Support groups help transgender people in East Lancashire

Tara Lane, and (inset) Tara as Edgar before her transition

Tara Lane, and (inset) Tara as Edgar before her transition

First published in News Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

FOLLOWING the tragic death of Accrington teacher Lucy Meadows, a support group was set up to help transgender people and their families from across Lancashire. Reporter Hannah Al-Othman spoke to Tara Lane who helped set up the group.

FOR someone making the decision to live the rest of their life as the opposite sex, the world can become a lonely place.

Teacher Lucy Meadows, who was known as Nathan Upton, left a letter saying she had ‘simply had enough of living’.

The 32-year-old, who taught at St Mary Magdalen’s C of E Primary School, in Accrington, thanked friends and colleagues for their support.

Tara Lane is the founder of En Senne in Colne, named after the term given to a transgender person dressing as the opposite gender.

She said she hoped the group would provide much-needed support. She said: “There is little specialist support available until you get accepted by the [gender reassignment] clinic, so this offers interim support, somewhere you can go for advice.

“Lucy was in exactly the position of the people I want to help. She felt very alone and couldn’t see a way out. It may not have made a huge difference but she may not have felt so alone when she made that decision.”

En Senne meets on Fridays, noon to 2pm at Open Door in Colne, and the group is open to anyone affected by gender reassignment.

Friends, family and spouses are welcome, as are people unsure whether they want to live as a different gender.

Tara, who was Duncan Edgar before her transition, said: “We want to raise awareness. People think it’s all sexual or a little perverted and don’t understand that it’s not just a lifestyle choice. It’s who we are on the inside.”

Anyone who wants to join the group is welcome to just turn up, and there is a discreet entrance. Tara said: “It’s just a friendly little group where you can leave your cares at the door.”

Blackburn also has a transgender support group called Cygnets2Swans, which meets in the Jarman Centre, James Street, and was attended by Lucy Meadows.

While founding member Nikki Weston said members found Lucy’s death very difficult, she hopes others will find comfort and support by attending.

Nikki said: “Lucy was one of our members and her death was real blow to us. It might be all smiles on the outside, but nobody knows your innermost thoughts. The group is still mourning for her.”

Cygnets2Swans meets from 6.30pm to 9pm on the fourth Thursday of the month and is open to anyone looking for support pre, during or post their transition.

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