Why we need a Trans Fundraiser - Q&A with Jules Guaitamacchi by Kaleido Shoots

We recently took part as the official photographers for the first trans surgery fundraiser in the UK, Beyond at Marlborough Pub and Theatre in Brighton.

According to Pink News, the NHS is finding it more and more challenging to cope with the high demand of services at gender identity clinics, patients are having to face long waiting lists for treatments and appointments. Because of the duration of the wait many transgender patients have to go through difficult times of stress, anxiety and low self-esteem.

Beyond Trans Surgery Fundraiser was created from the desire to help the trans community and raise money in order for the transition to be smoother and faster. The event was such an empowering experience with a long list of performers and musicians all supporting the event and offering their time and energy for the community. Part of the talented performers and artists, we can mention Ali Hannon. Samo Arts, Juno Dawson, Sebastian Causton, Mèfi, Finch, Chuck SJ, Aiofe Strange, Khanyisa Joy, Dj Lizzo, Jumeau + the Drag Show: hosted by Fruit Performer with performers Alfie Ordinary, Rococo Chanel, Dick Day, Psychofag and Velvet Thunder.

After this successful first event, we had the pleasure to ask the organiser Jules Guaitamacchi a few questions:

Photos from the first Beyond event at Marly

How did Beyond Transgender Surgery Fundraiser idea come about?

As a community event the idea came about due to the experience of several of our event organisers. With hugely under resourced services in the United Kingdom trans people face enormous adversities when attempting to access support services, often waiting years before receiving an initial assessment. This process can impact enormously on an individual’s psychological health and well-being. With a sense of urgency it isn’t uncommon for trans people to attempt to facilitate their own medical transition, self medicating with hormones and raising surgery costs through online fundraisers. The aim of Beyond is to help with the struggle and raise money for individuals who need financial support for their transition in whatever capacity that may be.

What was your biggest achievement from the first official Beyond event at Marly?

We even discovered that guests travelled across the country to attend the launch. The popularity of the night alone speaks volumes to us. Beyond is not only the first regular trans fundraising event in the UK but it is also the first regular trans focused event in Brighton (other than the yearly Trans Pride). For a first-time event we saw hundreds of LGBTQ+ people come through the door, the Theatre Drag Show was sold out, the main venue was ram packed and we raised close to a thousand pounds towards surgery, fundraising through art sales, ticket sales and a huge raffle that included prizes donated by local restaurants, shops, supermarkets, club nights and Theatres etc. all supporting the cause.

What is your motivational advice for your fellow transgender friends saving up for the surgery?

Speaking to many people we realised that sometimes people feel as though they are not worthy of asking for financial aid. We want to assure anyone that everyone should have the right to become their true self. Fundraising is no easy task, especially when trying to raise thousands for private surgery. There are people out there that want to support the cause, Beyond aims to be a network for that to happen. If you find yourself struggling don’t do it alone! Ask for help…Also feel free get in touch with Beyond!

Where is Beyond going next?

The next few events will be held at Beyond’s birthplace The Marlborough Pub & Theatre. That’s not to say that we won’t aim to branch out to different venues and locations. We’d like Beyond to begin to grow and develop into an event that will have a bigger outreach! First Brighton next the world.

Join us for the next Beyond event taking place on the 23rd of March at Marlborough Pub and Theatre for even more live music, drag performances, poetry, DJ’s including KUCHENGA, Jordan Gray, Pascale, Flick, Dj Lizzo, Ali Hannon, Jumeau. Fruit, Max Legroom, Oliver Assets, Daphne, Gem The Clown. Plus some very special guests!