The Sparkle Charity: Interview with Lee Clatworthy

by | Mar 18 2021 | LGBT Lawyers Partners

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By Alex Ashcroft
Alex heads up LGBT Lawyers' web design and writes about LGBT legal issues in his spare time. While not part of the LGBT community himself, Alex is an avid supporter of LGBT rights. With interests in politics and connections in Brighton's LGBT music scene, Alex brings another valuable perspective to LGBT life.

Interview LEE CLATWORTHY | Read Time 3-5 Minutes.

The covid-19 pandemic has led to various businesses across the globe suffering financial constraints. One of the hardest-hit industries is the charitable sector. A recent study investigating charities found that 57% could survive no longer than 12 months without government aid.

As a result, the team at LGBT Lawyers feels we must help spread the word about such fantastic LGBT+ charities. Furthermore, by raising awareness of these LGBT+ charities, we hope to ensure that they can continue to provide such valuable support for the members of our community.

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The Sparkle Charity: Interview with Lee Clatworthy

Today is a remarkable day as we got to catch up with Lee Clatworthy. Lee is a key member of the Sparkle charity. Lee gave us some exclusive insights into why he joined the charity and where he hopes to see the charity in the future.

Why did you join the sparkle charity?

It is a long story… I was writing a monthly column in a local LGBTQ+ magazine and I was asked to interview some of Sparkle’s Trustees. After giving them some advice on media, they asked me to help out with press engagement. To me, the bottom line is everyone is an individual and expressing our individual identity is an inalienable human right.

Sparkle was officially founded in 2005, originally as a day to celebrate all things transgender.”

Quote taken from Sparkle Charity Website

Is sparkle still taking on volunteers with covid-19?

The charity is engaged in lots of activities outside of the Sparkle Weekend that can be delivered remotely. Social media, training, advocacy, and lobbying, these are important parts of our work which can be performed anywhere. My desk is the kitchen table!

What do you think the sparkles charity most significant achievement is?

I was extremely proud that one of our projects You Brought Your Own Light, an exhibition of photographic portraits and the stories of trans women and non-binary people by acclaimed photographer Allie Crewe, was able to connect with so many people. Furthermore, the exhibition was shortlisted for a City Life Award, and one of the pieces from the project ,Grace, went on to win a Portrait of Britain prize and was displayed in public spaces across London.

What online strategies do you have in the works for the Sparkle Weekend Celebration?

We will be working on an online showcase of performances by some of our favourite trans and gender non-conforming artists this year which will be streamed via a specially constructed microsite. Moreover, in 2019, the last year we were able to have a physical event, we welcomed over 22,000 visitors across the Sparkle Weekend and, following careful consideration, we thought that it would be unwise and irresponsible to encourage that given current circumstances.

What are the best ways for volunteers to get involved with the Charity?

The best way volunteers can get involved is by giving us a message directly at info@sparkle.org.uk.

What are the best methods volunteers can use to fundraise for the sparkle charity?

Many of our Sparkle family use Facebook to raise money to help the Charity. However, we have also had people run marathons and undertake other physical challenges. One of the best ways you can help is by organising something in the workplace. Furthermore, many trans people feel that they cannot be open about their gender identity at work, so by marking Trans Day of Visibility on March 31st, or the Trans Day of Remembrance in November, you can enable a culture where it is safe to discuss issues around gender diversity while raising money for the Charity.

Moreover, all of Sparkle’s Trustees are volunteers, so 100% of the donations and sponsorships which come into the charity go into delivering our activities and ensuring that the Sparkle Weekend remains free-to-attend and accessible to everyone.

What events do you have planned this year which people may not know about yet?

We will be organising the Manchester Trans Day of Remembrance event in November. It is one of the largest events of it’s kind in the country. Furthermore, even though Manchester is an incredibly diverse and accepting city, it is our duty to mark the deaths of those across the world who are murdered due to their identity.

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What advice, training and support do you offer to businesses, not-for-profit organisations, and the public sector?

Many trans people are not out in the Workplace discriminationYou should always assume that you may employ someone who either does not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth or is questioning their gender. Furthermore, degender the language used in company processes and forms to be inclusive of everyone. You should consider gender neutral toilets, especially in customer/client/service-user accessible areas.

You should have an equality, diversity, and inclusion statement on your website. Also, you should train all your public-facing staff in understanding gender diversity. Furthermore you should also train staff on the challenges trans and gender non-conforming people face. Lastly, put your pronouns in your email signature.

Are people able to get involved and offer suggestions for online strategies which can be used to support the businesses and individuals who rely on the Sparkle weekend?

We are always open to collaboration and looking for ways to make a positive impact on our community’s lives. Recent projects have focused on healthcare and the criminal justice system and employment. Moreover, are all areas where trans people face considerable barriers.

What is an interesting fact people may not know about the sparkle charity?

The Sparkle Weekend welcomes visitors from all other the world, from North America and Canada to Central and South America, Mainland Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Moreover, our American friends tell us that there is nothing like the Sparkle Weekend in the States!

When is the online sparkle live-stream event taking place?

Our live-streamed event will take place on Saturday 10th July. It will feature a fantastic selection of established and up-and-coming trans talent. Furthermore, please follow our Facebook page www.facebook.com/sparkletg for further updates.

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