My name is Sensei Dean I’m a gay trans woman who lives in Newcastle’s West End. I’m a 2nd Dan blackbelt in Shotokan Karate and a black belt in Aikido.
Newcastle is my home, it’s where I was born and bred, it’s in my blood. So is my identity, I’m proud of who I am and the achievements that I’ve made in my life. I had to fight to be who I am, it’s not unusual for LGBT people to face that struggle especially those who are trans.
I founded Willow Tree Karate in 2016 to create and develop a space that is inclusive of all gender and sexual identities, a place where people can truly be themselves and celebrate those aspects of who they are in an open manner.
I’m also conscious that LGBT people are at more risk of harassment, physical violence and hate crime that targets them just for being who they are.
I want to provide LGBT people with a positive safe space environment and give them the skills to be able to defend themselves if they need to.
I also want to give special thanks to Pride Sports and Be Trans Support and Development North for their help and support in making Willow Tree Karate a reality.