“Love & acceptance for all!” chanted young people involved with MAP as 10,000 onlookers lined the city’s streets to watch the Norwich Pride march on July 27th – also marking the 50th year of the Stonewall Riots. Young people that use MAP’s services, Youth Advisory Board (YAB) members, MAP’s EVOLVE group and members of staff, were proud to be amongst the parade, carrying 30m banners & waving to the crowds; helping to turn Norwich into a rainbow.
Norwich Pride is a celebration from the LGBTQ+ community for everyone. MAP has been involved in Norwich Pride from the beginning and we offer support services for young people who are trans, non-binary or questioning their gender. We also provide advice and information on transition, trans sexual health, sex and relationships, name changes, discrimination, education and employment.
Our monthly Evolve group is for transgender, intersex, genderqueer and gender-questioning young people. It provides a safe space for young people to meet and discuss trans issues and also to just hang out in a trans friendly environment, where people are respectful, understanding and friendly.
Our mission is to ensure that all young people feel safe and proud to be themselves.
In addition to the celebrations, this year MAP’s LGBTQ+ group ‘EVOLVE’ produced an emotive film and booklet ‘Understanding and Respecting Differences’ – drawing upon the real experiences of Norfolk’s trans youth, to raise awareness about the diversity of experiences and needs of those within transgender communities.
The film and booklet were very well received with really positive feedback: “What has stayed with me (from PRIDE) was the Evolve film I saw at the Forum, put together by MAP, with the project being led by the young people they support”
“It was gripping, informative, shocking, moving, hopeful, inspirational”
MAP hopes that peers, family and members of the public will come to an understanding that forming positive relationships means seeing the person as a whole first and foremost, and gender identification as just one aspect of us as people.
The booklet accompanies videos soon to be available via our website, which provides a more in-depth look at the issues discussed.
Jen Alexander, Gender Identity Practitioner and facilitator of the EVOLVE groups, points out that: ‘The views and experiences expressed in this booklet are an invaluable resource; they may be used by teachers to facilitate discussion and create lesson plans; health services, local authorities and other organisations may incorporate them into Equality and Diversity training and take the experiences of our contributors into consideration when developing their products and services’.