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The Importance of Supporting Trans People of Color

To mark WorkPride and Pride Month, Sabah Choudrey, Founder of Trans Pride Brighton and myGwork member, talks about the importance of supporting trans people of color, as well as why they wrote a book on the very topic.

Hi Sabah, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Sabah, my pronouns are they/he. I’m a trans, queer Muslim living in Hounslow, West London. I have a decade of experience in trans youth work, LGBTQ+/POC/faith community work, a background in Psychotherapy, and a passion for writing and cats. When it comes to my identity, many parts are not fixed and I’ve come to love that about myself; my gender is fluid, my sexuality is fluid, my faith is fluid. My understanding of myself is continually evolving and my position in the world is constantly changing. 


Sabah Choudrey, author of Supporting Trans People of Colour Image credit: Saima Khalid

Can you share your career journey to date?


I’m described as a reluctant activist on most things trans, brown and hairy. I founded Trans Pride Brighton in 2013 and made The Rainbow List in 2015, celebrating 101 of the most influential LGBT people in Britain. I have built a presence across UK and Europe, speaking at TEDx Brixton, ILGA Europe, IDAHOT Brussels, Malmö Pride about intersectionality, identity and inclusion. I have been a proud trans youth worker for 10 years, previously Senior Youth Work Practitioner at Gendered Intelligence and currently Director of Colours Youth Network supporting LGBTQ+ POC young people in UK and Director for Middlesex Pride. I am a trustee for Inclusive Mosque Initiative. I’m also an experienced Psychotherapist and Artist Wellbeing and Care Practitioner supporting LGBTQ+ theatre, winner of the Gay Times Future Fighters Honour and the National Advisor for LGBT Health Award. 

Can you share what led you to found Trans Pride Brighton?

One day in a coffee shop opposite St Peter’s Church, I was sitting with a few trans friends and their friends, sipping soya lattes and mint teas. We were tired and we were desperate. Brighton Pride was around the corner and we were running out of energy. We were tired of being constantly excluded and tokenised. We were tired of just being the T in LGBTQ. We were tired of coming last, being an after-thought, being spoken over.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

It was 2013 and the idea of a small group of visible trans people walking up North Street with a few banners, grey sky, wind blowing, seagulls teasing was terrifying. But it was absolutely necessary that we redefined and celebrated our pride. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

So then, well we started shouting. We founded Trans Pride Brighton right there and then. It wasn’t perfect but it changed everything for me simply because it happened. We actually made it happen. And now, it’s approaching it’s 11th year, inspiring Trans Pride events and marches across the UK.  This is a love story for our trans and non-binary community. Like many others, it begins with heartache, desperation and longing. We all long to be recognized, understood and above all we just want to be together. All those ways in which we hurt and feel alone light a path to find each other and build a safe and proud community. And it goes on and on, this love story never ends. 

Can you tell us a bit about your latest book and why you wrote it?

My activism is what I suppose led me to writing this book. I call myself a ‘reluctant activist’ because I was reluctantly pulled in to create spaces and building community because I needed it. Desperation so often drives the work of LGBTQ+ people of colour. We’re desperate for support, safety and validation so we do it ourselves from the ground up. I needed to not be the only trans person of colour (TPOC) in the room so I started explaining what needs to change and how others can help. I don’t want TPOC to be constantly asked about what cis or white people can do to help them, we are so often put in the position of educating or explaining – expending our energy to those who aren’t always able to reciprocate when we need to put our energy to the various crises and drawbacks our communities face across mental health, welfare, housing, immigration, employment, healthcare and safety. I don’t want cis or white people to ask ‘what we can do’ to us first, but to themselves first. 

Can you provide a short synopsis of the book and some key takeaways?

This book goes back to the beginning. It starts where we start, with our history, the forces that have shaped it, and those that continue to do so. It follows 8 sections. In Section 1, I cover identity and intersectionality, terminology, language, the power of language, touching on history and useage. Inclusive practice starts with the individual, diving into shame and privilege because that’s where true change starts; with us. In Section 2-4 I explore creating and holding safe(r) spaces and putting this into practice. Section 5-8 takes you through celebrating TPOC communities, and real examples of inclusion and exclusion that we can all learn from. 

This book is for anyone for works with people. Whether you are a business, work in social care or education or events, in the charity sector or starting your own community or support group, you will be interacting with people, which means you’ll be interacting with us too! TPOC are a part of so many communities, not just LGBTQ, we exist everywhere. Just because we aren’t in those spaces, doesn’t mean we don’t need them. This book is a guide on how you can make sure your services and spaces are safe and accessible for TPOC and why inclusive practice matters. This book is a personal celebration of how incredible our TPOC communities are.

I hope that someone can pick this up and no matter what their background or intentions are that they can take something from this, that we, trans people of colour, are a community and we matter. Our voices are here in words, art, poetry and quotes. You can’t ignore us or overlook us – this book exists because we do.


What’s your message for Pride Month this year?

If there’s one message I’d like to share during Pride month it would be to really take the time to understand solidarity and what that looks like within our LGBTQ+ community but also across to other communities, such as POC, faith and disabled communities. Solidarity needs to exist within these communities as well as between them. Think about LGBTQ+ and all the intersections within. Consider class and how it is woven through culture, language, access, dis/ability - do not forget these intersections. 

Solidarity is not a yes or a no; it's not a tick box. Solidarity does not stay still, it is a movement and moves itself, it reacts, changes, and connects to whatever a community needs. Solidarity asks, “What can I do?” and does it. Then, asks again. 




Sabah Choudrey, Founder of Trans Pride Brighton, and author of 'Supporting Trans People of Colour: How To Make Your Practice Inclusive', will be taking part in WorkPride’s panel on Creating Inclusive Workplaces for People of Ethnically Diverse Backgrounds on June 20 at 1pm BST. Click here to register for free, and here to find out more about WorkPride 2024.


Sabah’s book, 'Supporting Trans People of Colour: How To Make Your Practice Inclusive' is out now, and available to order from the UK through this link, and the US on this link.



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