Celebrations

The London Trans Festival Just Made Its Triumphant Return

This past weekend, London’s Trans Festival—the first of its kind in the UK—reconvened following a two-year absence. The festival consisted of inspiring panels and a guest speaker list that spanned business owners, authors, activists, and other public figures.

 
 
 
 
 
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Trans Festival was originally founded in 2020 by inclusive makeup brand Jecca Blac. Due to COVID-19 lockdowns, the festival went on hiatus for two years, and the festival’s return on August 13 marked a return for in-person communal gathering in the wake of a harrowing pandemic.

The lineup included activists Juno Dawson and Eva Echo, actors Jake Graf and Reece Lyons, models Kenny Ethan Jones and Dani St James, journalist Freddy McConnell, and fitness influencer Cairo Nevitt. Panel discussions ranged from trans rights in the UK, trans representation in the media, trans healthcare and family planning, and trans business leadership.

 
 
 
 
 
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Shon Faye, author of The Transgender Issue, a bestselling treatise on why transgender rights benefit everyone, read from her upcoming book Love in Exile. Due out in 2025, the book explores the experience of romance from a trans perspective within a heteronormative society.

In a conversation with PinkNews, Faye described what it meant for her to speak to a predominantly trans audience. “A lot of the work around my writing is done at cis events, just because the general public is more likely to be cis,” she said. “I feel more like I have to be an authority for cis people because they just look at you and they’re like, ‘could you explain this to me’, whereas here I was more interested in the questions because it’s more of an interactive experience where people are able to share back.”

 
 
 
 
 
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Dani St James spoke about the launch of her brand Zoah, which provides apparel designed specifically for gender-nonconforming wearers.

“You name a tucking option, I have tried it,” St James told PinkNews. “I’ve done the electrical type, I’ve cut the waistbands off of tights and cut the ends off of socks, I’ve done the gaff, all of it and it’s always painful. I wanted to do something really fab for the swimwear and do something that’s flattering on the body. I took those learning curves from the underwear. All of the details that make my underwear work make the swimwear work.”

The event was sponsored by gender-affirming healthcare provider The London Transgender Clinic, who provided education on private support services available in the absence of accessible NHS care.

In addition to the speakers, audience members were invited to join discussions with panels in Q&As. Stories and questions came from a wide range of attendees that included religious figures, allies, and doctors. All in all, the Trans Festival 2022 made a triumphant return as a bastion of affirmation and a forum for dialogue and education.

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