Welcome, October. Welcome, Black History Month, we hear you #ShareTheMic. Welcome, Halloween. With 90 days left of the calendar year, we thought we’d take a much needed pause on this day, before the rest of 2020 blinks itself away. What happened in the UK on 2 October as the years have passed?
The Royal Navy’s first submarine (HM submarine Torpedo Boat No 1) was launched at Barrow-in-Furness in north west England. The submarine was built by Vickers-Armstrongs Limited, a British engineering conglomerate. On that date, she dived for the first time in an enclosed basin, by 1902 two more were completed, the Holland boat and HMS Hazard (their tender boat) made up the First Submarine Flotilla.
Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published by Frederick Warne & Co in London, after several publishers’ rejections. Potter knew exactly how she wanted her book to look, so after these rejections she published it herself (December 1901) but then a year later, Fredewick Warne & Co came around and published it exactly as it was. If you needed a little inspo towards not taking no for an answer, that was it. Go get ‘em.
Playwright and literary critic Graham Greene was born. His most notable works were Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair. He famously said and believed that “childhood is the credit balance of the novelist.” Read that again, and soak up the subtle beauty in that statement.
The first rugby football match was played at Twickenham between England’s local rivalries, the Harlequins and Richmond. Quins won 14-0, in case you were wondering. The land where the stadium was built used to be allotments that were used for growing fruit and vegetables, including cabbages, and so was given the nickname ‘the Cabbage Patch’.
Scottish born engineer John Logie Baird successfully transmitted the first television picture with a grayscale image: the head of a ventriloquist’s dummy nicknamed Stooky Bill in a 30-line vertically scanned image, at five pictures per second.
During the second World War, the British cruiser Curacao collided with the RMS Queen Mary, a former luxury liner then troopship known as the ‘Grey Ghost’, off the coast of Donegal and sank, taking 338 lives. The Queen Mary liner continued its course after slicing the Curacao in half, as it was policy to not stop for survivors to avoid further endangerment.
A photograph of William Pettit, wanted for murder, was shown on UK’s BBC TV at the request of the police. This was the first time in Britain that television (thanks Baird) was used to help find a wanted man.
Sheila Thorns from Birmingham, gave birth to four boys and two girls. Six babies. This was hailed as the first recorded case of live sextuplets in Britain. Ouch. On the same day in 1996, Mandy Allwood sadly lost the last five of the octuplets she had been expecting after a 19 week pregnancy.
Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair warned the Taliban that it would be the target of military action unless it gave up Osama bin Laden and must now brace for attack and surrender. Bin Laden was later killed in Pakistan on 2 May 2011, by US Navy SEALs.
11 days into fall. International Day of Non-Violence and also World Smile Day!
Last weekend, London held it’s first-ever Trans+ Pride, and it was both a protest against discrimination and the lack of basic human rights of trans folks, and a celebration of the community, its achievements, resilience, and hard work. The event was organised by trans activist and entrepreneur Lucia Blayke and turned out to be a great success.
“It’s a big job and to be honest, I have absolutely no experience or resources” joked Blayke while speaking to Screen Shot. Lucia was overwhelmed with the responses and said the best part for her was helping trans people “feel so much stronger and comfortable in themselves,” by bringing the community together. Screen Shot also spoke to London-based model, trans activist, and fashion queen Olivia Nutton, aka @glam_clam, who also attended Trans+ Pride, and said that the event helped her feel a “sense of community and how together everyone was.”
It is poignant that London, considered the 4th most LGBTQ+ friendly city in the world, only held its first trans pride in 2019. It certainly feels overdue, but this also serves as a strong reminder that there is still a long journey ahead of us before we reach full inclusivity. Sadly, all members of the trans community experience discrimination, prejudice, and harassment in one form or another, which is why Trans+ Pride is so monumentally important.
It is a march for healthcare, social housing, education, workplace employment laws, representation, trans refugees, and “it is a definite long list,” says Nutton. All of these are still lacking in the U.K., something that is evident in the scarcity of GPs trained in transgender health issues, the long waiting lists for appointments at gender identity clinics (there are only seven of those in the whole of England), as well as the fear of transgender refugees of being deported back to their countries of origin, where they risk their lives for being who they are.
The idea behind the Trans+ Pride was partly a response to the hijacking of Pride in London in 2018 by a group of anti-trans campaigners, when the organisers of Pride failed to remove protesters from Get The L Out, a TERF lesbian group advocating against transgenderism. Blayke says that “trans people are not being included as much and are being invalidated for the way they express their gender, even within the LGBT community.” Transgender people are actively excluded from what is supposed to be their own community, so it is only natural that they would have to go and form their own—which is what Blayke did when she created Trans+ Pride.
The thing is, Pride didn’t just become more exclusionary of members of the trans community, but has also been criticised for becoming commercial and corporate, and as Nutton says, “it just turned into a party where straight people get drunk and don’t really do anything else.” Yes, it is nice to see people want to come and show their support as allies; in some ways, it is also nice to see big corporations try and take a step into the right direction. But what do companies like Barclays or Deloitte really do for LGBTQ+ communities while marching in Pride, apart from taking space away from those who need visibility most? Where are the actual companies by LGBTQ+ members who are working towards improving the lives of marginalised communities?
Essentially, these spaces have been taken away from those who are less represented, which is why Blayke made it her duty to not only bring them back but create a Pride that is “A lot less pink-washed and a lot less corporate, letting trans people be in the spotlight.” Blayke has already started planning Trans+ Pride 2020, hoping it will only get bigger and better, but dodging big corporations and sponsors in order to avoid it turning commercial. “It is a community for people to fall back on and a support system for trans people to use,” and that is what she hopes to keep it as.
So, until 2020, remember to celebrate the community and advocate for inclusivity every day, “call out transphobia in your daily lives,” and be kind to one another.