Getting Connected With The Trans Community…

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    • #134628
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      All:

      When I respond to messages from new members, I often suggest a search for activities in the local trans community. The reason for this is that isolation is often a powerful negative force in our community. Anyway, I’m curious as to how many here have done this. I will certainly continue to make this point as I think it is an important thing to do, but I would like to know what the members are doing (or not doing!).

      Please explain your thinking concerning the question, and if you have made contact with the community in your area, how did it go?

    • #134635
      Barb
      FREE

      My connection with my local trans community has been bitter-sweet.

      I have met champions and crusaders for trans rights, but I’ve also witnessed the some friends spiral into a world of drug addiction and prostitution.

      As a group, we feel safe whenever we get together for coffee and/or any advocacy work. But once on our own, the world can be quite indifferent and sometimes hostile.

      I haven’t yet personally experienced any hostility towards myself when on the street like others have. I suppose it’s because I’ve never had the need to access any services, like homeless shelters or mental health services. I’m comfortably fine. Lucky me.

      What I have learned is that the greatest gift we have is each other! Our network may be small and spread out, but it is strong and growing. Even our local town council advocates for trans rights and our local politicians even meet us for coffee!

      Best of all, our Trans and LGBT youth have mobilized in ways I could never have imagined when I was their age. They’re smart, engaged and incredibly supportive and helpful.

      My world is in good shape and is getting better all the time! Best of all, I’ve made amazing friends for life!

      Happy New Year All!

      :Barb

      • This reply was modified 1 year ago by Barb.
      • #134638
        DeeAnn Hopings
        AMBASSADOR

        Barb:

        You pointed out something that is very true for trans people. Our experiences are all over the map. Some of us have good experiences. Some of us have terrible experiences and all points in between. I think many in the general populace think that they know about trans people and our situations, but at best, all they know is no more than a limited subset.

        You also touched on another salient point. There is strength in numbers. As we are relatively small in numbers, it is very important to build alliances and coalitions. Politics is a numbers game. The more groups that we can get to join with our voices, the better.

        Thanks for presenting your perspective! I look forward to hearing about the experiences of others.

        • #134649
          Barb
          FREE

          One other thing…

          Being invited into other folx’s homes and really listening to their stories does wonders for one’s own transition. There’s nothing like a real hug offering support, acceptance and love, no matter where anyone is on the LGBTQA+ spectrum!! It’s also done wonders for my spouse’s acceptance and love for me too, no matter what I wear!

          Funny… most trans women I know personally don’t even dress “girly” at all! In fact, when I recently went to an LGBT event with many trans women (and trans men), I was the only one in a dress and nylons. Everyone else was in jeans, although many had nylons underneath. Out of 11 trans women, only two met any “passing” standards (not including me, but my friends say otherwise! God Bless Them All. LOL!!).

          :B

           

          • #134696

            Barb, I’m not surprised that most of the trans women attending the LGBT event were not dressed as you and I like them too.  I believe it is an age perspective.  You and I grew up in a time when women wore dresses or skirts and blouses with heels and all the appropriate lingerie.  Now there is no dress code; no matter what one looks like, she is accepted as trans because she says so.  I believe that is why so many of us have a problem with birth males in traditional women’s spaces.  Nothing needs to be proven.

            BTW, as I write this, relaxing in my home, I’m wearing a panty, garter belt, stockings, bra, camisole, half slip, skirt and blouse, pearl necklace, ear rings, bracelet, and make up.  Most of my lingerie is lacy and silky.  I feel so much like the woman I want to be.

          • #135997
            Barb
            FREE

            Well… you’ve certainly raised my eyebrows, Ms Stockings!! And your right, we “older” gals do yearn for those back-seamed days.

            At our LGBTQ+ coffee social the other week, we had about 14 show up of all ages. There wasn’t much differentiation in fashion styles with the younger generation, all sporting colourful images of skin-art, body piercings, short hair, and tight jeans. And, I found it interesting that the young ones seemed to prefer the term “non-binary” as a gender-identity as opposed to saying they’re a “trans man” or “trans woman”.

            “Times they are a changin’!”

            And I think for the better too! The younger generation has a bright optimism I haven’t experienced in quite a while and it certainly rubbing off on me. They just need the older lawmakers to stop telling them what they ought to be and move on…

            (Oh! one more thing: I’m currently wearing my white stockings and red high heel fluffy slippers!)

            • This reply was modified 1 year ago by Barb.
      • #134822

        My experience with the Trans community after 1 year of accepting who I am has been a mix of good, disappointing, and frustrating.

        I am frustrated by the lack of support groups or clubs in my area of NJ.  I need to drive at least an hour to make physical contact with another.

        I really appreciate the fact that I can easily find kindred souls here at TGH.  I’ve met one t-woman on here and followed it up with a lunch date.  We also have a date for dinner this week.

        I am disappointed by the relationships that appear to flourish with multiple exchanged messages that get personal, only to have the relationship wither and die without notice or explanation.  A little common courtesy is appropriate – something as simple as “I don’t want to be your friend” or “I don’t want to continue messaging you” goes a long way.  That way I will stop wondering about your well-being.

        • #134840
          DeeAnn Hopings
          AMBASSADOR

          Bobbi:

          I suspect that many others have a similar range of experiences with the community. I think part of it is due to the very broad range of life experiences. Folks range from doing quite well to just barely hanging on. I think most understand the benefits of being connected to the community, but may have essentially nothing left over in the way of time, energy or financial resources. Consequently, participation is minimal at best and non-existent for many.

          I see that you live in a relatively small town and are surrounded by other small towns. COVID forced many LGBT centers to implement at least some of their support group and social programming online via ZOOM and other similar programs. Obviously it isn’t a substitute for 1/1 conversation, but it can reinforce the idea that we are not alone and help get connected with others.

          For example:

          https://www.sagahatboro.com/event-details/online-trans-non-binary-support-group

          • #135980

            DeeAnn, I was rereading this message you posted and was curious about the link to the sagahatboro support group. Opening the link took me to a Not Found page on “The Welcome Project PA” web site. Just though I would let you know.
            Bobbie

          • #135986
            DeeAnn Hopings
            AMBASSADOR

            It’s there. Evidently they restructured the web site and the pages changed. Shorten the link up to:

            http://www.sagahatboro.com

            In the left column is a link for “Support Groups”. Click that…

          • #135988

            Thank you DeeAnn. I will check it out and leave my impressions.
            Bobbie

        • #134862
          Barb
          FREE

          Hi Bobbie!

          I first had to drive at least an hour like you to meet girls like me until I realized there was a vibrant group (many, actually) right around my corner. Now my drive is 20 minutes max.

          DeeAnn makes a good point about Zoom meetings. We started getting together in person only in the last few of months, but oftentimes the Zooms continue for others farther away who can’t make the in-person meeting. It’s kinda the “new normal” these days.

          The other thing I realized is that the Trans community didn’t really have anything all to their own, at least not where I live. So, I hopped on the larger Pride community and found many girls there!!

          Good luck!

          :Barb

          • #134867
            DeeAnn Hopings
            AMBASSADOR

            Agreed. Said another way, we have to go in search of others. “If You Build It, They Will Come” only works in the movies…

          • #134916

            I have found a Zoom connection with a trans subgroup of NJ Pride.  I have been on one call and another is scheduled soon.  I’m hoping for something positive from it, especially in terms of interactions with individuals.  But the group is still more than an hour from me.

            Bobbie

          • #134920
            DeeAnn Hopings
            AMBASSADOR

            Bobbi:

            Happy that you are getting connected!

            I participate in a weekly women’s chat group. Before the pandemic, we met in person, but since some point in 2019, we were forced to switch to online via ZOOM. The participants are mostly permanent residents from here in the Coachella Valley, but we get call-ins from outside of Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Nebraska, Michigan, Las Vegas, Big Bear, Seattle and one other place up the coast that I can’t remember. Aside from the permanent residents here, the others have contact with the area through vacationing here frequently, owning a second home here or contemplating relocating here. Due to how people are spread out, I doubt if we will go back to doing in person meetings only.

            Have you searched the Member Database yet?

            Before I retired and left New York State, I participated in a monthly crossdresser and transgender social group that was 90 minutes away and a twice a month social and support group that was an hour away. It just depends upon what you feel you need to do.

          • #134944

            Hi DeeAnn.

            Thank you for continuing to offer suggestions.  I have searched the member database for NJ gurls who have been active on TGH within the past year.  I reached out to each, asking if she would be interested in joining the group NJ Trans.  I described it as “an effort to network with other transgendered ladies in New Jersey and to stay informed about local events.”  Not counting Alexis Wasserman, two women have joined.  One has met me for lunch and dinner in the last 30 days.  I really enjoy her company and value her friendship.  The other became a friend, and we engaged in the exchange of some personal messages.  We took a break before Christmas.  Now, despite repeated messages from me, she hasn’t  responded and  don’t know why.

            If I were able, I would move to the Philadelphia area or to the area around Trenton (both more than an hour away) as there appear to be many trans women there who openly enjoy being a woman.

            Bobbie

    • #134668
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      Hi:

      When we tell our stories or hear others tell theirs, powerful things happen. The validation works in both directions. It is a Win/Win! Hard to beat that.

      The thing is that isolation leads us to some funky places. It can lead us to think the we are alone and that no one else has anything close to our issues. It feels like we have no support and will never have. This is a terrible place to be and it is very easy for despair and hopelessness to work their way into our consciousness.

    • #134681
      Emily Alt
      UNITY

      My connections with the trans community have been mostly positive. The vast majority of my experiences have been social. I’ve made a lot of friends in the last few years. I’ve bonded with a few girls….they’ve truly been sisters to me. It’s safe to say we’ll be lifelong friends.

      I don’t have a need for social services. But I did attend a couple of group sessions early on at The Center in San Diego. I felt out of place and stopped going.

      In general I feel safe being out in public. Never had any problems at least. Of course some places are safer than others. Common sense obviously plays a big part.

      I agree there is strength in numbers. And that is maybe the one area where my experience has been less positive. We unfortunately lack a cohesive image and message. Some of our members choose to exclude others because of perceived “impurities”. Some openly flaunt hedonistic lifestyles with no regard for the bridges others are trying to build. I could go on. Suffice to say some of us are hurting our cause. Considering what’s happening politically in some places, it’s the last thing we need.

      /EA

    • #134682

      Hi DeeAnn,  This is an interesting question.  First I’ll list all the places that I bond or contact with like minded people.  I’m a member of Interact, Madison Area Transgender Association, My Local PFLAG Group, The River City Gems,  CDH and TGH.  I also volunteer for Pride and PrideFest and have attended Martha’s First Thursday Party, Las Vegas, Wildside and BeAll.  Now some of these places or events just start out as social or online but as a result of meeting these people, greater friendships and sharing have occurred.  I also see it as a way for me to learn and to also share what I have learned.  I don’t really worry about where people are on the spectrum since I see us all as growing into our true selves.  I’ve met all ages and situations in these groups and really enjoy them.    Marg
      <p class=”p1″></p>

    • #134683
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      When I post a message with a poll, I tend to not discuss my situation for a while. My worry is that it may steer the conversation in one direction or another. So, I will discuss my experiences now.

      I retired at the end of January 2016 and relocated to Southern California a week later. By midyear I joined the Transgender Community Coalition (TCC) and became a board member in January of 2017. Somewhere in the later part of 2016 I also joined the steering Committee of the local Human Rights Campaign group. I held both offices for a bit over 2 years. I resigned from both by the middle of 2018.

      In the 2+ years with TCC, I met a number of trans men and women. Some were doing well while others were sleeping in their cars and others still were considerably underemployed. In 2017 TCC finally had the wherewithal to establish a physical office. I did mostly back end stuff, such as setting up MS Office, creating E-mail accounts and researching, choosing and implementing secure storage. I didn’t really get involved with the hair removal or helping folks to navigate health care or looking for employment as that wasn’t my expertise. However, when the CEO had to be away, I was the “adult in the room”. Many of our volunteers were 20-somethings, so my function was to provide stability and keep things from rolling off the table. This 2+ years represented a major change for me in terms of being immersed in the community. In that time, I was a part of various fundraising teams and also helped to plan the TDoR Vigils. I eventually resigned as i could no longer put up with the CEO’s BS.

      This was valuable time for me as it significantly added to my knowledge of what was happening within the community. I learned how difficult it was for trans people to get hired, in spite of often being over-qualified. I was surprised, but I guess I should not have been, that this often held true for lesbian and gay organizations and lesbian and gay owned businesses. I think part of the problem is that our reputation precedes us in terms of being flaky, unreliable and back-stabbing. Before the pandemic, trans unemployment was about 4x higher that the general population. I don’t know what it is now, but it probably hasn’t changed much. While I knew things were difficult for trans people in general, I really didn’t understand how bad things were. It was an education that I would not have gotten otherwise.

      In retrospect, another thing was that I think that I never really connected with most of the community, and they to me, was that our experiences were vastly different. I had a career that spanned 43 years with onlt 2 companies. From college there was never a time when I was not employed. While my coming out was very public, the way things worked out, I retired 4 months later. From a transgender perspective, I never experienced harassment, workplace discrimination, domestic violence or had my kids taken away. Since I retired at 67, I was at a much different stage of life compared to the majority of people in the community.

      In more recent times, I am not directly involved in the community, save for my involvement here. However, a funny thing happened. When word got around that I was no longer part of either group I mentioned above, there were offers to join a board here and a steering committee there. While it was flattering, I realized something. I was being given an opportunity to represent my community. I doubt if this was in the thinking of those who asked, but little did they know that visibility is an important thing to me. Anyway, I hope that I can provide a good data point as opposed to the stereotypical ones that are so prevalent.

      Currently I hold office in my car club, a political organization, a civic commission and 2 non-profits. I am also a member of 3 other organizations where I do not hold office.

      Going from memory, well over half of the US population knows at least one gay person. I believe the corresponding statistic for trans people is less than 1/3. To me, this is where visibility can really make a difference.

    • #134697
      Dana Munson
      SILVER

      Hi!  I have only been transitioning since July, so still somewhat self-absorbed in getting my personal act together and having the new “me” solidify relationships with friends and family.  But I have begun reaching out.  Apart from joining the SoCal group here at TGH, I recently signed up in the “Trans Lounge” group which is part of the Los Angeles LGBT Center.  I have not yet had the opportunity to take part in any in-person events offered by the Lounge, but have attended one event by phone (because for some $#@% reason, I couldn’t establish an audio connection via their Zoom link).   I have become quite comfortable in dealing with the world at large as a woman, which is probably a good thing since I have been legally female for several months. But I definitely look forward to sharing experiences with other trans women, maybe help each other negotiate the minefields that society sometimes seems to want to lay in our path.  Cheers!

    • #134700
      Marianne
      AMBASSADOR

      I have wished to get in contact with other trans people in my city and surroundings for many years but only recently have I made any real progress. There are several reasons for this.

      Opportunity

      I am not much of an outgoing person and never have been. Spending most of my time between work and family I don’t hang at bars, go to sports events, visit rock concerts or take part in any other activities there you meet alot of people with different backgrounds and life situations. Also, being close to 60 years old I wasn’t even aware there was a trans community for more than half my life, and in Sweden there probably was none to find outside Stockholm and Gothenburg.

      Visibility

      With a few exeptions the exposure of trans people in Sweden has been very limited until recently, and even more so the community at large. The media coverage has been merely restricted to the odd cases there a business executive or some other publicly well-known person has come out as a crossdresser or made the gender switch.

      In recent years a growing movement has united in an association named Transammans (Trans-[to]gether), forming local groups in most major Swedish cities including Uppsala where I live. I am now a member of the group snd have been on two meetings, but with all the other members being either college students or parents to trans kids I find it hard to really connect and have a meaningful discussion to help with my situation and needs.

    • #134706
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      All:

      I am really pleased to see the responses to my question. It is a real Feel Good Moment for me. Clearly, the responses are varied, and that is to be expected. I think an important thing to remember is that it is a Work In Progress. Things my not be where we would like them now, but with time and perhaps a bit of help from us, things will improve. Plus, I think it is always helpful to be around others with whom we share a degree of common interests. Whenever we see others from the community, it is a reminder that there are others like us and they are living and doing the best that they can. This goes a long way toward counteracting the BS that gets throw at us.

    • #135995
      Miriya Paris
      SILVER

      Just had this very discussion the other day around the kitchen table. The Trans community, what a double edged sword. For my own involvement I have been part of the community on several occasions. Back in the late nineties to early two thousands, moved on from it, back again from 2008-2012, left again, then back in 2016-2019 then left again.  Now my contact was face to face group meetings, girls night and day hang outs, and the vast online places. I have chatted it up with just about every archetype on the spectrum, and cried with them too. I have seen new faces come and go actually this happens more often then not.

      The trans community is a great  place to meet like minded friends, feel supported, get information, etc etc. It is also a place where misery love company.

      Long ago when I went by Lori, I hung out with a nice group of gurls from the TGEA, most were older and looking for support as this type of thing (online support) did not exist and shame/fear was a huge component to being Trans. I had a second mother of sorts who I looked up to, she was a full transitioned MtF, nicest as could be. She took care of me like a daughter, in fact she did this with several of us or our girls click of sorts. We were the girls get together group and TGEA after party buddies, went and painted the town red as they say.  Fun, fun, fun.  I was young and was just there for the ride, so did not get into the heavy emotional side of things much back then. However one by one the click started to fall apart, they moved or lost interest, etc. So did I actually, as I moved in to one of my life long dreams of being a parent, oh the longing of wanting to be a mom, and the sacrifices we do.

      The next time around I was in a different place. I had finally accepted the fact I was not just a CD but a TS (sry for the use of old terms), of course this time I was looking for emotional support. But as the saying goes girls will be girls and I painted the town red again.  Actually being older and more confidant in who I was it was far more wild then before.  We skipped the mall shopping trips, trips to the salon, and hit the club scene like girls gone wild. I am a sucker for costumes and dressing up and had more cash then before so… any way this time around I started to really talk to the girls I was hanging with not just chit chat about this and that. You know each and everyone of us, me included had a whole host of emotional baggage. We were all trying our dammedist to escape from it, but it always caught up, and endless tears flowed. Online line was no help either, yes this time I found or founded an online community of sorts, unfortunately the support from online was mostly information sites and no human feed back. The real place to meet people was dating sites, I was one of those unique girls who used the sites for finding like minded friends. Of course this lead to some awkward situations where half… well more then half of my buddies wanted to jump my bones. Never happened however as I am crazy and a huge flirt but one of those kinds of girls who never puts out.  I did enjoy the attention of course, who wouldn’t it made me feel special. To this day I still get old friends and such pop up from time to time and want to rekindled something. Back to the tears, here is where things were dark. I can remember many a nights after the party sitting on the hotel bed talking to my friends and crying into our pillows. Until you have plumed the depths of yours and others souls you can never really know how beautiful life really is.

      The last time I was part of the community it was more of an online thing and self discovery of sorts.  Of course I went out a bit but I was more looking to help my sisters really understand what, who, the emotional side of this whole madness really is. I had to plumb my own pain to do this of course and went into a depression that lasted a year and a day. As some of you can attest too people never noticed as they were self absorbed, rightly so, or they were in a different place or time of transition. Too many I was thought of as an angle or infallibly good person, but only one who has been there can truly understand. Do not ask me about how much a set of boobs cost, or how to change your birth certificate, I have no clue, but you know that tear in the corner of your I have a tissue.

      Each and every time in and out of the community I have grown, but with each and every time I was broken, the trans community does not come without its price. I am not saying stay away, but enter with your eyes open and your heart ready.

      “Behind every strong confident woman lays a broken little girl who got back up.”

       

       

      • #136001
        DeeAnn Hopings
        AMBASSADOR

        Thank You for sharing your story! One of the points that it made for me is how we need different things at different times in our lives. It isn’t a constant. It evolves because we as people evolve.

        Another thing that came through is a need that we often have to try to create this younger version of ourselves due to what we missed. I have no idea of exactly how this worked out for you, but I think it drives what we sometimes see as inappropriate dress (at least somewhat) among trans women. Note that I am not absolving myself in this regard as the vast majority of my skirts, skorts and shorts are well above the knee at the age of 74. To paraphrase Rhett Butler: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a shit.

        As I’ve said before, we Hu-Mans are social creatures and that sociability has many different functions. I think one of the most important things is to be seen as we want to be seen and have that reflected back to us. Gender identity is a mental construct, so it stands to reason that we desire to have our social lives align with that.

        I think that eventually the desire for hyperfemininity does dissipate quite a bit; perhaps because it isn’t really sustainable. As time goes on we settle into our more mature selves and Life continues.

        One final point to be made is how the community relates to our progress. At various times in your life, you reconnected with the community, or at least a subset of it. The important thing is that when you needed to come back, the community was still there. Our needs are not constant. They come and go, but like a river, the community remains.

        Be Well and Continued Progress!

    • #140892
      Amy Myers
      FREE

      Dare I add here? Somehow in less then 6 years I’ve gone from nearly no one knowing this secret, to a whole host of people who now know me as Amy. By a “Host”, I mean it must be 100’s.

      Through a contact on CDH I was introduced to a local CD and MtF trans social and peer support group, they were fabulous, gave me so much support and many have since become good friends. Then last year I was elected President of the same group with a membership that currently stands at 245. Though many of that number are not at all active.

      This is actually personally very rewarding, helping others who simply want a friend and companionship.

      Amy

      • #140893
        DeeAnn Hopings
        AMBASSADOR

        I think 2 things have happened. You have surrounded yourself with community and, at the same time, extended the idea to others who also need that social network. Sounds like a Win/Win to me!

        • #140896
          Amy Myers
          FREE

          Thank you DeeAnn! Somehow I had all this bottled up inside of me for so long and in a way I never realized!

          Which is why I’m here now.

          Amy

          • #140916
            DeeAnn Hopings
            AMBASSADOR

            There’s something interesting about how Hu-Mans (as the Ferengi would say!) function. Sometimes a door opens and we see something of value or attraction on the other side that we had never realized before. Sometimes it is powerful enough to make us walk through that open door. Had that open door not happened, who knows when (or if) the right circumstances would ever come again.

            For some of us, we do progress from crossdressing to realizing that we are, in fact, transgender. While I have not seen any numbers, anecdotally it appears not to be a large percentage. It seems that many are content with their status of being a crossdresser and do not wish to go further.

            However, regardless of our status, the social aspect of being among our peers will always be significant. It’s just how we are as Hu-Mans…

    • #134983
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      I was just looking at the map of Alabama and the surrounding states. It looks like you are going to have to cast a fairly wide net. As you are roughly between Mobile and Birmingham, I suggest that you start with these two search strings:

      transgender resources mobile alabama

      transgender resources birmingham alabama

      Have a look at several pages of both as sometimes useful things don’t always appear in the first few pages. You may have to extend your search to other cities in order to find online events…

    • #135011
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      Great! I hope it works out. As things progress, it would be interesting to hear about your experiences.

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