Fox Fisher was born in London, but moved to Brighton for his second year at university in the early noughties. He loved the city so much he ended up staying. “It was a mecca of LGBT people and it felt very safe to be here. I love the sea as well, so it made a lot of sense,” he says.
A man of many talents, Fox says he’s mostly a filmmaker, working with MyGenderation on documentary films. Alongside Gendered Intelligence he set up a trans acting course, and is even doing the odd spot of acting himself with his first role playing a gay trans man in a Radio 4 adaptation of Tales of the City, the Armistead Maupin series of books about San Francisco. As well as consulting on the EastEnders script for the character of Kyle Slater, played by trans male actor Riley Carter Millington, he’s also written a kids book with Sarah Savage called Are You A Boy or Are You A Girl? In between all that he’s also a screen printer and designer for books and logos, and works closely with the Trans Pride Brighton committee to stage the ever-growing event that celebrates it’s biggest event yet in July.
Tell us about Trans Pride.
We weren’t sure how big it was going to be, or what it was going to be like. In our first year we had a film night on the Friday and on the Saturday a park event that was attended by somewhere between 500 and 1000 people. It was very heartfelt and lovely. Every year we’ve expanded by a substantial increase. We’ve grown out of two parks and we’re onto our third, Brunswick Park on the seafront.
It’s attended by lots of people, not just from Brighton but those who often live in the middle of nowhere, or who have families who are really supportive and join them there. There’s a lot of love on the air. On the Saturday now we do a march. Last year was overwhelmingly huge, even if it was just a short march. But this year I think we’re going along the seafront from pier to pier. On the Sunday we have a picnic on the beach, which is weather permitting, obviously.
Who organises it?
There’s about six to eight core committee members. Four of us have been there from the first year. My involvement is the design for the flyers, t-shirts. I’m quite happy making things pretty. I also do the film night as well.
We’re very reliant on volunteers on and around the festival. We probably need about sixty, maybe a little more. From being on the march to direct people where to go to giving out wrist bands. It’s a free event but we want to make sure people are there for the right reason. We’ve had people in the past who didn’t know about Trans Pride and were just there to have a party, and obviously they aren’t welcome if they are going to be pushy and shovey and throwing beer cans around.
Did you have any difficulty staging it?
The first year took a lot of convincing that we really needed to have this. I remember when I was handing out flyers to local gay places I could tell they didn’t really understand what we were doing, what we were there for. Now people know a bit more about Trans Pride it’s a staple on the calendar.
Was there any negativity?
The Argus, which is our local newspaper, did a write-up about the first year and the headline was ‘The Return of Doggy Pride’, which was an event for people with dogs who are excited to have dogs, and the last three paragraphs was about Trans Pride. We complained about that and the next day we had a double page spread about our event.
What about reactions from the community?
People in the streets seem very supportive, from tweets or those just standing and being counted it’s been really important for us. Nobody’s ever thrown anything or been negative. This year we have Carnival Collective playing drums, which is great to give it a more party feel.
How does it get financed?
It’s completely by donations and grant maintained. We apply for different pots of money every year. It’s a bit of nightmare as somebody that wants to give us money one year, won’t necessarily give us money the next. We need about £6000 to put the event on, and that’s with people doing lots and lots of favours. Nobody gets paid for it, it’s completely volunteer run. It’s also very good for trans people and their CVs, because unemployment for trans people can be quite high. There’s so many ways to get involved, from organising market stalls to putting on art events.
What do you see are the biggest trans issues out there?
I think at the moment it’s the rise of the trans man, and also non-binary people. I also identify as non-binary, but it’s more a political thing. I just think the grey area does exist, and I think a lot of people can somehow get their heads around transitioning in a binary way from male to female and female to male, but non-binary people are getting a lot of hassle because there’s a lot of misunderstanding.
interviewed exclusively for Brighton Pride by Attitude magazine.