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3 minutes with - Lee Clatworthy from Sparkle

Published: 02 July 2018 Tags: Lee Clatworthy, Sparkle By John Walding

This week we catch up with Lee Clatworthy, Interim Vice Chair of Sparkle - The National Transgender Charity

What has been your proudest achievement as a Trustee of Sparkle?

Last year I invited the new Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to speak to everyone about his commitment to trans equality, acceptance, and his support for the reform of the Gender Recognition Act. This year, I've persuaded Marks & Spencer to have a considerable presence in the park. As well as proving the Marks & Spencer brand to be more inclusive and progressive than most people think, it's great to have them offering their Fit & Style and bra-fitting services to our visitors. They'll also be wanting to talk to trans men about the possibility of manufacturing and selling binders on the high street - which is a huge step forward!

What is the biggest challenge of organising something like Sparkle?

The Sparkle team are all volunteers. We all have 9-to-5 lives and organise the world's largest celebration of gender diversity in our spare time - which means fitting in hundreds of meetings with our infrastructure company Noisebox, planning for the Sparkle Ball, liaising with our corporate partners, and so on. I'm also juggling a Masters course in marketing, so that's added pressure. Obviously we all see the organisation of the Sparkle Weekend as a huge responsibility, and deeply humbling, especially when we receive the feedback from visitors each year telling us how they chose the Sparkle Weekend to come out, or how it's the only time of the year that they feel safe enough to express their authentic selves.

Can you tell us a little about what people can look forward to at Sparkle this year?

We have two days of fantastic talent on the Sparkle in the Park stage. About 95% of our entertainment this year identifies as either trans or non-binary, and it's great to give unknown and unrecognised talent from the trans community a platform. There'll be the annual Mr, Miss and Miss Golden Sparkle contests, and the second year of the Sparkle Music Awards, and we have a bit of a trans masculine takeover on the Sunday. We realise that trans men have historically felt excluded from our event, so we're inviting in some businesses and brands that can help trans men present as their best selves, and hopefully help aid their confidence and self-assurance. The Family Zone will also be back to offer support and advice to the families and carers of young trans and gender diverse people.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Please give a little love to the Sparkle Trustees and volunteers if you get the chance - Sparkle can't shine without them! Delivering the Sparkle Weekend takes over our lives for about 9 months of the year and, sometimes, I don't think people realise the hard work and dedication that goes into organising the largest free-to-attend celebration of gender diversity in the world. We also have an exhibition launching at the Central Library four weeks after the Sparkle Weekend, of compelling photographic portraits of trans women taken by local photographer Allie Crew, who's an amazing artist and a terrific trans ally.

Where can people go if they want more information on Sparkle 2018?

Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or go to www.sparkle.org.uk