Category Archives: Rosebuds-Outside the Closet

Jenny Boylan Op-Ed Piece in the NY Times: Transgender Community Unity and LGBT Marriage Equality

Jennifer Boylan visited with TCNE and the Greater Boston Transgender community at First Event 2009.  She read from one of her books during a luncheon, signed her book for attendees and really encouraged most if not all of those who attended her luncheon.   We were so honored to have her.

Jenny is now a board member for GLAAD, has written a new book and has a new column in the New York Times entitled, “We Want Cake Too”    Her article points out that perhaps transgender equal rights should be the top priority of the LGBT community vs. marriage equality.     She goes on to site some frightening statistics:

When you look at the staggering statistics concerning the struggles of transgender people, it’s easy to understand resentment over the amount of resources put into the fight for marriage rights. Transgender people, according to a nationwide study released early this year by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, are nearly four times more likely to live in poverty than the general population. Forty-one percent of respondents reported attempting suicide; of those who came out as students, 78 percent reported harassment, 35 percent physical assault and 12 percent sexual violence. Nineteen percent said they had been homeless. Among transgender people of color, the numbers are even worse.

The right to marry clearly isn’t the most urgent civil rights issue lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (L.G.B.T.) people face.

But her op-ed piece also contains a call for unity amongst the transgender part of the community,

But if transgender people are sometimes at odds with their gay and lesbian allies, they’re also at odds with themselves. The community is rife with disagreements about whether transsexuals (individuals who change, or wish to change, their gender via medical intervention, and whom some define as simply having a “birth challenge” like, say, a cleft palate) even ought to be grouped, politically, with “transgenders” (an umbrella term that includes cross-dressers and drag queens).

Whenever I hear about groups splintering into smaller factions, it’s hard for me not to think of John Cleese in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian,” protesting that he’s not with the Judean People’s Front; he’s with the People’s Front of Judea. In short, infighting seems to guarantee that whatever progress is made for gay men and lesbians, transgender people will continue to lag behind.

Her article, as expected is well written, and excellent and a call to carefully think…for all parts of the LGBT community.

You can (and should) read Jenny’s entire piece at the New York Times, “We Want Cake, Too“.

And we invite our readers to discuss this article in our comments.   TCNE welcomes the entire transgender community, so, let’s hear your thoughts on Jenny’s article!

Does Leaving a Conference Like First Event Give You the Blues?

It’s inevitable of course.  You have a HUGE buildup to First Event, you attend, learn, have fun, have MORE fun, learn alot more stuff about yourself, about others, about the Transgender Community and then you say your goodbyes and it hits you!

You feel like this letdown (coupled with total exhaustion).

Well, there’s a few articles we have here at TCNE that can help you get  your perspective and get reset for whatever it is you are doing next.

First, our own Grace Stevens (whom many of you met at First Event), has written a couple of  articles for her column, “A Touch of Grace“,  I’d like to draw your attention to.  The first is, “Living in Balance” a great article on exactly what the title says.  The second is, “Your Next Step“, an article she wrote for the First Event 2011 Program Guide, BUT, I think many of you might really benefit from reading now.

Second, I’ve written an article for my column, “Outside the Closet” entitled, “Post First Event Blues” giving you some pragmatic steps on how to deal with those down moments you might feel coming away from First Event.

Oh, still got your dancing shoes ready? Well, check our Calendar for some of what’s next and check our TG Conference List for the next conference near you.

Finally, you can consider giving back by supporting the TG Rights Action Day happening THIS Thursday here in Boston, January 27th.  Transgender rights isn’t a Republican or Democratic thing, it’s a human rights thing.  And since we are all human, we all count!

Interview with Jan Brown, Fantasia Fair 2010 Workshop Program Director

Fantasia Fair is the oldest running transgender conference in the U.S. and possibly the world. It also shares a unique heritage with First Event in that the start of Fantasia Fair and First Event came out of The Cherrystone Club (our readers can check out that history by clicking to our history of TCNE). It’s truly an endearing time as the conference is in Provincetown, MA. This gorgeous town on Cape Cod, Massachusetts is welcoming and fun. Having Fantasia Fair in P-Town (as Provincetown is often known) is a treat since it provides a complete town to be yourself in. Pretty nifty! An added social justice bonus is that Fantasia Fair as a whole gives back a good deal of money to Provincetown to fund various good works. I had a chance to catch up with the super busy Jan Brown who is this year’s Fantasia Fair’s Workshop Program Director to see if she could give our readers some insight into her position as Program Director and to see if she could give us some inside scoop on what is going on at Fantasia Fair for 2010.

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Fenway Health T-Social a hit as Boston area trans-community comes together to meet each other and celebrate

Hats off to Alex Solange of Fenway Health’s Transhealth Navigator Program and the whole Fenway Health Team for a great T-Social on March 25.  Fenway has come a long way in moving to embrace the transgender community.  Early on, it was pretty much acceptance but still a sense in which Fenway didn’t quite “get” how to deal with the health aspects of trans-people.  Then Fenway wrote a book on LGBT health that included an entire chapter on caring for transgender people and things have appeared to look up ever since.  We have several friends who use Fenway Health now and they’ve been mostly happy with their hormone care and other, regular health care right in one location.  You don’t need to be medically transitioning to access their services.   If you just want one stop shop for medical services in a welcoming environment Fenway is a place worth considering.  The T-Social is an outreach Fenway has been running for a few years to reach out to the community.

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Transwomen’s Healthcare In-Focus: Interview with Brian King of Health & Education Services/PRISM LGBT Community Health (part 1)

We’re starting a series of conversations here this week at Beck’s Cafe with Brian King of Health and Education Services (HES) of Beverly, MA.  HES is the sponsor organization for the North East Transwomens Alliance (NETA) and for PRISM Health, a network of programs within Health & Education Services, Inc. committed to providing competent services for the LGBT community on the North Shore and Merrimack Valley.  Brian is the Director of HIV Prevention & Education at HES’s and the Executive Sponsor for the Gay & Bi Men’s Health Program, PRISM Health and NETA

If you were at First Event 2010 chances are you were accosted by some of the members of NETA/HES in their zeal to survey as many attendees as possible.  NETA and HES have a single mission with their organization: “dedicated to the health and well-being of transgender women living in New England.” Sounds like a pretty good mission to us here at Beck’s Café.  In fact HES has been in the business of helping people stay healthy for some time now and “provides a wide range of community based mental health and substance abuse, prevention and addiction services to Massachusetts’ Greater North Shore and Lower Merrimack Valley residents.”

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Transwomen’s Healthcare In-Focus: Interview with Brian King of Health & Education Services/PRISM LGBT Community Health (part 2)

In part 1 of our interview series with Brian King of HES/PRISM/NETA in Beverly, MA.  We introduced Brian King and the organizations he works with HES, PRISM and NETA.   We also talked a bit with Brian about Hepatitis and transwomen.  Today we’ll touch on how HES became interested in transwomen’s health and the importance of peer support.

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Split Lives-How compartmentalizing your life’s actions hollows out your life and what can you do to help yourself (Brian King/HES interview part 3)

In part 2 of our interview series with Brian King of HES/PRISM/NETA in Beverly, MA.  We learned how HES became interested in transwomen’s health and the importance of peer support. Today we’ll be talking with Brian about how people in the LGBT community can sometimes compartmentalize their behavior, what that means, and how  to help yourself.

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The need for affirmation in transgender women can sometimes drive risky behaviors; here’s what to do to stay safe (Brian King/HES interview part 4)

In part 3 of our interview with Brian King of HES/Prism/NETA in Beverly, MA  we learned about compartmentalizing behavior and how to help oneself be more integrated.  Here in part 4, our final post, we’re talking with Brian King about how the deep need for affirmation by transgender women can sometimes drive them to take risks they might not otherwise engage in.   We’ll also talk a bit about how transgender women can stay safe and conclude our interview with Brian.

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Massachusetts Transgender social & support group, SISTERS, meets with Capone’s Restaurant over discrimination

Discrimination still lives in America and right here in the Northeast no less. Not that such should come as a surprise. The Brazilians who come to our shores are sometimes harassed for just being here, women are discriminated against by being pigeon holed in entry level jobs, and transgender persons are too for just being who they are. You can see a whole list of what’s current in discrimination in Massachusetts by checking this quick Google search link in fact.

The most current hot and public issue in the transgender community though on discrimination is the Capone’s of Peabody MA vs. SISTERS discrimination affair. To bring our readers up to speed,

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Post First Event Blues

We had so much fun and learned so much at First Event 2010. About ourselves and about each other. I hugged till my arms hurt, smiled till my cheeks cramped, and loved the pink cloud and blue bedrock of our community. So many highlights it’s hard to process them all. But now that the party is over and we all get back to other priorities a let down can sometimes happen. This is true particularly if you’re newly out of the closet and if First Event was your first or among your first public venues.

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