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First non-binary BBC presenter launches Validation Station for trans people stuck at home during coronavirus lockdown

Vic Parsons March 25, 2020
Validation Station: New service for trans people at home during lockdown

Radio host Jacob Edward made history last Christmas as the first non-binary presenter on BBC Radio 1

Radio host Jacob Edward, who made history last Christmas as the first non-binary presenter on BBC Radio 1, has launched a service for trans people stuck at home during coronavirus lockdown.

Many trans people will be isolated in homes where their names and pronouns aren’t respected.

The Validation Station is “a daily feel good message” for the trans community, Edward told PinkNews.

“My hope at least is that it reminds trans people that even if they’re stuck in unsupportive homes/environments right now due to the coronavirus, that they are still themselves and their name and pronouns are still theirs!” they added.

A text-messaging service that sends a dose of daily positivity to trans and non-binary people, the Validation Station uses the recipients name and pronouns to help trans people’s mental wellbeing during this difficult time.

Consistently using the correct name and pronouns for trans people can reduce their rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts to almost the same levels as their cisgender counterparts.

LGBT+ people are already more vulnerable to coronavirus for three significant reasons: as a community, we’re more likely to smoke; we have higher rates of cancer and HIV; and we’re less likely to seek medical care when we’re sick.

For trans folk, these and other inequalities in society mean we’re more vulnerable during a global health crisis – and less likely to be able to access help.

And for those living with friends or family who don’t respect their identity, this issue is only magnified.

Edward said they got the idea for the Validation Station after seeing a trans person they follow on Twitter say that being on lockdown means they’re stuck at home being misgendered and deadnamed for three weeks.

“I basically tweeted that I wanted to make something to make that a little bit easier but that I have no skills to make something like it… then came along people with actual skills, mainly KC @LaCrecerelle, (with help from the amazing @_PHZN AND @GRACEHRST) and she took the ideas from our DMs and started coding overnight and by the morning it was semi done, then I designed some graphics and we decided to launch it on Gaydio that evening!” Edward said.

“The way it works is people sign up at validationstation.net and then every day they will get a text message which uses their name (and sometimes their pronouns) with something positive in, like saying they’re great, or that they’ve got this!

“In texts with friends, pronouns and names don’t always come up, it’s not like letters where you start off by saying DEAR SO AND SO… which is why this will hopefully keep spirits up during these scary times.”

While Edward says they haven’t yet discussed how they’ll keep coming up with ideas for the positive messages, they promised that they will.

“I’ll probs just message KC at 2am with a bunch I wrote while screaming into the void,” they said.

Trans and non-binary people can sign up to the Validation Station here.

More: Coronavirus, Coronavirus lockdown, jacob edward, positive trans stories, the validation station, trans rights

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