#SOFFAs in Transition: Resources for Partners and Family of Trans* Persons

Finding a kind and loving support network for all but the world’s luckiest folks is a lifelong project. Multiply that times…what…infinity?…and it’s that much more challenging for trans* persons of experience to cultivate and to find.

Times are changing…we have trans* prom kings and queens, and public shaming or dismissal of trans* folks is becoming the real taboo, as it should be. Unfortunately for every advancement, inexcusable ignorance becomes much more identifiable and still continues to proliferate.

So of course, we still have a long way to go—and the more resources, gatherings and health-related modalities and methodologies that come to light in order to support, help, uplift and empower trans* persons of experience and their loved ones, the better.

If you’re reading this, you aim to support or share supportive resources with trans* persons, friends, families members, peers or others in solidarity. Here’s hoping you find useful resources, places and spaces to share below.

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Embracing Your Strength: A Chat with Dreya Weber

“Now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been overturned, it’s like…why was it ever in place? Why?…. Let’s make it the world we want to be in….”

- Dreya Weber

Make ‘Em Say “Wow:” On Heart-Opening Compassion In Art

Dreya Weber generously shared her time with me for an interview to promote her tour with Teatro ZinZanni and her upcoming feature film “Raven’s Touch.

The words “embracing your strength” continued to come to mind during this conversation, because the healing alchemy of honoring oneself is swirling all through this interview like glitter in the air.

When you first connect with Dreya Weber’s presence, you might find that you’re forever emboldened. Whether striding forward as a P90x fitness mentor or flying through the air with the greatest of ease along with Pink, Cirque du Soleil, Teatro ZinZanni and many A-list pop stars, Dreya calms the room with an inimitable combination of dreaminess, grace, gentility and earth core-centered strength. Still, her humanity shines through–she’s no unicorn–she’s seen struggle that’s refined her strengths.

Touching upon, even, her first reels in “A Marine Story” or “The Gymnast,” you’re teleported into other worlds. Immediately, you care for the characters Dreya portrays. Even as her characters endure immense struggle and change, there’s an immediate trust that Dreya automatically articulates on-camera and off. Implicitly, you trust that she’ll both have and find her way.

She’s s a multimedia Artist, Writer, Producer, Actress, Dancer/Choreographer, Singer, and muse…the list goes on. But labels don’t define Dreya Weber—they don’t restrict her by any means.

Still, for context, here are just a handful of things Dreya Weber’s worked on and is working on:

She’s a regular musical, theatrical, and dance performer—including her choreography for worldwide tours on her own and with other artists including Madonna, Pink, Cher and Britney Spears. This includes traditional dance and her world renowned specialty, aerial dance and choreography, which she presented to the world in her starring role in her hit movie, “The Gymnast.” She’s an event and movie producer. She’s worked and performed with the Moscow State Circus and performed in an Olympics ceremony. In fact, She’s an Olympian-level trained athlete in many disciplines including baseball and fitness enduring trainer, and you likely know her from the best-selling fitness program P90X.

Of course, there’s always more to multi-hyphenate artists like Dreya—and lucky for us, her story continues to unfold.

What she calls ‘flow’ feels more like the outflow from her damn near Amazonian work ethic, fueled by constant motion and loving everything she does. Dreya embodies an ageless grace with and an absolutely loveable spirit.

A few of the topics Dreya addresses in the interview are:

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Her proactive role in changing the way theater and pop/rock performing companies work

Working and planning with the cast and crew on “This Is It”

The spiritual core in all things creative

Overcoming grief and embracing healing

Her upcoming movie “Raven’s Touch” (Dreya is a featured actress in the film and also wrote the screenplay.)

The quest to encourage men in creative and technical fields see women as real-world peers

Teamwork, meeting in the middle, and living in a space where everyone is always valued.

Her opinion on Russia’s anti-gay policies and the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics

The overturning of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and how “A Marine Story’s” cast and crew made a present narrative choice about it before it was overturned

What it means to be a strong woman…and claiming that strength

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Before and as we chatted, the recording equipment hiccuped in fits and starts.

Between my fangirl’ed out squeals of delight (and a thousand heart-opening “Wow’s!”) you can hear echoes of Dreya Weber’s resonant voice as the meter of our conversation skips.

And about all the recording hiccups and echoes…true to character, Dreya simply said, “I’m grateful that the technology exists at all. Great to be able to chat with you.”

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You can listen to the audio interview with Dreya Weber here, and remember to check out Dreya’s new movie “Raven’s Touch:” opening this spring.

 

Protecting Our Own: About The Wanda Alston House for Queer Youth of Color

 

 “I know there’s a place that you call your own/And you’re safe and warm and you feel like you’re home/

And the peace of it and the faith involved and you go to say…but/There’s no need to explain it / Still you try then you see that it’s okay.

You’re on your own / I see you lookin’ around at the people on the street/Well, things aren’t what they seem. / If you push them hard enough

You’ll find that most of them do not feel worthy of love./Now how did this come to be?”

- From “The Gospel According to Darkness” by Jane Siberry 

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Based in Northeast Washington, D.C., The Wanda Alston House in is the only housing facility and mentorship program of its kind in the area. Fully functioning as a nonprofit, the program cares for and works with LGBT and questioning youth–most of whom are homeless, HIV-positive, have mental or learning challenges–and assists them with job placement, career training and planning, serving as a place transitional housing and finding them permanent housing.

Founded in honor of Wanda Alston (who was a trans* woman, feminist activist, woman of color and LGBTQ ally), The Wanda Alston House is Wanda’s dream realized. According to the team at the House, it was Wanda’s last wish that LGBTQ persons of experience and people of color in the Washington D.C. area be granted temporary housing as a safe space to live as well as opportunities to create a better life.

The organization is always in need of volunteers and donations as well as select items on their wish list.

More About Wanda Alston:

“In the 1990s, Alston served in the National Organization for Women (NOW) as an executive assistant. She was also a co-leader in 1995 to the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing. She was a political organizer for five marches in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. She was an elected member of NOW’s National Board of Directors. Alston also worked as a political consultant and was active in the Democratic Party. She also worked as an events organizer with the Human Rights Campaign. She was active in the recovery movement in Washington, D.C. Alston was an active member of her local church, Unity of Washington.  She was also a leader in the LGBT community and was the acting director of the Washington, D.C. Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs from 2004 until her untimely passing.”

More About The Wanda Alston House:

The Wanda Alston House is the first and only housing program in Washington D.C. that is solely dedicated to offering pre-independent living services to homeless GLBTQ youth ages 16-24. Each young person is assigned a life skills counselor who works each day on issues related to employment/vocational training, housing, and other issues as needed. Each young person is housed in their own room and reside in a house with an advocate with extensive experience with housing and GLBTQ youth issues.

Services Include:

• Individual Counseling
• Support Groups
• Individual Treatment Plans
• Drop In Center
• HIV Prevention Counseling
• Referrals
• Showers
• Laundry
• Life Skills Workshops/Job Training and Educational Assistance
• Computer Lab
• HIV Testing
• Snacks

Wish List:

  • Non-perishable foods
  • Male and Female Hygiene Products
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Office supplies
  • Full sheet and comforter sets
  • Towels and wash cloths
  • New socks, underwear and T-shirts
  • School supplies and book bags.
  • Metro Cards and Fare Cards
  • Gift Cards (CVS, GIANT, Target, Old Navy, H&M)
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Video game systems

 

All donations are 100% tax deductible.

Monetary donations can also be mailed to the center, and The Wanda Alston House welcomes you to get in touch. Please visit http://www.wandaalstonhouse.org/Donate-Contact-Us.html for donation and contact information.

 

Campaign Launch for LGBT Rural Irish

Support for LGBT Youth in Isolated Areas of Ireland

“In rural areas, it can be harder for LGBT people to get to know other LGBT people or to find support, and sometimes LGBT people can experience discrimination or harassment or may feel isolated,” said Brian Sheehan, Director of GLEN, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network. Sheehan has been involved in LGBT equality and rights for over twenty years.

GLBT Advances in Ireland Should be Enjoyed by All

Ireland has seen many successes with LGBT equality. Every county in Ireland now has civil partnerships. Last June, over 35,000 people marched in Dublin’s LGBT Pride Parade. In 1993, the five -year campaign by GLEN, the ICCL and trade union movement among others led to Justice Minister Maires Geoghan –Quinn bringing a bill to the Oireachtas in 1993 which decriminalized homosexuality on the basis of equality.

Nevertheless, Sheehan wanted to ensure that visibility and positive change are available to everyone in the rural areas. Garvan Hickey, Chairman of the Rural Youth Initiative committee of Macra na Feirme, a youth group composed of 17 to 35 year-olds interested in agriculture, sports, travel, public speaking, performing arts, and community service, said he was “delighted to be involved with the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network to drive the campaign. It’s a natural partnership that facilitates the continued development of people in rural areas and raises important issues such as mental wellbeing.”

Booklet Aimed at Reducing Loneliness and Despair

Ireland’s suicide rate for young men is four times greater than in the UK, with over a quarter of young and gay men have attempted suicide. The new booklet, distributed by GLEN, targets the GLBT youth, especially in rural areas, to promote positive mental health and to highlight the support services available.

Campaign Plans Announced at National Ploughing Championshps

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Edna Kenny’s Coalition Government, since March 2011, Simon Coveney, unveiled the plans at the National Ploughing Championships held in Ratheniska, County Laois. For the first time in the Championship’s eighty-two –year history, a LGBT group attended the event.

Gay Men’s HIV/Awareness Day Is September 27

Time to recommit to research and Safe Sex Practices

While gay marriage and equal rights have made great strides this year, our fight against HIV/AIDS has not kept pace with those victories. Since the 1980’s, when the disease was first recognized, 274,000 have died. More than 487,000 gay and bisexual men in the United States have been diagnosed with AIDS. HIV incidence has been increasing steadily among gay and bisexual men since the early 1990’s, with increases in reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM).

Other Alarming Statistics

• Gay and bisexual men account for 63% of new HIV infections .
• Among those between 13 and 24, there’s a 22% increase.
• Daily, more than eighty gay and bisexual men become infected with HIV in the United States.
• Young black gay and bisexual men have a higher rate of HIV infection than any other population in this country.
• Gay men comprise over half of the total number HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S.
• One in five gay and bisexual men are living with HIV in the United States

Take The Pledge for Change and Commitment

Hundreds of organizations, including PFLAG National, the largest organization for families, friends, and straight allies united with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, signed on to a letter pledging to re-engage with the broader LGBT community in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Follow their lead and join in the battle, too!

The Joint pledge states that “despite these alarming statistics, which have galvanized our community in the past, the HIV epidemic has seemed to fall by the way side. Many in our community have simply stopped talking about the issue. This must change. “ To read the entire letter, visit http://www.wetheeigbt.org.
What You Can Do
• If you’re a policy maker, fight to protect and expand HIV treatment and prevention programming and fight to stop HIV criminalization at the federal, state and local level.
• If you are an LGBT organization, be certain to speak to your constituents about the continued toll this epidemic has on our community.
• If you’re an LGBT donor, support causes that support the health of the community.
• Get tested, know your status, and join the battle to end this epidemic.
While September 27th is Gay Men’s Awareness Day, be vigilant every day about supporting the cause to eradicate this preventable dise

Spark Queer Outreach: #SPARKRJ To Host Trans*/Queer Inclusive Healthcare Chat on 9/25

 

“SPARK’s work will be complete when Georgia and the South continuously cultivate communities where we can all make sustainable and liberatory decisions about our bodies, genders, sexualities, families, and lives.”

- From “Our Vision” / SPARKRJ.org

Spark Queer Outreach: #SPARKRJ To Host Trans*/Queer Inclusive Healthcare Chat on 9/25/13

The Atlanta, Georgia-based reproductive justice organization Spark Reproductive Justice Now works tirelessly to build community and facilitate ever-progressive opportunities for access to affordable healthcare. Executive Director Malika Redmond, and the #SPARKRJ team are seeing to it that services and care connected to the Affordable Health Care Act are proactively made available to all who need it.

Because universal healthcare is more theoretical than in practice in America at this time, seeing #SPARKRJ’s upcoming trans*/queer-inclusive healthcare chat make its way to the top of the Twitter timeline sets in motion an immediate call to arms on traditional healthcare status quo: “Let a sister and a brother know–you deserve access now!”

So check out the det’s:

#SPARKRJ is hosting a Tweet Chat on 9/25 at 3:00 PM Eastern Time: “How Trans*/Queer Hate Impacts Healthcare Access.”

Attendance is especially recommended for medical or mental healthcare workers, practice administrators, physicians, educators/academicians in medical fields, LGBTQ volunteers, allies, gay-friendly professionals and diversity advocates. Still of course, all interested parties are invited to participate.

If you can’t make it, please spread the word, and you can still check back in with #SPARKRJ for a transcript, or follow and visit @SPARKRJNOW to check out their timeline archive of this very important conversation.

What is Reproductive Justice?

Also from the organization’s website:

“SPARK defines Reproductive Justice as a social justice movement rooted in the belief that individuals and communities should have the resources and power to make sustainable and liberatory decisions about their bodies, genders, sexualities, and lives. Reproductive Justice is pro-sex, sexuality, gender, queer bodies, access to abortion and contraception, birth rights and chosen families, and so much more! Reproductive justice is struggling towards liberation within and with community. “

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Recently, Malika Redmond spoke at the National Domestic Workers Alliance Healthcare for All Rally and Press Conference (follow #Healthcare4All on Twitter for tweeted updates on this topic). To give you a feel for the heart-centered passion of this organization as well as select topics to be addressed in the upcoming Twitter chat, check out what Malika has to say below.

“We will be public. We are not ashamed. We know that the people in Georgia deserve to have healthcare. It is undeniable. For our communities that are disproportionately impacted, it is not okay for people to have to chose between rent and necessary X-Rays…to have to choose between their prescriptions and being able to get back and forth to work.”

“In this country—one of the wealthiest countries on this planet…that anyone will have to decide between their livelihood, their ability to take care of their children, and being able to get the necessary healthcare for themselves and their families. We have an opportunity today…to make it right….”

Source

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Healthcare professionals, practices and organizations who fumble the ball when it comes to LGBTQ-specific needs and disparities often do so because the required continued education they seek doesn’t include cognizance of the ever-changing landscape of LGBTQIA culture, so they lack the information—or at least the current information—required to properly treat patients in community.

It will be great to experience ideas and suggestions from folks working on the front lines in Georgia as well as the questions and comments coming from those who are most affected by lack of access to healthcare and those who want to close the disparity gaps.

Everybody say love,”

Jaye

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Click the link below for more information about the #SPARKRJ Tweet Chat and to share it with your friends, family and peers:

http://ow.ly/i/3apS5

 

 

New #ComingOut Models: LGBT Sibling Study Seeks Participants, Aims to Educate.

New #ComingOut Models: LGBT Sibling Study Seeks Participants, Aims to Educate.

As “tolerance” for out, queer persons of experience shapeshifts its way through to LGBTQ-friendliness and inclusion, “coming out” isn’t necessarily the simultaneous beginning and ending of a life story anymore. It doesn’t always have to end in tears. While it’s not necessarily an expectation or assumption that queer or questioning folks come out formally (rather than just “being out”), academicians, researchers and activists continue to inform us that closeted existence is unhealthy, to say the least….

A new LGBT-focused study seeks to make a substantive difference in achieving and enjoying an optimal life experience: doctoral researcher Katie Barrow is co-leading a research study and actively recruiting participants who are LGBT siblings. How might two siblings who are LGBTQ thrive within families and in our culture?

If you can help them out, you can also earn a bit of cash in the process. Please read and forward the call for participants below:

When A Second Sibling Comes Out – Call for Participants

Are you interested in talking about your experiences as being the second sibling in your family to come out as a sexual minority/LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)?

If so, please consider participating in a 30-45 minute interview via telephone or face-to-face.

To be eligible:

*You must identify as a sexual minority/LGBT and be 18-35 years of age

* Have a sibling who also identifies as a sexual minority/LGBT

*You and your sibling must be out to at least one parent/caregiver in your family

*If possible, you must identify as the second sibling to come out as a sexual minority/LGBT

If this sounds like you, please consider participating! Eligible parties will receive a $20 Visa gift card for completing the 30-45 minute interview!

For more information, please contact K. Barrow at [email protected]

To see more, please check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EheXko63azs

Feel free to tweet your questions, concerns or interest at  Twitter to : @gaysiblingstudy

This study has been approved by the Virginia Tech IRB #13473.

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How The Study’s Results Will Help

Katie Barrow generously shared with us how she plans to use the study results. In an email sent earlier this month, Katie wrote:

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I’ll be happy to clarify how the results will be used.

This study serves a multitude of purposes, and they go hand-in-hand. Two purposes are listed below:

1.) Advancement of knowledge. This is the most basic, yet vital reason we are conducting this study. Beyond biological studies looking at when a family has more than one son…there have been no developmental, contextual, or familial investigations asking the question of, “What happens in a family when two children both identify as a sexual minority?” It’s a broad stroke, yes, but we are casting a wide net to see what kind of information we can get!

2.) And because there is no research that looks at how a family responds to two same-sex siblings, our second goal is to apply our knowledge. We would like to begin creating coming out models so that community professionals (e.g., therapists, PFLAG groups) who come in contact with someone who is LGBT and also has an LGBT sibling, or a parent/caregiver who has two same-sex children, can be more informed of this phenomena and therefore offer more comprehensive treatment and/or guidance.

Thank you so much!

Best,

Katie

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Again, please spread the word about this study—we trust it will help many LGBTQ persons of experience, families, allies and organizations out there, which is turn, helps our community and those who seek to understand us. If you qualify for the study as indicated above, please click here to begin the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7WLM5ZZ.

 

Today In #LGBTHealth – New LGBT Health Journal Launches

“President Obama’s commitment to the gay and lesbian communities underscores the importance of providing them with the best healthcare options – both physical health and mental health.”

-Mary Ann Liebert: President and CEO, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers

Today In #LGBTHealth – New LGBT Health Journal Launches

LGBT Health, a new peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers, has now officially launched this month.

According to their website, the academic healthcare journal concerning LGBTQIA issues “will identify crucial LGBT healthcare needs and the means to address them, providing a much-needed authoritative source and international forum in all areas pertinent to LGBT health and healthcare services.”

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a renowned publisher specializing in scientific, technical, and medical fields, supplying peer-reviewed publications to the knowledge and information industries. This is their first LGBT-focused publication.

Its first editorial piece entitled “A New Era for LGBT Health” was written and published during LGBT Health’s soft launch in July. Written by Editor-in-Chief William Byne MD, PhD, it begins: “This is a historical moment for launching a journal devoted to LGBT health, and it is with great enthusiasm that we do so.”

He then goes on to establish the reasons for the creation of LGBT Health as well as reminding the reader of the fact that in the United States, the potential for universal healthcare is becoming more and more of a reality now that barriers to affordable healthcare have been lowered. He then goes on to detail how much more important it is that the LGBT community’s needs be addressed in light of these opportunities–both in the States and worldwide, where healthcare disparities are even more pronounced for queer populations, and in general.

His ending statement in the article ushers in a forward-looking and forward-thinking approach to LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare. He combines realism and optimism as he writes, “While much remains to be done, there are now many reasons for optimism concerning the health and human rights of sexual and gender minority persons worldwide. Support for LGBT healthcare equality from the principal health institutions and the highest levels of government in the United States and numerous peer countries has never been higher. Yet we should not be lulled into complacency by this recent progress. On the contrary, we must continue to organize locally, nationally, and internationally, to educate ourselves, and to redouble our efforts to ensure that we continue to move forward until LGBT health equality becomes a global reality.”

Other articles in the first edition of the publication reinforce their globally-inclusive mission: while the research focus begins in the United States, LGBT Health’s editorial team and contributors will share clinical studies and reports that help to inform and empower LGBTQ healthcare practitioners and communities worldwide.

Visitors can read this publication online in PDF or HTML/regular website formats.

Please click here to contribute to upcoming issues,  and click here to read the current issue of LGBT Health.

 

HIV/AIDS Education Program Coming to Birmingham, AL

Innovative Program Tested in Black Churches

Dr. Magdalena Szaflarski, professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Sociology plans on implementing her successful Ohio HI/AIDS research, education/prevention program in Birmingham’s African-American churches. The innovative program had funding from the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training at the University of Cincinnati.

Her Experiment

Szaflarski and her colleagues worked with the churches for a year. They received funding from the Center for Clinical and Transitional Science and Training at the University of Cincinnati. They engaged community organizers to brainstorm faith-based strategies to address HIV. The data was analyzed and dispersed throughout the churches. Mini-grants help the churches enhance their HIV programming.

The data from the study:: “Faith-Based HIV Prevention and Counseling Programs: Findings from the Cincinnati Census of Religious Congregations,” was recently published in AIDS and Behavior.
Szaflarski found a need for this program. “Black faith leaders are often unaware of the extent of HIV epidemic in their community.

With funding from the National Instiitutes of Health, she collected data in the Cincinnati-area and into Kentucky from 447 religious congregations, including black churches’ HIV/AIDS programs. Specifically, she asked the churches if they offered any HIV prevention programs, education, testing or counseling in the last two years. She also polled them on their theology and its relationship with HIV programming.

Findings of the Survey

• More than a third of Black Protestant congregations in the study offered HIV/AIDS prevention programs, education, testing or counseling at the time of the study.
• More than 60% did not engage in HIV-related activities, although their communities were likely affected by HIV.
• Factors that influenced churches’ engagement in HIV programming that explained most of the variation included location, membership and broader community involvement..
After she gathered this information, she next worked with a team of community stakeholders, including a faith-based HIV/STD testing agency and a university-based AIDS education center, to help the churches come up with programs to educate their communities about the disease within their religion.

“We talked to them about the HIV epidemic among African-Americans as well as related social and cultural challenges. We asked them: are you ready to be an educational center, develop prevention programming and perhaps allow HIV testing in your congregation?” Szaflarski said.

Ripple Effect

“The community program is taking a life of its own,” exclaimed Dr. Szaflarski. “Our pilot program has made an impact. We have helped to mobilize the faith community to take a stand on HIV.”

Initiative for Transgender Leadership Launches Groundbreaking Youth Mentorship Program – Starts October 2013

Initiative for Transgender Leadership

Based in Pittsburgh and Erie Pennsylvania and founded in 1972, The Persad Center is the United States’ second oldest licensed counseling center which was created specifically to serve the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community.

As one of The Persad Center’s many trans* empowering projects, the Initiative for Transgender Leadership (established in 2010) recently announced the launch of their brand new Peer Mentorship Program Kick-off Weekend for Trans* Youth.

ITL posted the following announcement on their blog -

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The mission of the ITL is to positively impact community life through professional and leadership development of transgender youth.

Join us if you want to:

Become a skilled, connected and confident mentor to your peers

Be part of a supportive and awesome group of people committed to making the world a better place for trans* youth

Develop your professional and leadership capacities

Come to our kick-off weekend October 4-6th–

Were you will meet other local trans* youth, learn the basics of being a mentor, practice non-violent communication, eat great food and find out about ITL’s Peer Mentorship Program to see if you want to join. Meals will be provided, bus fare is available, and the whole weekend is free!

Location: ITL co-founder Madeleine Hershey will be hosting the Kick Off at her house [contact ITL for a specific address]. The house is handicap accessible.

Who is invited? The ITL Peer Mentorship Program is for people of trans* experience, ages 16-26. The program will benefit from a diversity of experiences, backgrounds and identities. If you identify as trans*, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, or you feel you belong in this program, we welcome you.

We hope that after participating in the kick-off weekend you will decide to commit to the full Peer Mentorship Program, which will meet for 20 three-hour sessions between October 2013 and May 2014.

Those who choose to join the program will receive a small regular stipend, bus fare as needed, and lunch on program days. The goal of the ITL Peer Mentorship Program is to produce a group of well-informed, confident and competent young trans* people who, by becoming experts in themselves, are ready, willing and able to provide information, mentorship and support to others in their communities. The Peer Mentorship Program was designed by trans* youth and the ITL team to be participant-driven. In other words: YOU decide what information and activities are priorities, and facilitate the program together with your peers.

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On Leveraging Opportunities

One-on-one mentorship, education, leadership training, financial stipend-based support and career opportunities are invaluable for our trans* brothers and sisters, and of particular value for trans* youth in their formative years. Programs such as the California-based Brown Boi Project exist to help address this need, and it’s hopeful, rewarding and encouraging to see ITL launching one more uplifting program for young trans* folks.

Congratulations to The Persad Center’s and ITL!

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To show your support of their helpful work, send encouragement or sponsor a peer mentor, please send a check, made out to Persad Center, with “ITL” in the memo line. You can mail that to The Persad Center, 5150 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224 .

For more information, please visit the ITL Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PghTransLeadership) or email: [email protected].

Please also spread the word to folks who would benefit from participation in this mentorship initiative.