All About Trans is an On Road project that is involved in positively changing how the media understands and portrays trans people.
On Road is a not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership with minority communities to solve social problems using the web and the media. They have been working with the trans community since 2011. The All About Trans project looks at creative ways to encourage greater understanding between trans people and media professionals to support better, more sensitive representation in the UK media. The project aims to help the community speak out against the prejudice they may experience and to increase the likelihood of them continuing to support and build a movement towards fair treatment and greater understanding of their community amongst media professionals and the general public.
On Road’s work with the trans community is focused on encouraging greater understanding and building positive relationships. In phase 1 (2011 – 2012) of All About Trans, (previously known as Trans Media Action), they worked with the organisation Trans Media Watch to devise ways to improve media professionals’ understanding of trans people, encouraging them to find out more and to create more sensitive portrayals of trans people in their work.
In 2012, On Road ran Trans Camp at Channel 4. Trans Camp was a 1-day social innovation camp for innovators, developers, entrepreneurs, designers, media professionals and trans people from all walks of life. The aim was to come up with ideas to improve media coverage and awareness of trans people in the UK. A team of trans people, actors, comedians and key BBC comedy commissioning executives came up with the idea for the Trans Comedy Scriptwriter’s Award. This idea came to fruition, with support from the BBC Writers Room, and the Trans Comedy Award led to two scripts involving trans characters to be developed. One, ‘Boy Meets Girl’, written by Elliott Kerrigan was made into a pilot by Tiger Aspect and was recently showcased at the Salford Comedy Festival.
Phase 2 (2013 – 2014) focuses on connecting media professionals with the trans community across the UK, using the web, digital storytelling and local face-to-face meetups with support from Channel 4, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, BBC and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Patchwork and Interactions
All About Trans is currently made up of two elements; Patchwork Digital Storytelling Project and The Interactions. Patchwork is a collection of digital media stories from trans people across the country to show the diversity and variety of stories to be told with and about the trans community. All these stories are produced in creative ways by trans contributors, focusing on two themes; “Support” and “Celebrations”. You can watch the videos and listen to the podcasts created so far on You Tube and Audio Boo.
The Interactions and Youth-led Interactions are about building positive and progressive relationships between trans people and the media. An interaction is a method for engagement developed by On Road. It is a unique, safe, informal, social meet-up between trans people and media professionals designed to encourage greater understanding, giving participants a chance to get to know each other in a setting of their choice and at their convenience. Each interaction is designed so media professionals meet trans people with common interests and interactions can take place in locations like the aquarium, a local restaurant, nearby café or the office.
To date (May 2014), volunteers have carried out interactions with nearly 90 media professionals from the Daily Mail, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Observer, LBC 97.3FM, Closer Magazine, Press Association, Press Complaints Commission, BBC Comedy, Drama and Talent, BBC Radio 1, BBC Commissioning, BBC Editorial Policy, BBC Complaints, BBC News Online, Channel 4 News, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, The Herald Glasgow, The Dorset Echo, BBC Cambridgeshire, BBC Wales, The Argus, UKTV, independent production companies and more…
Advisory Group 2013 and 2014 (Patchwork and Youth-led Interactions)
All About Trans continues to work closely with the trans community, receiving advice and guidance from organisations and individuals at every step of the process. The Advisory Group is made up of the following people:
- Ayla Holdom, Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant
- Jay Stewart, Co-founder, Gendered Intelligence
- Jennie Kermode, Trans Media Watch
- Paris Lees, journalist, activist, Editor-at-Large for Attitude magazine
- Raphael Fox, My Genderation, Lucky Tooth Productions
- Samantha Smallcombe, Grants Assistant, Paul Hamlyn Foundation
- Sarah Lennox, author and activist
- Shelagh Sheldrick, Mermaids
- Ian Critchley, BBC Head of Creative Resources
- Yvonne Roberts, Chief Leader Writer, The Observer
- Alana Avery, Project Manager, On Road
- J Tebble, Project Assistant, On Road
- Nathalie McDermott, Director, On Road
Paris Lees, journalist and All About Trans ambassador explains the work: