IT’S the “life-saving” organisation that is slowly emerging from the shadows.

Hampshire charity Chrysalis has helped hundreds of transgender people come to terms with their identity since 2007.

The Warsash-based organisation offers support, advice, therapy and counselling.

But the threat of hate crime towards trans people meant that it had to operate under the radar.

And hate crime against the transgender community has risen by 81.1 per cent, new figures reveal.

The statistics from Hampshire police show that reports of hate crime based on gender identity rose from 37 in 2016 to 67 in 2017.

The new chief executive officer (CEO) of gender identity issues support group Chrysalis Andi Maratos said the numbers are “awful.”

She added: “It’s horrendously high, but when people are spat at coming home from work or shouted at across the street then I’m not surprised.

“What we are trying to do is change people’s minds and make it normal. I think the important thing is for people not to be scared about going outside.”

And the statistics may not be as bleak as they seem.

The head of Hampshire police’s lesbian and gay liaison team says the numbers are “encouraging”.

Inspector Scott Johnson said: “I think these statistics are encouraging.

“Whilst this is a significant increase on year to date figures, I think this is a demonstration of greater confidence within the trans community to come forward and report crime.

“It may also be a reflection of the work we’ve done with our own lesbian and gay liaison officers (LAGLO) team, where one of our development days focussed on transgender issues last year, plus a number of engagement initiatives which the force has supported.”

Meanwhile, Andi hopes to increase the organisation’s reach – but says it can only be done with the public’s support.

Andi took over as head of the charity just weeks ago.

As part of her mission to help more people in Hampshire access the service, Andi has opened a new wellbeing centre in Southampton.

The former engineer says the location of the centre only be made known to known members of the group.

Andi, from Swaythling, volunteered with Chrysalis for seven years while training to be a counsellor and has seen first hand how beneficial its services have been.

She said: “What we do here is literally saving lives. We have people who say things like ‘this is the first time I’ve been able to be me.

“We offer support for people who are transitioning or thinking about it but also their family and partners and we’ve had families get back together after coming here.

She said that it is important that there are designated safe spaces in the city for trans people.

“Some of them may never transition, some may know that they will at some point, but it’s important to have somewhere where they feel they can be themselves,” she said.

As well as providing counselling and support to partners of people coming to terms with their identity, Chrysalis runs practical workshops across the south aimed at helping people “unlearn” behaviour patterns developed from birth.

And with their expansion they are on the look out for anyone with counselling or other skills that can help those accessing the service.

While Chrysalis offers fairly structured coursed for people who are transitioning or considering it, the wellbeing centre will be less formal and will be open to those who haven’t been through Chrysalis, as well as those who have done so in the past or who still are.

It will offer a space to socialise, discuss current issues and to feed into how Chrysalis functions in future. The wellbeing centre will be open every fourth Thursday from 4pm to 9pm.

l If you would to sign up, get more information about Chrysalis, make a donation or to volunteer contact them on

l Chrysalis will be holding a conference on Transition from the Inside and Out on April 9. Tickets are free, but must be booked, and donations are welcome. to book tickets, visit

AS February is LGBT history month, we asked advocacy charity Stonewall for a glossary of terms so you can help be an ally to trans people

  • Ally – a (typically) straight and/or cis person who supports members of the LGBT community.
  • Asexual (or ace) – someone who does not experience sexual attraction.
  • Bi/bisexual – refers to an emotional and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender.
  • Cisgender or Cis – someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. Non-trans is also used by some people.
  • Gender – often expressed in terms of masculinity and femininity, gender is largely culturally determined and is assumed from the sex assigned at birth.
  • Gender dysphoria – used to describe when a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity. This is also the clinical diagnosis for someone who doesn’t feel comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth.
  • Gender identity – a person’s innate sense of their own gender, whether male, female or something else (see non-binary below), which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth.
  • Gender reassignment – to undergo gender reassignment usually means to undergo some sort of medical intervention, but it can also mean changing names, pronouns, dressing differently and living in their self-identified gender.
  • Intersex – a term used to describe a person who may have the biological attributes of both sexes or whose biological attributes do not fit with societal assumptions about what constitutes male or female. Intersex people may identify as male, female or non-binary.
  • LGBT – the acronym for lesbian, gay, bi and trans.
  • Trans – an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. l Transgender man – a term used to describe someone who is assigned female at birth but identifies and lives as a man. This may be shortened to trans man, or FTM, an abbreviation for female-to-male.
  • Transgender woman – a term used to describe someone who is assigned male at birth but identifies and lives as a woman. This may be shortened to trans woman, or MTF, an abbreviation for male-to-female.
  • Transitioning – the steps a trans person may take to live in the gender with which they identify. For some this involves medical intervention, such as hormone therapy and surgeries, but not all trans people want or are able to have this. Transitioning also might involve things such as telling friends and family, dressing differently and changing official documents.
  • Transphobia – the fear or dislike of someone based on the fact they are trans, including the denial/refusal to accept their gender identity.
  • Transsexual – used in the past as a more medical term to refer to someone who transitioned to live in the ‘opposite’ gender to the one assigned at birth. Many people prefer the term trans or transgender.