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PCC Attends Purple Heart Event on Transgender Day of Remembrance


PCC with Mark Blythe, of DISC and local transgender service user, Cauley Jefferson

A successful partnership project, based in Middlesbrough, celebrated the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Friday 20th November, with the planting of a heart shaped floral tribute made up of purple tulip bulbs.

The event was attended by Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger.

The DISC (Developing Initiatives Supporting Communities ) LGBT project teamed up with MyPlace and Platform Middlesbrough to raise awareness of the issues faced by young people aged 15 – 25yrs old who are transgender or transitioning and currently access services in and around the Middlebrough area.

Commissioner Coppinger, said: “We know that many members of the trans community experience discrimination on a regular basis. Events such as this send a message out to the whole community that young transgender people will be supported and discrimination will not be tolerated.

“We’re proud of our diverse culture in Cleveland and the police will continue to deal sensitively and robustly with any issues raised”.

Mark Blythe, Senior Practitioner at DISC’s LGBT Service in Middlesbrough, which delivers the Platform Middlesbrough project, is looking forward to seeing the tulips next Spring.

He said “The blossoming flowers will be a sign of hope. The work Platform Middlesbrough and the DISC LGBT team are doing with transgender service users and their families is providing hope to people who continue to be discriminated against in their everyday lives”.

Supported by the commissioner, B&Q, Teesside University and Teesside Positive Action Ltd, the event is just one of hundreds happening across the world with the aim of bringing the plight of transgender people and their families to the attention of their local community and to celebrate the diverse nature of the communities in which we live.

The local celebrations form part of a month-long Diversity Awareness campaign delivered by DISC to highlight all forms of diversity in the communities where it works, including a visit to a Hindu Temple, an over 50’s Roadshow, Children in Need sponsorship events and a sporting challenge at Durham County Cricket Club.

Mr Blythe explained the transgender community was represented by the colour purple, and it was decided to use purple tulips to represent lives lost through violence against someone who is transgender. The growing tulips would also represent life continuing to flourish in spite of hardship. They were planted by Platform Middlesbrough service users in the MySpace Middlesbrough garden on North Street and should appear next Spring.

The service offers one-to-one support, peer support groups, training and awareness raising. To make a referral or for more information, please call to speak to a member of the team on 01325 731 160.


Posted on Monday 23rd November 2015
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