Capita offers employees a paid day every year to volunteer for causes close to their hearts, Cass' being Trans Pride in Brighton. It is the first Trans-led Pride event outside of North America and currently the largest Trans Pride in Europe

The event started in 2013, with the organisers thinking 300 people attending would make it a successful event. They got 1,000. Since then, the event has grown year on year, with about 30,000 people attending last year’s 10th anniversary.

Using my skills for good

I’ve been a part of Trans Pride Brighton since 2018, when I joined the team and offered to use my graphic design skills to work on the branding for the charity. I was incredibly proud to be able to design the t-shirt and even prouder to see people wearing it.

I’d been volunteering with Trans Pride for some years before, using my work volunteer days every year to do what I could. That often meant driving committee members around the city the day before the event to collect everything needed for it or walking around with a bucket on the day collecting cash donations.

Behind the scenes

I joined the organising committee in 2019, when I discovered just how much work it takes to put on the event and how many gazebos are essential to a pride! It still amazes me that just nine people can pull together to create this wonderful day. I was standing on the stage as the crowds poured into the park – that first year will forever stay with me.

The huge effort is always worth it, knowing how much it means for the community, with people coming to the city from across Europe every year, and touching stories of Trans joy from community feedback really bring home it’s importance. One year, a woman in her 60s, who had driven down from the far north of Scotland told me that it was the happiest day of her life.

Challenges along the way

There have been different challenges to the event, and it has often felt like an impossible task. Since I’ve been a trustee, we’ve had two years of having to put on a virtual event due to covid lockdowns and then last year a storm forced us to cancel, as a storm warning was in place for Brighton seafront. The decision was made on the Friday night, before 30,000 people were due to descend on Brighton. And of course, alongside that, money is always tight, and we depend on donations from the community to allow us to do everything that we do.

Looking to the future

Despite all the challenges, we’re expanding what we do as a charity. In the last few years, we opened the first trans-owned community space in the UK, The Trans Pride Centre on St James Street. That’s now our office. We let trans groups use the space for free and during the winter months we run a space for people in the community to find warmth and food. We also have LGBT+ homeless outreach from the centre and are looking at how we can find the space to create a homeless shelter for trans youth.

Our goal for the future of the charity is to do more for the community, more than just putting on a party once a year. Being a trustee and helping to steer this wonderful charity is a challenge, but one I can’t seem to walk away from.

There are few things I’ve done in my life, that have made me prouder than being part of the team that makes this wonderful event happen. I’ve found some of my closest friends from being part of it and love the team like family.

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