I can’t believe that it’s almost the end of 2016, it still feels like we only just entered 2016 yesterday, I guess time flies when you’re having fun?. This year has been one of the most eye opening, emotional, hectic and overall amazing year of my life & I’m thankful for everyone that has entered my life, Left my life, every event I’ve been a part of, Every charity I have worked with and every little bit of happiness that I have felt this year.
This year I got to travel an awful lot to different parts of the UK. I went to London 3/4 times a month for various events. In January I got to be a part of the Being Me Campaign which you can read more about Here. Other events that I went into London for was an interview with BBC Radio One, Seeing Of Mice And Men live, Fixers feeling happy with my gender fix event, BBC Three filming & Several others. I also got to go to Glasgow to meet one of my longest best friends Kirsten, I got to meet my best friend Alice in London & I met my best friend Abbie in London too.
Meeting New People –
2016 has been the biggest year of meeting new people, making new friends and creating some fantastic contacts! Some of those people that I have met this year are now my closest friends ever, and I am so thankful that I met them because I simply don’t know where I’d be this year. Friends are the family that you choose!
As well as meeting new people I sadly lost a friend of mine in November. Throughout my whole life I have known anyone to pass away until Nat passed away so life has been a weird journey in the last month or so. I met Nat when we we’re in the same college, we met each other through some other friends and somehow, we got on like a house on fire. We’d always chat about different things, we’d have heart to hearts & I was always there for her, the same as she was always there for me. I know, for a fact that Nat is up there having a party, it just sucks knowing that I won’t randomly bump into her in town and chat for ages, so Rest In Peace Nat!
BBC Radio 1 –
In March I received one of the weirdest phone calls of my life, It was BBC Radio One asking if i’d go down there for an interview about my volunteering with #Iwill, which turned out that Iwill had emailed me before hand to ask me if i’d like to take part in their one million hours campaign as they found my story interesting, so I thought I’d take the opportunity as it was too amazing to miss.
On the 23rd of April I travelled down to London to stay in a hotel overnight so I could make my interview at 7:45am! The person interviewing me was Olly Alexander from Years & Years. Being shown around the BBC building, sitting waiting for an interview and being actually interviewed by a world wide Mental health / LGBT+ Campaigner made me so nervous, as it was such a surreal moment. From that day on Olly has been backing all of my projects and my blog.
To view the interview click here.
Pride Cymru –
During 2016 being Pride Cymru’s Young Person Champion has been amazing. From volunteering at the Lucy Spraggan concert in April, to creating a Transgender Day Of Awareness video with Billy-Joe Newington, Our Youth Conference in October and finally Pride Week.
It has been a hectic year with the Pride Cymru Youth Team but it has been an amazing, funny and emotional journey, and next year we will be full of many more adventures and ideas!
Pride In London –
One of my biggest goals during 2016 was to go to London Pride as I heard an awful lot of positive comments about it so I was determined to get there. On the day of Pride it was eventful, I woke up late, missed my bus but that didn’t stop me from getting there, 2 hours later, a child train ticket I got there. Amy and myself volunteered on the day, we carried the flags in the parade and we met some awesome friends whilst doing it. The crowds were fantastic and I felt so overwhelmed. Pride In London was amazing!!
Reading Festival –
This year I attended my first festival, and wow, it was eventful. Walking through the heat with bags, breathing in dust and weed wasn’t a good mixture, oh and being slightly overweight really killed me. But other than those reading festival was fantastic, Myself and Zoe saw some really amazing bands, Twenty One Pilots, The 1975, Imagine Dragons and loads of other bands smashed the weekend!
My only piece of advice for anybody going to their first concert is DO NOT WEAR BRAND NEW SHOES FOR THE WHOLE WEEKEND, my feet are still poor to this day 😦
In January I was on the verge of leaving college and working in a dead end job, which could off been a nasty cycle for most of my life. Education has never been one of my strong points, I struggled badly in high school and I had no idea on what I was doing in college, I’d never go to school or college which made a dramatic effect on my education.
A week after finishing college for the summer I decided to apply for university, I knew that there was a 0.01% chance of me getting an offer due to my poor grades in college and not having GCSE English, but I kept positive and hoped for the best. I had an unconditional offer from University Trinity Of Saint David, Swansea to do a HND in Public Services.
In September I moved to Swansea to start my new chapter in life, I was scared, nervous, anxious and worried in case university wasn’t for me. After doing Public Services for a month I knew that it wasn’t for me, I either had to stick through it till the end, or move back home, But instead I changed my course. Six weeks into teaching I changed my course to psychology and counselling and I have never felt so settled into education before in my life, somehow this course is suited to me, and I’m so happy that I changed courses!.
Moving to Swansea, to start a fresh life, move away from my family & friends, having to adapt to change has made me learn an awful lot about myself. I don’t like busy places, I like to be alone for most of the time, I’m such an unhealthy eater, but most of all? I have realised that this is the most happiest I have ever been in years, this is the most comfortable I have felt in a while and I feel like I have the most supportive friends and family by my side! PS, I also ended up in hospital due to an extremely bad attempt of slip & slide, slip and slide is usually done on wet grass, as there is less injury and its smoother. But sadly as a student we decided to use a ton of water, washing up liquid and a hard concrete floor which resulted in me falling straight on my shoulder, being in agony for days and an x-ray in hospital thankfully I only bruised the bone!
In October I decided to shave my hair off for charity, and that charity was THT (The Terrance Higgins Trust). THT is at the forefront of the fight against HIV and improving the nations sexual health. On the First of December it was World Aids Day so I thought that would be the best occasion to do it. On the day I felt super excited, as it was another big step that I took to help others. It was one of the most painful experiences I have ever endured but by the end of it I managed to raise just under £300 which was more than I anticipated for my first ever charity fundraiser!
Iris Prize Awards –
For the second year in a row myself and members of Pride Cymru’s Youth Council were asked to be a part of the Iris Prize Youth Jury. This year we had to choose 5 of the best films out of 12, which was one of the hardest decisions, and the biggest discussions and disagreements we have had to make as a team. In the end we all agreed on the top five choices, in the Pride Cymru Youth Conference each individual who attended got to vote for two of their favourite films and that decided the overall winner.
Diana Award –
In March I travelled to Birmingham to collect my Diana Award, You can read more about it here.
These last 12 months have bee the longest, weirdest, happiest, craziest, emotional and overall exciting year that I have ever experienced. My campaigning took off on some amazing levels, I got published in my local newspapers / online websites which outreached to thousands of people, I was on BBC Radio 1 at lunch time in April, I spoke in front of 12,000+ people, I won an award, I presented at different events, I met so many amazing people and I have received an awful lot of comments on young LGBT+ individuals who have found that sharing my own personal story has helped them.
This year has made me happy. This year has made me smile. This year has made me strong. This year has made me be honest.
Every year I post a bucket list for that year, but for 2017 I have decided to change my mind, why not take risks? Why not do what I want to do in the moment? Why base my year on some goals?. In 2017 all I want is happiness, health & to help at least one person and hopefully keep my campaigning going.
I hope your 2017 is wonderful too, Happy New Year Everybody x