Please do not confuse the Beaumont Trust with the Beaumont Society; each has different roles and objectives. The Beaumont Trust sprang out of the Beaumont Society but the two organisations are quite separate. Nevertheless there is some confusion about them.
The function of the Beaumont Society is to provide meetings, a magazine, a contact system, regional officers and contacts and a chance for mainly cross-dressing men to share a lifestyle or hobby. It does include some transexed and transgendered people among its members and over the years it has also included honorary and life members who contributed towards understanding this phenomenon. The Society was founded mid 1966. Secrecy, confidentiality and safety were big issues at that time. Trans was considered by most people to be a deviation at best, or even as a perversion. It aroused all the undertones of hatred, mistrust, fear, blackmail and persecution. Times have changed over the forty-plus years since then.
The Society included several doctors, psychiatrists, nurses and other professionals in the field. There was an awareness that there were many for whom the Society was not equipped to help, who had issues as to whether they were TV, TG, or TS, about relationships, discrimination, employment, and a plethora of serious problems, not least loneliness. It was also obvious that those close to trans people had difficulties, be they partners, parents, siblings, or children of trans people. Something had to be done!
In the early 1970's the Society set up an autonomous Charitable Trust, which it funded by a portion of the subscription and by donations. The Trust then was able to carry out its far wider remit and to try to cope with these problems.
Separately, a wives/partners group - WOBS - was founded. Volunteers carried out all this work. When the Society and later the Trust were founded, they were designed to address different but complementary goals: the Society to provide opportunity for joyful socialising with like-minded individuals, and the Trust with a wider remit of providing a caring and supportive response to members of the greater trans community. WOBS was founded to address the need to care for the significant others of members of the trans community. WOBS exists to provide caring for partners - whether wives, girlfriends, husbands or boyfriends - who themselves clearly did not qualify for membership in the Beaumont Society but who (sometimes, it is admitted, despite themselves) are part of the trans community. Without WOBS there would be no organisation dedicated to supporting, counselling and informing this group. For many years these 3 separate bodies have worked with reasonable harmony.
No Government grants or other major donors provided any funds.
The financial contribution of the Society represents its support for the work of the Trust and for WOBS.
The Trust revised its Deed in 1987. It consists of its trustees (now up to 14) and the helpline volunteers. It is run on a limited budget by entirely voluntary effort. Those who work the helpline are trained, reliable, open-minded and committed volunteers who try help all who call - a much wider remit than specifically serving as a referral source for the Society and its meetings. The Trust helpline has up to 10 volunteers and is entirely confidential.
The Trustees always includes professionals in caring fields relevant to the experience of trans people themselves and their significant others. This includes qualified mental health and medical professionals Others are academics, researchers and therapists from both private and public sectors, who donate their valuable time for what has been called 'the greater good'. Many trustees and helpline staff are or have been Samaritans, trained in responding to those in suicidal distress. As "Sams" we found a great many callers had trans related issues.
Since the 1970s, trustees are have produced several published volumes and numerous leaflets which have reached many thousands of individuals affected by the TG/TV/TS phenomenon, both members of the community and others in the caring community. Trustees have worked to gain the cooperation of related organisations and support organisations, charities and similar caring groups, which has brought about improved dialogue amongst them and a sense of mutual respect. They also have inaugurated and assisted in research projects.
In addition, they have provided training for those directly involved in the welfare of TG/TV/TS individuals and their significant others including the following agencies: NHS workers (including both General Practitioners. nurses and specialists), members of the private medical sector, Home Office staff, trade unionists, prison officials and police officers. In addition to three major conferences, we have maintained an effective website and answer with great care hundreds of letters each year which request guidance, support and information.
The Trust, as a Registered Charity 297527, is subject to public scrutiny. It sends a report to the Charity Commissioners to show that funds have been properly used. This becomes public information.
The Trust is there for those who are isolated, reclusive, with damaged relationships, experiencing problems due to their trans nature and perhaps feeling despair as a result. The Trust is also available to those who are trying to determine their true identities, where they fit on the trans spectrum, and so on. Their real need is to be listened to patiently and responded to out of wisdom, experience, and training - rather than to simply socialise with like-minded individuals.
Trust is there, as a first point of contact or for those who are isolated, who cannot or do not want to join a group, they may be reclusive, with damaged relationships, experiencing difficulty due to their trans nature and perhaps feeling despair as a result. The Trust is also available to those who are trying to determine their true identities, where they fit on the trans spectrum, and so on. Their need is to be listened to patiently and responded to out of wisdom, experience, and training, rather than to socialise with like-minded individuals.
Although separate organisations, the Trust and the Society have worked together over the years to gain respect, education, understanding and equality for those in the trans spectrum. Young trans people and new BS members who have benefited from this progress might easily be unaware of the work and institutional mechanisms that have facilitated this.
The Trust needs more suitable volunteers who feel able to contribute to this valuable work. It is not in a position to offer funding but we are able to assist in research and training projects.
Copyright Beaumont Trust Last amended 05.12.09, 19.03.11