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Alice Purnell OBE is an important contributor to the development of the trans community in Britain.

She was involved in founding the Beaumont Society in the 1960's; founded the Gender Trust in 1990; and instituted a groundbreaking series of biennial conferences bringing trans people and clinicians together that same year.

In this extended interview, on her 70th birthday, Alice speaks openly about her own childhood; the experiences which moulded her approach towards community support; and those pivotal developments in which she had a leading role.

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Paris Lees appeared in an earlier edition of Just Plain Sense about the signing of a Memorandum on trans people at Channel 4. Even then she was probably not all that well known outside of a small circle, having only moved to London the previous year. These days she is rapidly emerging as a rising star.

She has quickly established herself as an art reviewer and commentator on issues of diversity. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian and the Independent, in Attitude magazine, and in Pink News. She has regular columns in Gay Times and Diva. She has appeared on Radio One and BBC TV ... and acted as a consultant on several programmes about trans people. Most notably, she launched a unique magazine, META, earlier this year.

Paris recently won the title 'LGBT Role Model' at the National Diversity Awards. This interview was recorded with her the following morning whilst she was still getting used to the recognition.

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A couple of years ago, in March 2009, I recorded a Podcast interview with my own Father, Leslie Burns. I'm glad I did so because, just ten months later, he passed away.

After his death I found a neatly typed manuscript which he had hoped to get published, about a big event in his life that had occurred only weeks before the end of the war.

The story was never taken up by any editors. I'm sure that would have disappointed him. So, instead, I'm providing the opportunity for it to be heard.

Bookends

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In this episode I've been into the archives to retrieve two presentations by myself and the well-known US trans personality Kate Bornstein in June 2007, as we shared the stage opening the UK's first "Transfabulous" conference.

You can read a report about that whole conference here

Kate and I were the 'bookends' to an introductory session, in which the facilitators of each of the day's four workstreams described what they aimed to cover. We both set out in our different ways to set the mood...

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July 16th will mark the thirtieth anniversary of a campaign supporting what became known as the 'Bradford Twelve'.

On that day in 1981 a dozen young Asian men from the United Black Youth League were arrested in dawn raids across the city and charged with conspiracy to make explosives and to cause explosions.

The case was set against a backdrop of racist attacks on black and asian communities in Britain, which the Police had done little to address.

The defendants asserted that "Self defence is NO offence" and the hearing of their case lifted the lid on racism in Britain at that time.

Shahnaz Ali was a teenage girl at the time and was very much involved in the United Black Youth League in Bradford. She was taken for questioning and came close to being charged with conspiracy herself.

Now a senior public sector official, Shahnaz looks back on those events with me, and describes what it was like to almost become the thirteenth defendant.

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On the evening of Monday 14th March 2011 the organisation Trans Media Watch collaborated with Channel 4 TV to launch a new Memorandum of Understanding to an audience of media people, politicians and trans people.

The goal of the memorandum is to help eliminate discrimination relating to trans people in all media by setting out goals that all the parties can aspire towards. Channel 4 were the first organisation to subscribe to the principles.

The MOU doesn't call for censorship but aims instead to give media organisations the tools they need to address endemic problems.

Trans Media Watch say they are guided by the basic principle that they wish to see transgender people and issues treated with accuracy, dignity and respect.

Just Plain Sense was there to capture the atmosphere of the event, including speeches by Minister for Equalities, Lynne Featherstone MP, Stuart Cosgrove from Channel 4 and reactions from the audience.

Listen to the show online with the player below or click one of the options on the right to download into your favourite music player or feed reader. You can also read more background on the Just Plain Sense Blog

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Professor Joan Roughgarden is no ordinary biologist - and no ordinary trans woman either - though there are quite a few high academic achievers within the world wide community of gender variant, transgender and transsexual people.

Joan is perhaps best known for her 2004 book “Evolution’s Rainbow” - an academic work, written in a language accessible to the public. In it she challenges Darwin’s theory of Sexual Selection.

Her subsequent book, “Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist”, published in 2006, showed that her willingness to take on controversial subjects was, if anything, stronger and more confident ... despite the inevitable way in which her critics responded to the first.

This interview was originally recorded for another channel in the summer of 2007, but hasn't been aired on Just Plain Sense before. In the course of conversation Joan reveals an unexpected debt of gratitude to former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and talks about her biologist's view of sexual orientation.

Note that this show features a new, alternative, signature tune that I'm trying out. I'd appreciate listeners' feedback on whether you like it or prefer the traditional one. The theme is "New Ways of Seeing", composed and performed by Richard Harvey in 1978

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I’ve covered a lot about crime in various forms over nearly three years of these Podcasts. A lot has been said about hatred directed towards Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans People. We’ve also covered domestic violence, which is mostly directed towards women.

None of these subjects are pleasant. Yet the hatred which seems the hardest to understand is that which is directed towards disabled people and those with Mental Health problems or Learning Difficulties.

The question why people behave so awfully in the first place tends to be brushed aside. And it’s clear that the unease that society as a whole has in this area is perhaps the elephant in the room.

In this episode I talk to Karen Machin, a campaigner in this field. She and her colleagues work to raise awareness about disability hate crime and how to report it.

She also works with the ‘Time to Change’ campaign, educating people about Mental Illness and she’s been involved in setting up the ‘ROLE Network’ - which is open to anyone who has experienced or supported someone through these kinds of distress or mental health issues.

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What do you think about minority groups like transgender people? Unless you actually know someone in person, have you ever questioned where your beliefs and opinions come from? Chances are, like most people, what you believe and think can be traced back to what you've gleaned from media coverage.

The issue of media representation is nothing new. Study the history of any minority which has struggled for equality and you'll generally find that such issues have been of concern to those who were engaged bringing about social change.

Juliet Jacques is a transsexual writer and journalist who has thought a lot about these questions in her own context. She is writing a groundbreaking fortnightly column for the Guardian newspaper, documenting her own transition. She is therefore ideally placed to offer some perspectives on how the communication problems arise, and how to address them.

Since this show was recorded Juliet has blogged some more detailed thoughts about some of the topics we covered. Please also feel free to build on this discussion through the comments below and on her blog

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It feels incredible to reflect that we are coming up to the third Christmas for the Just Plain Sense Podcast. The show has covered so much in the last 80 episodes and I hope to continue for a long time to come.

Usually, as the producer and presenter of these shows, it is my job to ask the questions. With the occasional exception, I try not to be self-indulgent.

The festive season provides an excuse for us all to let our hair down and forget the conventions though. That's why I thought it would be nice to turn the tables and present this recent on-air show where, instead, the questions were coming my way.

Andrew Edwards presents the Saturday Forum on Gaydio -- the Manchester based LGBT FM station that I featured in a recent show. The last half hour of every show features 'the Mix Tape' where a guest selects and talks about four music tracks that mean something special. This was my turn in the hot seat...

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On November 20th or 21st those who care will be coming together in dozens of cities around the world to remember transgender people who have been murdered, often brutally, just because they are different.

The event is held in November each year to honour Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.

This audio tribute is our contribution to those events, recorded with the generous assistance of colleagues and local broadcasters.

To find out more about International Transgender Day of Remembrance and a vigil near you visit the web site: http://www.transgenderdor.org/

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Side two of the 1977 satirical political revue, "The Cuts Show" by CounterAct.

On this side: education and housing cuts; the climate of 'divide and conquer' (my cut's worse than yours); finding scapegoats among immigrant communities; the role of the press; and the capricious nature of investors.

This week Chancellor George Osborne unveils what are expecting to be massive spending cuts. Yet we've been here before...

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This coming week, on the 20th of October, Chancellor George Osborne will be unveiling the results of the Comprehensive Spending Review, and what’s expected to be the most savage cuts ever to public services in England.

In politics, however, things are seldom new. You just need a long enough memory to recall previous booms, cuts and recessions. And, as they say, those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

For that reason this episode features a protest album that was recorded in 1977.

The Cuts Show, by “CounterAct” was a touring review made to educate people .. especially students .. about the public sector cuts being made at that time by James Callaghan’s Labour Government. The show was accompanied by a protest album .. omitting the show’s narrative, but including all the songs.

Listen carefully to the lyrics, because it’s all there .. the need to satisfy financiers, threats to welfare and health spending, education, scapegoating.. and more. The show was produced 33 years ago, yet it could have been today. It even features a nod to David Cameron's 'Big Society'

The performance was recorded at Riverside Recordings and featured Rich Armitage, Will Ashton, John Gill, Ruth Law, Chris Reason, Dave Simmonds, Steve Skinner and Caroline Stephens.

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If you’ve ever visited Manchester City Centre then you may have noticed some small rainbow coloured mosaics set into the pavement here and there. These pick out the landmarks in Manchester’s LGBT Heritage Trail.

In this show I speak to guide Jon Atkin about the background to the trail and then we visit a couple of the landmarks. If you're interested in organising a tour for a group of friends then call the Manchester Tourist Information Line on 0871 222 8223

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