I met you in the middle of your panic attack on the 10pm train from Nottingham city centre. You had been to Pride but you had been violently attacked towards the end because of your gender.
You don’t know me, but I did sit next to you on the train home on Saturday night and tried my best to comfort you whilst you had a panic attack. Emphasis on the ‘tried’, I’m not very good at emotional stuff but the women who were with us did a spectacular job, but I still hope my presence was somehow comforting.
The 10pm train on a Saturday night is another world itself, a terrible world that I try to avoid if possible. But I had missed the previous train and I went into the situation planning on plugging myself into my iPod and drowning out all the drunk people for the next half an hour until I reached my home town.
But instead I met you, and I’m so glad I did even though it was because of such awful circumstances.
Saturday 29th July was Nottingham Pride – an event for the LGBTQ+ community celebrate who they are and not feel ashamed about it. From my experience, the LGBT+ community is for the most part wonderful and inclusive. You had attended to celebrate being transgender and you told me that you had a great time until it was ruined at the end.
There are very few words to describe how angry and sad it made me to watch you cry and panic in the middle of this god-awful train filled with loud people who have lost all sense of social ettiqute because of alcohol.
It made so angry for you that your experience at Pride had been ruined. These people had entered a safe space for the LGBT+ community and attacked someone as they were celebrating. That is never okay.
With the US President announcing that transgender people are no longer allowed to serve in the army, now is the time to defend transgender rights more than ever. This is not the United States but clearly transphobia exists within the UK.
I am not transgender. I was born into a gender I feel comfortable with expressing and I can never understand what it feels like, but I can try to empathise and listen to your words.
I hadn’t been able to go to Pride, but if I had I would have used it to celebrate who I am and celebrate the achievements of LGBT+ community as a whole. Pride is not a place for people to attack us and I am disgusted by anyone who thinks it is. They used this celebration as an opportunity to spread hate and pain.
Unfortunately that hate was targeted at you, Jasper. After eight attacks in two years you’re probably feeling frustrated at the world, and at the injustice it seems to be giving you. I told you this on the train and I don’t think you believed me, but I do have every faith things will get better.
Saturday night was an awful night, but I’m one of those annoyingly positive people that has to hope for the better because if not what is the point?
Jasper, you are only 17, and as patronising as this sounds, you are so young. You have such a long life to lead, and at the age of 17 you are living life how you want to. I’m still 20 and I’m still trying to find out who I am and which social pressures have shaped me into living a life I’m still not completely comfortable with.
The fact that you went to pride and you are being honest with yourself and others around you is amazing and incredible.
To anyone who has been emotionally or violently abused for being who you are, please use the negative experiences to push you forward. Don’t let them take you down. That’s what these people want and we cannot afford to let them win.
Despite the current political leaders, I do believe the world is becoming more liberal and accepting.
Although what you experienced on Saturday night was terrible and horrendous, there are more people than not who will accept you for who you are. The people on the train were so loud and pushy, but I guarantee most of the people you encountered wanted to help and look after you. There was just too many of them for it to feel like a positive and warm environment.
I doubt we’ll ever cross paths again and I further doubt that you will even read this, but I know that I will remember the train journey with you for a long time. I hope that you are happy and that you are proud of yourself because you 100% should be. Life is tough, and it seems even harder for you right now but I hope you believe some of my words when I say everything will get better.
I was a girl on the 10pm train that tried to comfort you in the middle a nightmare. You are a boy that deserves so much better in life and who has impacted my existence more than I can ever explain here. I hope your pain gets better, and, for the last time:
Things will improve.
Please believe that.