Meet the founders of Trans charity, Not A Phase

We are proud to support Not a Phase and the work they are doing to support the Trans community. We caught up with the founders of the charity to find out more about them and the cause they are working towards.

The organisation was originally set up by Jacqui Devon and Dani St James, to support pre-existing Trans charities, however due to the success of Not A Phase t-shirts, the pair decided they wanted to help people on a bigger scale and set up their own charity.

Scroll down to meet the founders and find out a little more about their work.

Founders of Not A Phase

Jacqui Devon

Age: 28 years old.
Sign: Cancer & so accurate
Hometown: a tiny town in Norfolk

“I’m a manager of a bar in Soho – Ku Bar. It’s my livelihood and also a happy place for me. Being an LGBTQ+ bar in centre of London it’s alive & bustling and the vibe is electric.”

Boss Babe Mantra: “Be Free!” There’s so many weights of society pinning you down by social expectations and standards, don’t let these drag you down. There’s no book you should live your life by so buckle up and enjoy it.

“Living in North London, I live my life by the terms of ‘why ask yourselves why, when you can ask yourself why not?’ I’m a big music lover (particularly house & disco) and mix music whenever I get free time too. I run a bar in Soho so my schedule is pretty back to back but always find the time to see my friends & family for a good time! Since Miss Rona stepped onto the stage, I’ve stepped off and enjoying more down time reading books to educate myself on the community & life as a whole.”

Dani St James

Age: 28
Sign: The most Aries Aries you have ever met
Hometown: Barry Island! (I tell people Cardiff to avoid the dodgy Gavin & Stacey quotes).

“To pay the bills I part-time manage the London operations of a big makeup company alongside social media paid posts, none of the dodgy tummy teas though haha. Personally, I mainly just doss about with my boyfriend and our baby parrot, Noah.”

Boss Babe Mantra: My mum says “everything comes clean in the wash”, which can either mean “give it a bloody good go and it’ll work out” or “the truth will always come out”, either way, I stole it & it’s mine now.

“I’ve done a bit of everything that’s lead me to the point I am now, I ran night clubs, which is where I massively grew my network and I recently left a career in recruitment to seriously take on Not A Phase. Im sober, which is something Im really proud of. Im also an avid lover of pigs.”

Not a Phase- Charity Q+A with Dani St James

Q: What were your reasons for starting Not A Phase?

A: After seeing conversations happening with the people in power in our country, Jacqui designed a t-shirt to raise money for a trans youth charity – Mermaids. About a month later, we were taking daily knock backs from the global news relating to LGBTQ+ people and I felt compelled to jump in and start something bigger, so that was when we decided to donate the final amount from the sales of the original tee and switch it up. We teamed up to help people on a bigger scale and do it ourselves, that was where Not a Phase was born. 

“We teamed up to help people on a bigger scale and do it ourselves, that was where Not a Phase was born”

Dani St James

Q: What will the money go towards?

  • Running corporate training to companies and brands on awareness, inclusivity and HR practice/procedure in relation to the recruitment of trans people
  • Hosting workshops and training sessions to equip trans and gender non-conforming people with key skills for getting work. These will vary from building a CV (with added discussions about the right to notdisclose) and other topics that currently deter trans people from feeling that they can apply for mainstream work
  • Investing the funds raised into trans owned businesses across the UK, we are already in touch with a number of these businesses and the network keeps growing. They vary massively and we are really excited to get the ball rolling on providing resources
  • Investing into community-related ventures. There used to be a number of bi-weekly/monthly meeting spots for trans/gender non conforming people to meet and socialise away from clubs and bars, they have dwindled and we are keen to bring back more community-building spaces.

Q: Why did you choose to start Not A Phase now?

A: We couldn’t sit around any more feeling like the sky was falling in on us, we aren’t going to go down without a fight. Once we get past the current issues in the UK, there is still so much work to be done, we want to lift and unite our community. We felt the need to elevate the game and find solutions to the hardships the community faced.

“Once we get past the current issues in the UK, there is still so much work to be done, we want to lift and unite our community”

Dani St James

Q: How can we support Not A Phase?

Buy one of our T-shirts, read our resources and start having conversations with everyone, share the good word, there’s only so far that our network reaches. If Karen from finance pops into her office in the Midlands wearing a Not A Phase tee, people will ask her why, this is how they have become a tool for starting conversations. We need all the voices we can get.

Where can we learn more about issues the Trans community are facing?

  • Follow us on @notaphaseorg for resources, information & watch our projects grow. We are striving to break down the prejudice and stigma the trans community face so there’s a lot of real talk on our page.
  • Follow Mermaids UK, a great charity that support trans youth and their families. Their social media is fab and educational for any parents needing support.
  • Follow Pink News for LGBTQ rights news. The international dangers the LGBTQ+ is documented all there and they report on a lot that mainstream media isn’t.

How has the reception been so far?

Oh my god, amazing, We have had a fundraiser that was hosted by Victoria Beckham, we are collaborating with a load of queer designers to make limited edition tee’s, we have sold hundreds of t-shirts to people all over the world, I posted a couple of our face masks to Tokyo the other day, so fab!

People have been so generous with their time and money and this is just the beginning. 2020 is the year the world got ‘woke’ (Are we too old to use that word?) and it feel like now is the time to get involved.