Graduate Story:

James Hiwatari

James is a trans LGBTQ+ rights activist from Brazil, now based in Glasgow. He campaigns with the Equality Network and Scottish Trans Alliance and is fighting for Equal Recognition for trans people.

Before Bootcamp, I had never taken on more than a support role in a campaign. Bootcamp taught me so much and gave me renewed confidence in my campaigning.

To answer what I learnt from Bootcamp would require many blog posts – but that’s what happens when you bump into a new learning experience around every corner! Bootcamp gave me lots of hard skills around strategy, email writing, and video editing. It also helped me understand my own personal strengths and weaknesses better. But the learning that happened in-session is only half the story.

The activists at my camp were from a diverse set of backgrounds, each with a different unique life experience. This meant I learned about issues and situations I wouldn’t be exposed to normally.

My favourite sessions were when we got to put the skills we learnt into practice – nothing beats that! For example, I loved shooting campaign videos and practicing my interview skills in front of the group. I never saw myself as a media person before, but now I feel like this is something I want to get more experience in! If you ever see my face attached to a campaign in the future, that will all be thanks to Bootcamp!

Since May, I have been making sure that when I campaign, I reflect on those lived experiences and perspectives. Taking part in Bootcamp has made my activism richer, more inclusive, and more effective.

I’ve also been working on a guide on how to be more inclusive of bisexual people, and busy with Pride events. I am currently sketching out plans for a campaign focussed on intersectionality in service provision.

You can find out more about the Equality Network here: www.equality-network.org, and the Scottish Trans Alliance here: www.scottishtrans.org

James Hiwatari

I am a trans, bisexual and intersectional writer and activist. I work for the Equality Network, one of Scotland's LGBTI organisations, and through them I participated in the Equal Marriage and Equal Recognition campaigns. The first, already concluded, aimed to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples. The second, ongoing, aims to protect and improve the rights of trans people in Scottish law. I also want to start an awareness raising campaign about intersectionality and have it included in anti-discrimination law.