’t miss up an opportunity to call out a transphobe on her bullshit. I was super nervous waiting to go on stage, which wasn’t helped when Burchill and my eyes met over a crowded corridor, she must have known that I helped organise those protests, I mean who doesn’t Google themselves from time to time, right?

In the end, I kept my protest low key, focussed on the positive that had came from my interactions with Rise but still made the point I had come to make. The most surprising thing that came fro the evening though, was bumping into a woman I had met while in refuge, her story was more harrowing than anyone can imagine and it made my week to see her happy, strong and getting on with her life. positivity rocks.

If Julie Burchill happens to read this, let me say this to you; we obviously have some things in common, the Sex Pistols and a desire to combat domestic violence for a start, is it time to drop the transphobic rhetoric? Let’s talk and see if we can find some more common ground.

12 thoughts on “Fundraiser for Rise video with Julie Burchill

    • Super cool! I was doing a layout of our home remodel and had more pics than I knew what to do with. I did something similar to this! I attached a 6.5 x12 piece of paper to the center of my layout by scoring the paper at .5 and running adhesive down the edge on the back side. I attached it and used the sew along down the edge for added interest. It created an additiona page within the page. Then I scrapped my page with the addition closed. Then I opened it to add additional pictures on the back. My husband thought that it was pretty cool!

  1. A good speech Sarah, a little light on the transphobic journalist, but your quote from the Daily Mail article, would have been spotted by those in the know! Your reference to common ground in the script, shows your own strength. A warning those who may cross you in the future lol x

    • Thanx, yea I could have gone out with guns blazing but decided it was best to be a bit more subtle, I think I won over the room… 🙂

    • ps- that comment isn’t aimed at rachel, and i don’t want to suggest that she isn’t doing the best job possible to keep us informed about what is going on. i cannot say enough how happy i am to have this website. but if garcia is going to back a plan, he needs to have the details figured out and let us know what they are.

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    • It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this fantastic blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  2. Good for you. Although I wanted to go to support the organisation and have a chance to see Alison Moyet I could not bring myself to support an event organised by Burchill. I was so shocked by the vileness of her article and the extremely abusive nature of it that it has stayed with me all of this time. The irony of an organisation dedicated to tackling domestic abuse in all of its forms using an abusive woman to organise their fundraiser is astounding and in my view has done them a disservice. No doubt that they are a good organisation with honourable intentions but really they should have known better than this. Obviously I feel very strongly about this. So I am very pleased to see that they do support transwomen who come looking for help because I was wondering (given who was working with them) whether this would be the case. I’m very glad that you managed to stand up to her in the way that you did in a very dignified way whilst making your point and that there was someone there to take back the power in the way that you did. Bravo!

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