Gone are the days when human beings were labelled into only two boxes based on their sexuality – females and males. Several governments across the globe have passed legislation to support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) rights, giving them the freedom to be who they are. In 2018 alone, 25 countries recognized same-sex marriages. Sadly, no matter how many legislations are passed for people to choose their sexual preferences, until and unless the societal taboo surrounding the LGBTQ community is broken, the world won’t be a better place to live in.
Activism with a Twist
Many activists across the world are doing their bit to change mindsets of people about how they perceive the LGBTQ community. Meet someone who is leading this battle very, very differently!
Charlie Craggs is a transgender rights’ activist and author. A transgender herself, she decided that instead of taking her battle to the streets, she’d make people sit down over a session of manicure and talk about transgender issues. She runs a campaign across the UK called the ‘Nail Transphobia,’ whereby she travels across the length and breadth of the country with a nail popup salon. The sessions are absolutely free. All people are expected to do in exchange for a free manicure session is to sit down with a transgender and talk.
So How did this Idea Germinate?
When growing up, Craggs found that accepting her sexuality wasn’t easy for people around her. Her transformation to a transgender at 21 made things even tougher. She was harassed by a crowd of 25-30 men in a packed bus stand. Unfortunately, nobody came forward to help her.
Craggs wants to spread a simple message – she wants people to believe that trans people are as much humans as any others. Her objective is not to secure any special rights but to have basic human rights for the community.
Craggs believes that trans-activism with brochures and pamphlets won’t attract much attention. So, she decided to take the road never really discovered by anyone before. Nail Transphobia started as a university project in her final year at the B.A Creative Direction at London College of Fashion in 2013. In spite of the financial obstacles, she has managed to successfully run the project for over half a decade, all thanks to her spirit of keeping the discussion going. Craggs says, “People go away with more than a manicure. They go away with an ally.” She calls this “untraditional activism” “fabulous activism”. And Craggs knows how to do this activism with sass!
THEM (5 years ago): “lol Nail Transphobia is such a dumb idea”
ME (after running Nail Transphobia as my full time job for half a decade, on my way to a meeting at one of the biggest beauty retailers in the country): pic.twitter.com/HYwxq607Cl
— Charlie Craggs (@Charlie_Craggs) September 10, 2018
What’s Going On Currently?
The campaign has been running for over five years now and Craggs has had over 10,000 “conversations.” Her efforts have been lauded. She was awarded the ‘Future Shape Award’ and made it to the ‘New Radical List of British social innovators.’ Also, she has authored the book To My Trans Sisters, which collates essays from 100 fabulous trans women from different walks of life from modelling to politics to music. They speak of lessons and advice that they’d like to impart to others. The idea is to reach a point when one won’t be required to “come out of the closet” when being a trans person and when everyone will have the freedom to choose their sexuality.
Isn’t this an amazing campaign? Do let us know your thoughts!