Belinda, founder of the Boston Belles
Boston Belles Transgendered Support Group
Belinda started the group after moving from Cornwall and realising there were few resources in Lincolnshire for the transgendered community.
Let me introduce myself, I am Belinda, a transgendered person. That does not mean that I am seeking gender reassignment, it just means that I am one of those born transgendered. The spectrum of transgenderism covers a very wide range, from those that have the urge to wear, perhaps, just a single item of clothing that is usually associated with the opposite gender, right through to those that are totally convinced that they were born with the wrong body and need gender reassignment surgery to correct their life.
Transgenderism is actually a medical condition over which we have no control, as it is born within us. It is now generally accepted to be occasioned by a misbalance in the hormone flush that defines our gender and happens in the womb about six weeks after fertilisation of the egg. It makes us who we are; it is a part of us that makes us the individuals that we are.
Transgenderism is far more common that is usually believed, it is estimated that at least one male person in five will at some time in their life, experience the very pressing urges to cross dress, male to female.
Community Showcase event in Boston
The figure for the female to male transgendered is not easily available as they are not easily distinguishable, due to fashion trends allowing and encouraging the female to adopt clothing that has been predominately designed originally for the male, thereby masking those females who are of a transgendered nature.
But, the best estimate is that at least around 15 % of the population have the urge to cross dress to some extent during their lives, which means almost nine million of us! But we are still considered a minority community and often totally ignored in many respects.
When I retired from business in Cornwall and moved to Boston, my wife, my friend Stacey and I decided that as there were so very few resources for the transgendered in Lincolnshire we would start a group; I had previously been involved in a support group in Cornwall and after a lot of research to establish if there was a demand in the area, and many refusals to hire venues to hold meetings, the Boston Belles were finally founded in 2004 with an inaugural social evening which just 10 people attended. Today our evenings are averaging an attendance of 25 to 30 per evening, with sometimes over 40.
Community Showcase event in Boston
We hold social support evenings on the second Friday of the month at a village hall just outside Boston in Lincolnshire. These social support evenings provide an opportunity for members of the transgendered community to meet and get to know each other, and relax in the company of other like minded adults whilst dressed in the clothes of their choice, the social evenings provide an oasis of calm in the otherwise fairly turbulent life of a transgendered person.
Many people have to hide their preferences from their wives, families, workmates and society in general, for the very real fear of discovery, ridicule and harassment. Wherever possible, we encourage the wives and partners to attend our functions - it makes an enjoyable social evening for both parties and helps to break down the extra stress related to functioning as a transgendered person in everyday life.
For a very minimal admission charge we provide refreshments and hold regular events to raise funds to keep the Boston Belles financially viable. We also provide changing facilities for members who are unable to change at home as well as a free totally confidential support service for all our members and their families who may have problems connected to their transgenderism.
Boston Belles committee members
It is a totally confidential service, and everything is treated with the utmost discretion, it works on the basis of "a trouble shared is a trouble halved".
This support service is available to members of the transgendered community, their partners, wives and families by e-mail, telephone and of course, face to face meetings as and when requested. The knowledge that we exist is often one of the greatest comforts to many of our community, just knowing that we are there for them if they need support. We also provide benefits to the community at large, we are active on many committees and projects, with the aim of providing a voice for the transgendered community for many of the statutory and voluntary organisations that require or need input from us. We try to ensure that the voice of our community is heard and is not overlooked, as well as trying to inform others about who we are, what we do and how we fit into the community at large.
We are represented on both local & county led initiatives such as the Boston Area Partnership Groups, the countywide LGBT forum where we are the founders of the Lincolnshire Kaleidoscope, a network & forum of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered community in Lincolnshire.
We also have support protocols in place with three of Her Majesties Prisons, so that inmates who are transgendered have some support available to them, within the rules of the prisons estate.
We are aware that their are a great number of transgendered people who are so very scared to admit that they have the feelings of a transgendered person, for fear of repercussions in the workplace or at home, but the day will come when those feelings will need some release, and we continue to work hard to ensure that we are there for people who need our support.
last updated: 05/03/2009 at 16:59