Getting Connected With The Trans Community…

Have You Made Contact With The Trans Community In Your Area?

Your Local 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?

    2 users thanked author for this post.
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    • #134968
      Rikki
      GOLD

      Thanks DeeAnn

      I haven’t made contact with a trans community yet. This prompts a question for the community; are you monitored constantly? I am. I don’t make a move without being followed, monitored. I scarcely say a word without it being repeated and discussed; often repeated within my hearing although not to me. I can’t hate people for this, can’t hate any one…as someone here recently posted, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I fear bringing someone else into my experiences along these lines; being constantly monitored.

      There are no other trans in the imeadate area that I know of. There are tons of nuts and bolts things that I would like to discuss though.

      • #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…

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #135007
          Rikki
          GOLD

          Thanks DeeAnn

          As we would say here, you hit the nail on the head; there’s an LGBT group in Mobile. I requested email and am considering events.

          Rikki

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #135011
            DeeAnn Hopings
            AMBASSADOR

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

    • #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.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #134700
      Marianne Tornander
      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.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #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!

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #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.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #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>

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #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

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #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.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #134635
      Barb
      BRONZE

      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

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      • #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.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #134862
          Barb
          BRONZE

          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

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          • #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

            1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #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

          • #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…

            1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #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

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #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.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #134649
          Barb
          BRONZE

          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

           

          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #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.

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