Meet Not A Phase's Dani St James
Describe yourself in 5 words:
Driven, Fun, Passionate, Kind and Loyal
What was it like growing up in Barry Island, Wales? We’d love for you to share with us your journey to discovering who you are.
Hahaha, growing up on Barry Island was a dream, it's strange to say that growing up in a little town in South Wales in the 90’s was progressive, but it was! I was in a school that had gender neutral toilets and uniform, my parents were very liberal and Cardiff was a stones throw away, that was where I started to find my tribe, amongst the queer community in Cardiff. I wouldn't change a thing, home is where the heart is and mine is deep rooted in South Wales.
Tell us about Not A Phase and what led you to start fundraising for trans+ adults.
We set out with one mission, to support the lives of trans adults, this is in a multitude of ways, socially, professionally and financially. We realised at the start of 2020 that more needed to be done and we were tired of waiting around for someone else to do it, so here we are! Now, Not A Phase is a fully established charity, we have so much support for the projects we are currently running and we have so much more in the pipeline that is made possible by our supporters, like the Tatty team!
How does Not A Phase support the Trans+ community and what does the charity invest its donations in?
So we have our Misfits programme, which is all about inner and outer confidence building through fitness, wellness and self defence, we have our safe spaces launching very soon in London and across the rest of the UK, these are friendly environments for adults within the community to meet, make friends and get access to local resources, over time I’d really like to develop some key skill workshops within these as well to help with work prospects.
Alongside this I do a lot of work with big companies on their diversity strategies and internal training. Lastly we have a resource distribution function about to launch, where trans led organisations and projects around the UK can come to us for support in all sorts of ways, financial, material, legal etc.
Where can we learn more about the barriers and issues faced by the Trans+ community?
Gosh, there are so many resources available now, it's fantastic, my advice would be to pull from pages like ours, Mermaids, Gendered Intelligence, 5 for 5, Stonewall etc. We all discuss what's going on in the world. There was a fantastic mini documentary done by Vice recently that was talking about the trans healthcare epidemic in the UK that was presented by Freddie Mcconnell, really recommend checking that out too!
If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?
Nothing changes if nothing changes, you have to make things happen and stop waiting around. Also, stop worrying that it won't work out, I promise you it will.
Other than parading around in our amazing Pride-saur Statement Necklace, what are your plans for the London Pride Parade on 11th September?
We have a tonne of stuff happening, Fat Tony is hosting his annual takeover of Groucho Club in Soho, all the funds raised on the door go to Not A Phase! We'll be transforming the VIP room into a Not A Phase room. People will be able to escape the madness, take photos in our photo booth and have a little chill!
Not only that but we have teamed up with Fat Tony again, this time with the Ministry of Sound team to bring you Ministry of Pride. There will be loads of trans talent on the podiums and a star studded DJ lineup from 11pm to 6am, which is going to be a fab way to end the celebrations!
What is your favourite part of Pride celebrations?
I'm a pride fanatic, I thrive on the energy of it, that's my favourite part, the city just comes alive. I have so many memories of Pride not only in London but around the world, I just can't think of a day that I enjoy as much as pride, not even Christmas.
What exciting future plans do you have for Not A Phase?
Just expanding it, I never wanted Not A Phase to be a London bubble charity, due to the restrictions over the last year it's kind of had to be, but I want it to really reach out to the whole of the UK over the coming years, I want to see Not A Phase become the organisation that gender diverse adults turn to.
Pastel or brights?
Cocktails or shots?
I don't drink so…. Mocktails? Lol
Favourite show to binge watch?
The Handmaid’s Tale or more recently My Unorthodox Life
Who should we follow on Instagram?
NOT A PHASE, DUH! @notaphaseorg