Meet Tommy

When Fanni from Thinkover asked me to be part of a project for Pride, I felt very humbled. After talking about our backgrounds and parents’ views of the world, and how they differ from our own, we discussed our aims, ambitions and hopes for our individual passions.

There are a few events in the calendar that brings up passion more than Pride and Pride month. As a Transgender man, fronting a two-piece alt rock band, I feel it important to be open and accessible for people who have questions and who might need to ask advice.

I have transitioned not only from Female to Male, but also from all the things that being a female in music for more than 10 years brings. Sleazy old men shouting, “get your tits out” to me and my friends and feeling they have the right to do so. The sound guys and other bands dismissing you immediately for standing on stage with a guitar before hearing a note. The promoters who don’t want a ‘novelty act’ so refuse to book you. Men in general think that because you are playing music on stage, you are open to being touched and talked to as if you were some object of entertainment not a person. Those experiences do not disappear with my transition. Instead, now I find I have to deal with older men telling me what should I be doing or playing, or what equipment would be better and talking to me like a child. Not comparable.

My band now gets offered shows we never would have before. What I have discovered is that I feel I have more responsibility for calling out those men and enabling others to do the same. It is not acceptable, it is not welcomed to be discriminative. Musicians, artists, promoters and venues all across Nottingham work together, the ones who don’t, we call out. I think this is why we have the best scene in the world. It’s almost like we never had help from the government so we are all learning to do our own things with as little bother as possible. Community.

I was worried for a long time about how or if I would be accepted back into the punk / alt rock community and I thought I might never play again. I was lucky that my good friend Medina Rekic allowed me to jump on stage and play a song with her band at Rock City, that I decided I would try not matter what. I was worried for nothing … Headcheck, I’m Not From London, along with my friends and other bands, some new, some old, all accepted me and it was the best decision I ever made.

There are still people who feel uncomfortable at shows even just watching bands. I’m really happy with how this kind of behaviour is being stamped out. We are living in a time with a big political change and I think everyone can feel I, it’s almost like there is a taste of a revolution in the air.

It’s not as you would think either, it’s a new way to do things, working together, learning, listening to people you don’t know, who you wouldn’t typically have spoken to, or helped or tried to understand. It’s breaking down unspoken fears that turn out to be unfounded. Our city is becoming more and more a movement of how to do things better and not only in music, but in everything. Art, fashion, vegan café’s, the promoters, the venues, people are doing their own beautiful passion fuelled projects and all are welcome! Nottingham is proud every day of the week.

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