After two years, the pioneer project “…And Others! Argumentation Training for Transgender Inclusion in Europe” ended with the presentation of the activist toolkit in Edinburgh on 10th September.
The project has been funded by the EU Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Programme. This programme is intended to support learning outside formal settings such as schools or universities. It is especially focused on reaching those people who may have droppped out of education at some early point in life, which is a reality for many trans people.
Trans organisations from Ireland (TENI), Austria (TGEU), the Netherlands (TNN), Germany (TrIQ) and the UK (STA) participated in the two-year project with additional support from diskursiv e.V. and STS (France). In addition to the amazing outcomes, the number of people inspired by this project, and the friendships and networks fostered and developed, have certainly been worth the effort.
When taking on the project we had no idea on how it would evolve, says TGEU co-chair Richard Köhler. “It was amazing seeing people collectively working so hard for such a long time on top of their already heavy, often unpaid, workload.”
Throughout the partnership every organisation had committed to take up the same tasks of hosting a working meeting and organising the exhibition of the audio-visual installation “Serious Game” by Anja Weber (photos) and Sabine Erklentz (sound). Those who attended the 3rd European Transgender Council in Malmö (2010) or the ILGA-Europe Conference in Malta (2009) might well remember the mix of voices and images. In addition, TGEU is proud that the Council of Europe hosted the installation in the entrance area of the Palais d’Europe in the weeks after IDAHOT 2010.
A total success story? Not entirely. First, the UK national agency, responsible for giving out the grants to the UK partner, had deliberately “forgotten” to include transgender in their list of titles of awarded projects, possibly to try not to stir up negative interest. Nonetheless, the UK Daily Mail published an article condemning that EU funds were being spent on improving networking and co-operation amongst transgender organisations, let alone raising awareness for transgender issues. Project partners agreed that there is still a long way to go until equality for all transgender persons is reached and were even more committed to their common goal.
Besides displaying the “Serious Game” installation in five different European locations to approximately 2000 people, the project sparked a workshop, a seminar, a round table with local trans activists and civil servants, and many more additional opportunities for co-operation and finally, the toolkit itself. With five separate sections, the A4-size publication bundles challenges and counter-arguments for transgender equality neatly together. Another bonus is the inclusion of two pages of tips on how to engage with civil servants. “What’s lacking is a united voice and a consistent approach by the trans community”, says a civil servant dealing with trans issues. “It is sometimes difficult for civil servants to follow all the internal debates while trying to figure out what is useful and necessary for trans communities.”
Hard copies of the toolkit can be ordered at the website of TGEU on www.tgeu.org/andothers or simply downloaded as a pdf version.
TGEU and its partners are looking forward to receiving your feedback on the publication.
Another new trans project has been “tapping the funding line”. After the successful first engagement, another European trans project is already underway. “Page One – Trans* and the media” has just been granted funding from the national agencies. Over the next two years, TransInterQueer e.V. as the lead organisation, together with Trans Media Watch (UK), TENI (Ireland), MIT Bologna (Italy) and TGNS (Switzerland) will strive to explore the complex relationship between the media and its role in trans* (re)presentation.
If you have questions or feedback about the “…and others!” project, the GRUNDTVIG Lifelong Learning Programme funding, the argumentation toolkit or if you want to host the audio-visual installation “Serious Game”, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.