15 December 2014

What has All About Trans achieved so far?

How do we measure the impact of All About Trans? There are lots of ways to monitor progress – what’s working, what isn’t, what’s changing as a result of what we do? Sometimes, there is a big “win”, like the commissioning of a new series or appearances on primetime television as a result of an interaction (an informal, social meet-up between media professionals and trans* volunteers) .

Sometimes, it’s the small things that we look at, the number of follow up emails from journalists who have taken part in an interaction – these moments, this “reaching out”, often signifies a change in behaviour, that in turn leads to better reporting or a trans storyline in a soap, further down the line.

So, we’ve put together an infographic (see below) showing the number of media professionals and trans* volunteers we have worked with on our media interactions since 2011.

This year, we’ve seen an outpouring of support and participation from individuals and organisations all over the UK for our Youth-led Interactions and Patchwork workshops. It’s been fantastic to work with so many people from different backgrounds and ethnicities, with diverse gender identities and interests.

In May, we launched our new website. It now hosts all of the Patchwork stories that were created by trans community groups in a series of 10 digital media workshops in Poole, Glasgow, London, Swansea, and Brighton.

All the podcasts and videos focus on the themes of Support and Celebration, but each one has a different narrative, topic and style. We are also showcasing some of the 25 Patchwork films that have been produced for us by Lucky Tooth Films in collaboration with Channel 4. We’re very excited to say that Channel 4 has commissioned a documentary made from the Patchwork clips, which will be presented by Fox Fisher and Lewis Hancox on Channel 4 in late 2014 / early 2015.

Interaction with UKTV

Interaction with UKTV

Since the very first “Trans Media Action” (previous title for All About Trans) workshop, we’ve worked with 160 media professionals, and held 33 interactions since 2011. This year alone, with support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the BBC, we’ve taken on 55 new volunteers, and over 100 volunteers have been involved in various ways, from consultation to taking part. Alongside January’s first interaction with Emmerdale, we’ve held interactions with UKTV, Hollyoaks, The Cambridge Student, The Dorset Echo, The Argus in Brighton, The SunThe Scotland Herald, BBC soap writers and producersBBC North West, CBBC, and two interactions in Wales with members of the BBC Audience Council and BBC Trust. You can find tweets and feedback from all interactions in our Storify and read about them on the website.

Even though there are still outcomes in the pipeline, we’ve had some great results from the interactions already. Our work with the team from Hollyoaks has seen a new trans storyline, several trans casting workshops seeking new acting talent in the trans community, and Lewis Hancox produced some backstage videos for their Channel 4 website that aim to debunk some trans myths for their audience.

Interaction with BBC Wales Audience Council

Interaction with BBC Wales Audience Council

We supported Dr Kate Stone with her landmark negotiation with six national tabloids earlier in the year. And BBC Two announced their commissioning of the trans-themed comedy sitcom ‘Boy Meets Girl’, which was the winner of the BBC Writersroom Trans Comedy Award, a direct result of our project. We’re expecting to see it on our screens in 2015.

Across the country, young volunteers have been writing in their local papers: ‘Chibi’ Gray from Glasgow is blogging for The Scotland Herald, and Dylan Hayden has written for Voices in The Dorset Echo. From our BBC North West interaction, volunteer Ashleigh, now has regular appearances on BBC Radio Manchester, community activists have spoken on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and BBC Merseyside and Paris Lees has presented three documentaries on BBC Radio 1. In London, our volunteers Jen Kitney and Leng Montgomery got involved with Sky One It was great to see Paris Lees speak on Question Time and Lorraine Kelly  – she was hailed by ITV as ‘the most influential trans woman in the UK’! We can’t mention everything we’ve done in just one blog post, but you can view everything that’s happened throughout our website.

We hope you’ll agree that our work this year, alongside the fantastic work being done by other individuals and organisations, has been wide-reaching and significant, and it couldn’t have been done without the support and enthusiasm of so many. But we’re not done yet! Keep an eye out for details of our upcoming work in 2015 on our website, and register your interest in volunteering with us at info@onroadmedia.org.uk.


Jamie Pallas