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It was a windy morning at 7.30 on a Saturday in mid July that myself and Brandy, the TL make up artist , rocked up at Warrior Gardens in Southend to assemble the Transliving magazine gazebo and stand at Southend Pride. There was a good deal of interest all day and we took every photo opportunity we could, including when the mayor came and saw us. There were a surprising amount of roleplay people turning up, including a whole pack of dogs with full head masks and tails. I did keep an eye on them as I didn't want them cocking a leg up against the gazebo! We had our own Transliving vixen Zoe on our stand, who I reminded to take care when crossing the roads.

We gave out many back issues of the magazine in our colourful bags , so that potential new subscribers could see what they were missing out on. The Eastbourne and Bournemouth events did seem to interest a few of the people who came to the stand , so hopefully we will be seeing some new faces.

At 5.30 , the audience was waning , so we took down the stall , which thankfully being weighted down, did not suffer the same fate as a flimsier gazebo near us which was blown over the back fence!

All in all, a long day, but hopefully a successful one .

Whilst volunteering on the stall at Southend pride, I had the opportunity to interact with many different people. But was it worth all the time and effort involved in going? Yes! Absolutely.

Although our target audience was fewer in number there were still people to reach. Some people were allies, some wanted to know who they could direct people needing help to, some were in male mode, some were trans/CD and others were just curious about who we were.

It is also a good way to show how it's possible to interact and be active in the community and it was good to see a trans woman performing on stage too. This all goes to show that it's not just a case of trying to survive as a trans/CD person, but that it's possible to thrive as one.

For me pride is part celebration, part a way to reach out to people who need us and part of a way to win the hearts of the public, as it's public support which ultimately decides our freedoms and safety

Jessica, Miss Transliving 2023

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