‘A launchpad for trans performers’: Cardiff celebrates Trans Pride

Trans Pride Cardiff kicks off a four-day festival with a stand-up comedy event, the first of its kind in Cardiff.

Transgender stand-up comedians performed at Stand Up for Trans Pride.

Transgender performers were given a platform and safe space to exhibit their skills at a comedy event, the first of Trans Pride Cardiff’s four day festival to celebrate the community.

While attending several LGBTQ+ Pride events around the UK, Miles Brayford and his partner realised that Cardiff didn’t have an event where the LGBTQ+ community could celebrate transgender performers. With that in mind, he created the festival Trans Pride Cardiff.

Although the festival is popular in other locations such as Brighton, this is the very first time it is being held in Cardiff.

Miles and Nerida are the co-founders of Trans Pride Cardiff.

Brayford said, “I’ve been very lucky, because I’ve had a lot of support, my family is very supportive and my transition was in Scotland, which has better healthcare. I have a lot of friends here who had such different experiences and care than I did, so I wanted to do something that could help.”

The festival, held between 28-31 March, featured ten events, a mixture of lighthearted and educational events designed to raise awareness and create support for members of the transgender community.

The first one, Stand Up for Trans Pride, was held at AJ’s Coffee House on 28 March. The event featured performances from five transgender comedians, three of whom were performing for the very first time. It was co- organised by Trans Pride Cardiff and comedian Payton Quinn, who also performed.

Payton Quinn is the co-organizer of Stand up for Trans Pride, and a stand-up comedian.

Quinn, who has been performing on and off for over four years in Cardiff, had been looking to put on their very own stand-up event, and also an LGBTQ+ night. When they saw that Trans Pride was looking for people to run events for their festivals, it was the right opportunity for them at just the right time.

“Hopefully this event will be a launchpad for trans performers,” Quinn said. “I say this to people all the time, but where a lot of my humour comes from is going to therapy a lot as a child, and feeling uncomfortable being open even to my therapist.”

The comedians performed for enthusiastic audiences, unafraid to include deeply personal matters in their material, such as mental health, stereotypes, sexuality, romance, and the perception of transgender and LGBTQ communities in society.

Rowan McCully is a first-time performer.

Several of the comedians mentioned that humour had been an outlet for them to process some of the things that they had gone through.

Rowan McCully, one of the first-time performers, said, “I didn’t think this was my outlet, until I saw my notes, and realized I had accidentally described my life in the process of being funny. Being trans is who I am, and I can’t change that.”

Leith, another first-time performer, talked about the everyday discrimination he faces.

“Things have been really difficult at my job. I’ve been told to my face that they wouldn’t want to hire me, as the only way a man would let a woman cut his hair is if she was good looking, and I didn’t fit that bill,” said Leith.

The comedians were enthusiastically received by the audiences at AJ’s Coffee house. Occasionally in their career, Quinn has faced some opposition from stand-up comedy organizers, whether it’s not being booked for gigs or being perceived as a “troublemaker.” As a result, this experience motivated them to make this show different.

Leith said, “It was an amazing experience, and really good fun. I wanted to do this event specifically, as I knew it would be okay that I was trans, and I wouldn’t have anyone making weird assumptions about me.”

“I think if you create an environment where it’s safe for trans people to be themselves, then you’re going to get more and more people interested. Comedy is best when people are themselves, and it can only get better with variety.”

A clothing Swap was co-hosted with Ripple Living to give participants the chance to both give and receive a new wardrobe.

The rest of the festival featured events such as a Clothing Swap Shop, co-organised with Ripple Living, the Transgender Walking Project, a support march, workshops on Owning Your Space and Domestic Abuse and Hate Crime Awareness and artistic events such as LGBTQ+ Life Drawings and an open mic.

“If we’d put it on a few years ago, I suppose there would’ve been more need for it, but less enthusiasm to be involved in it,” said Brayford. He says the festival has received overwhelmingly positive responses and that the support for the transgender community is on the rise.

“The performance events are to promote the performers and show that trans people can have other talents and not be defined by anything. The other events are to support people and have visibility for our cause,” said Brayford.

Quinn described the festival as a wonderful platform to give new performers a chance to make their mark and have their voices heard.

“Personally, I think if anyone writes about their experiences, you are inherently bringing a unique perspective to your work. It’s very welcome to hear and see new voices on the scene,” said Quinn.