New website for TAGSwim!


This info is from the About page on the new website which you can find at

TAGS are a provider of body positive spaces for transgender and non-binary identified people for those aged 16 and above unless accompanied by an adult.

As a marginlised community it is extremely difficult for us to access public sports facilities. As a community we have been on the brunt of much negativity and sensationalised press coverage, feeding on negative stereotypes. It is difficult for many trans people to access something as simple as a public swimming space. This can be because of the fear of getting to the pool. The fear of being misgendered, ridiculed and even being physically attacked.

Since our first session in October 2014 in Lewisham we have averaged 10-15 swimmers  every week and we are hoping to increase that number with further marketing and expansion.

Our vision for the future is two things –

A TAGS swimming sign in every pool in the UK.

A fully funded space where the transgender community can get support, meet up safely, and work to break down the barriers of negativity that still exist.

We also are developing by hosting new events. Early in 2015 we added a weekly yoga session on a Wednesday evening in Greenwich. We were recently in Birmingham on 11th October which attracted swimmers from all over the Midlands. We are hoping to expand to other parts of the UK.

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Met Police LGBT Survey

This is a message from Owen Pyle who is the LGBT Liaison Officer for Hackney. He is asking if anyone would like to input into the development of a survey to capture hate crime information in London. Please contact him directly if you would like to get involved.

Good afternoon,
I am Owen Pyle, the LGBT Liaison Coordinator for Hackney borough police in the Metropolitan Police Service. I have worked in the police service for 4 years and have been involved LGBT work throughout that time, for three years in Newham and in Hackney since the summer.
The reason I am emailing is because I am hoping put together and run an anonymous survey capturing the experiences of the LGBT community in reporting hate crime in London, their interactions with the police and the support they have been offered (if any) by borough LGBT Liaison Officers. The intention is to use the results of this, combined with any anecdotal personal experiences that the community may wish to share, to feed back within the MPS and share among Liaison Officers to enhance the way we support victims of LGBT hate crime. It isn’t intended to be an opportunity to take some learning from the experiences of the community that we may otherwise not get, and capture information London-wide as opposed to just locally, borough-by-borough as has been done previously.
While I am hoping to lead this, I believe it important to bring in the thoughts & views of partner agencies, hence why I am emailing you. I have emailed you because I know you are an LGBT organisation that works in London, or have some involvement in LGBT engagement or outreach work. If this is no longer the case, please do accept my apologies & if possible, please could you pass this email onto the person now involved. Some of you I have worked with and spoken to before, others not.
I am aware that Stonewall puts together the Hate Crime Survey on a regular basis, most recently in 2013. My aim is not for this to overlap or to tread on anyone’s toes, but for it to complement the work that Stonewall does, with a focus on how the MPS can improve the LGBT Liaison that we do and how Liaison Officers function. I’m hoping any results we get will also be of use for developing partnership work between the MPS & third party reporting and other LGBT organisations within London.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any thoughts or comments on what you think may be of use to capture, or if you have any guidance or advice in running something similar. I am hoping to be in a position to release the survey in January of next year, so a few weeks. I am happy to discuss anything further either by phone or email. Please also feel free to forward this email on to anyone you think may be interested.
Kind regards
Owen Pyle PS 39GD
Police Sergeant Springfield Safer Neighbourhood Team
Stoke Newington Police Station
33 Stoke Newington High Street
London, N16 8DS
t: 0208 721 2925
Follow me on Twitter: @MPSSpringfield
Hackney LGBT Liaison Coordinator


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CQC Inspections of GICs

Care Quality Commission (CQC) Inspections of Gender Identity Services

This message is from Lucy Hamer who is the Public Engagement Manager at the CQC and may be of interest to anyone who has contact with Charing Cross GIC or the Tavistock.
In January 2016, the Care Quality Commission are undertaking two inspections of Gender Identity Services and would welcome feedback from people who are currently using their services or who have used their services in the last year. 
In the week beginning 18th January 2016, we will be visiting the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic  run by West London Mental Health NHS Trust to carry out a focused inspection with a particular emphasis on patient experience and in the week beginning 25th January 2016, we are visiting the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust as a part of their comprehensive inspection and will be collecting feedback between now and for two weeks after the inspection dates. 
If you would like to give feedback or input into these inspections, including arranging to speak with a member of the inspection team or giving feedback in any other way please contact 03000 616161 or email with the following references – for Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic INS1-2206743716 and for Gender Identity Development Service SPL1-2272488966. Information shared as a part of this inspection will be confidential and no names will be used in the report or in feeding information back to the provider services.
Lucy Hamer
Public engagement manager
Strategy and Intelligence
Care Quality Commission
07795 548551 or 0207 448 9230
Please note I work part time. If you need to speak to someone more urgently please email  or contact my colleagues or


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Transgender Rights Have Transformed Thanks To Amazing Brits Like These

Sarah-Ann Harris at The Huffington Post has written a great article about nine trans people and the work they are doing which means that transgender rights have transformed in recent years. Have a look here for the complete article:

The article includes pieces on people who work for two of our member organisations: Jay Stewart of Gendered Intelligence and Roberta Francis of TAGS.

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Trans Day of Remembrance 2015

Trans Day of Remembrance 2015Friday, November 20th November  marked the 2015 celebration of Trans Day of Remembrance, also called TDOR, for short.

The event was held at City University, in the Centenary, with kind help from their LGBT society, as well as staff, who together helped run the event and book rooms. This year’s organising committee was led by Sahra and ably assisted by Martha, who has run previous events.

This year combined both an inter-faith spiritual event, organised chiefly by Surat of Twilight People, with the main secular remembrance event, in which the names were read out, as is traditional at each year’s event.

The inter-faith event featured Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Pagan leaders, each taking the participants through readings or meditation practices to help remember those lost. At the centre of the ceremony was a remembrance table, draped in the trans flag and bordered by flowers, on which participants could leave items of remembrance for those they were trying to remember, in general for all trans people lost this year or to give thanks for surviving another year.

The main event took place half an hour later, with the intervening time reserved for trans films or for people to use the safe space room.

The main event was kicked off to a packed auditorium by Mzz Kim singing to the assembled throng, followed by a keynote address by Sophie Labelle, author of the web comic Assigned Male and addresses by Jael and Sahra.

This was then followed by the reading of the names and the lighting of the candles (see picture), plus the lighting of the large candle to commemorate those we don’t know about this year.

This was followed by a reading by a mother, in which she talked about losing her child to suicide, before being brought to a close by some upbeat rapping.

TransLondon would like to help all those who helped make this event possible this year.

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Open Barbers London – new venue and crowdfunder

Open BarberThe search is over… We have found an accessible venue to run Open Barbers in for the next 5 years! It’s almost a dream come true, but we do need to fundraise at least £25,000, 75% of the renovation costs to get it off the ground.

Please DONATE!:

By donating, you buy our amazing rewards including a chance to meet Kate Bornstein, spread the word and let’s show everyone that affordable, queer and trans friendly initiatives, where your gender is yours to decide, is a model for the future!

Open Barbers announce Pop-Up in Kennington Lane

Open Barbers are delighted to announce that we are moving to a new location from 1st November 2015 for up to 3 months. Our new temporary venue will be the former 40 year old barbershop Finishing Touch, located at 147 Kennington Lane, London, SE11 4HQ.

Our salon will operate some new opening hours listed below, and will continue to offer a community space for clients and visitors. Our social space will nestle in the Finishing Touch shop front, which sells literature and artwork including published works by some of Open Barbers’ existing clients.

Finishing Touch is a ‘pop-up’ bookshop (Luminous Books), gallery and project space based in the old barbershop. It is a collaborative project between Louisa Bailey and Joyce Cronin and will host the Open Barbers salon. Finishing Touch will programme a series of events, screenings, exhibitions and performances, inviting artists to work in the spirit of the ‘salon’ and all of its definitions – as a site for hair and beauty, as a gathering to share and exchange knowledge and as an exhibition space.

Open Barbers will continue to offer 75 appointments, 7 days a week with Felix, Greygory and Richard working a slightly new timetable which can be booked using our usual booking bug system through our website.
Mon – Tue: 2-9pm, Wed – Thur: 12-5pm, Fri: 12-7pm, Sat: 10am-7pm, Sun: 12-7pm

The entrance to 147 Kennington Lane is accessible by step or temporary ramp. The step is 15cm / 6in high and the front doors are 110cm / 3ft 8in wide. The space is level access inside throughout. There is a level access toilet that is not wheelchair accessible. There is 1 disabled access parking space directly outside the shop. More information on transport links is available on our website. Open Barbers are prioritising wheelchair accessible entrance and the installation of accessible toilet facilities as part of the search for a permanent location.

After nearly 2 years subletting a room at the back of Chaps and Dames salon, Finsbury Park, Open Barbers are ready to move a new venue to expand their business in size and ambition. This pop-up location provides Open Barbers with a dynamic stepping stone until we move into more permanent premises in 2016. For further updates on Open Barbers’ long term location follow us on social media sites or check our website.
Facebook / Twitter @OpenBarbers / Instagram @openbarbers / Tumblr

Greygory and Felix are dedicated to creating a comfortable space for clients to linger, chat, meet others and share ideas, and through this social and hospitable approach they have built a network of talented people across London who now have shared connections through the salon. This is one of the main reasons I keep coming back to Open Barbers!
– Eva Rowson, Open Barbers client, Curator and Artist

We are so grateful for all the support Chaps and Dames have offered to get our social enterprise off the ground, and we are very excited about what the future holds. Our collaboration with Luminous Books represents a new direction combining our salon and pop-up history. It creates a new kind of space for the multi-disciplinary nature of our salon and complements the diverse talents among our client base. We aim to continue building enthusiasm and momentum for our project to propel us into a new long term location where we can really grow in scale and ambition.
– Greygory Vass, Co- Founder of Open Barbers

The location of the new premises can’t yet be disclosed, but we are delighted that it will be accessible, affordable and well located with a 5 year lease.

We have quotes from building professionals, we will be installing an accessible toilet, building a private space for discrete haircuts and welcoming collaborations with other entrepreneurs to build a much needed queer and trans friendly social space.

If all goes to plan we will open our new space in Spring 2016!

We’re also excited to be expanding the team by welcoming the wonderful Solomon for 4 dates in December, and more dates beyond! Solomon brings skills which widens our range of services, including more styling for long hair and / or Afro textured hair.

You can book an appointment with Solomon through our website or email us to request a consultation.

Why not read Solomon’s personal introduction to you or have a look at his gallery of his hairstyles?

Top image, Middle image: Copyright © Open Barbers 2015, All rights reserved.
Bottom image: Copyright © Solomon Paramour 2015, All rights reserved.

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