Introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Alyssa Black, I’m a woman with a trans history that has a variety of different roles:
- I’m the Trans Liaison Officer at Support U (an LGBT Charity covering the Thames Valley with a variety of services), where I run support groups and get involved with activism and awareness
- I’m the LGBT Officer for the Reading branch of the Labour Party, where I help out with local policies around being LGBT and act as the interface to the LGBT Labour community locally
- I’m in a queer burlesque performance troupe called the Reinettes (our last show got a 5 star award from a feminist arts group)
- I also have a day job where I’ve been running my own IT business for far too long and also get involved with tech startups
As you can tell I don’t watch much telly.
At Scarlet Ladies, it is all about sexuality. Tell us a little about yours.
Right now I’m polyamorous, I have one long distance relationship with a lovely lady in Cambridge and a local play partner for kink. I also have a variety of friends within the London kink scene who I hang out with and get up to various hi-jinks with on a regular basis. Been described as ‘sex famous’ and have friends that live vicariously through my stories sometimes (I don’t always kiss and tell, but pass on a few vague tidbits!)
This has only been the past 3 years – before I realised how deep my trans issues went I was struggling to be a regular cisgender heterosexual ‘guy’ who was basically miserable with a mediocre sex life. The transformation in terms of friendship circles, sexual exploration, self confidence and motivation I’ve gone through over the past 4-5 years is incredible. Most people I know now wouldn’t recognise the person I was 5 years ago (not just in physical looks but also in confidence).
The most daring thing I’ve ever done is a tricky challenge – I guess going out as myself and transitioning was the most daring but that’s not very sexual! On that front it’s hard to give an accurate answer. I’ve ticked off quite a few things on my kink bucket list, totally lost count of the number of people I’ve had some kind of sexual interaction with and my phone is full of so many post-play photographs of me and other people it’s insane. For instance I’ve been the girl that came in for a bit of a booty call with a local friend and been told her boyfriend is ‘busy’. Found out half way through her fun that her idea of ‘busy’ was actually ‘being tied up in the room next door listening’ as she had to go and check on him.
What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?
The one thing I couldn’t live without is probably my phone – it’s my connection to all my friends, events, what’s happening and where but also a vital support line to peer groups (and this is both ways!). I have chat groups with kinksters, club nights I’m involved with, Labour people, my charity people and a variety of others.
Talking sex with the girls: do you share all, or keep quiet and let everyone else do the talking?
Talking sex with the girls – it depends on what groups! I’m probably one of the most open people about sex and sexuality but I do have to filter for the groups I’m with (some people aren’t always that accepting of kink!) – I’ve seen quite a few open mouths before and if we are playing any kind of vaguely sexual ‘Never have I ever’ I’ll be the drunk one…
How did you come to Scarlet Ladies and why will you speaking on the particular topic of your event?
I came to Scarlet Ladies through speaking outside the House of Parliament about sex education. I gave a speech about Sex Ed from an LGBT (and primarily trans) perspective around how much we were being let down with a very heterosexual approach to sex education. Sarah and Jeanette were there, we got chatting and the rest is history! I’ve been on 3 or 4 panels since talking about various things (quite often kink).
Why do you think it is important that we talk about this?
This is an important topic! The portion of the population that is LGBT is ever growing – in a recent poll over 50% of 16-25 year-olds identified on the bisexual spectrum. The trans portion of the population is growing as more people feel safer to come out and express their trans status. However we are still lagging behind in rights for LGBT people (particularly trans people) and intersectional LGBT people are still struggling. The UK doesn’t have the best LGBT rights in the world, but when you look on an international scale it’s horrific – from the situation in Chechnya, to Australia actually voting on equal marriage rights down to not actually being able to enter certain countries as a trans or LGBT person for fear of imprisonment or death.
How can a better understanding of this topic help other women?
This topic helps women in general in a few ways. Firstly it gives them the platform and power to be open about their sexuality and discuss how they feel around it. Statistically women are more likely to express their bisexuality simply because there is less social stigma around being bi as a women (thanks, patriarchy). Secondly it gives other women visibility of the struggle of LGBT people and the various intersectionalities. Finally every woman will know of someone who is LGBT – understanding some of the issues (and also blessings) of being LGBT can help deepen those bonds of friendship or help out in plenty of other ways!
If you could tell your teenage self one thing you’ve learned about sex, what would it be?
I’d want to tell my teenage self that the sheer self confidence from being your true self is the most attractive thing ever, and that my life would be so much richer for transitioning.