About three months ago one of the local mental health therapists approached Sarah and I about having a community group for trans people. She had recently seen a trans person in her practice and thought that a group might be helpful for people trying to find their way in the world after discovering that they are trans. In researching the issue and meeting with an LGBT group in a nearby community, we decided the group should not be limited to trans but to the entire LGBT community.
Last night was the first meeting. The local Unitarian Universalist Church offered space for the meeting. Twenty one people attended AND there were six people who identified as trans!! Everyone who attended the meeting was so appreciative of the effort to have an LGBT group. We are all looking forward to getting together and making some positive changes in our community.
Sarah was the leader for the group and I must say she did a wonderful job. She seems to have a knack for making people feel at ease.
As the meeting was winding down, one of the trans couples came up to me to say that they had to go and to thank us for getting the group together. The trans guy sort of offer his hand to shake hands but I reached out and gave him a hug. He told me thanks for the hug and said that he was reluctant to offer to hug people because he didn't always know how people would react to him. That made me really sad for him...............and for us. There are times that I don't know how to approach some people. Some people think we are evil or as the Bible would say an abomination and shy away from us.
This kind of treatment is a part of the trans couple's life. There were people in our church who would not exchange the peace with us simply because of who we were. Before Sarah and I became a couple, I would always walk into a room expecting that people would accept me. I never thought twice about it. If the people in the room didn't like me, I would assume they had a problem or that I had actively done something to make them angry. In the past, I would have never given a thought to people not accepting me simply because of who I was. Today that is not true. Knowing that people may have issues simply with who I am makes me a little more hesitant in engaging people. I no longer walk into a room knowing that I will automatically be accepted.
That is one of the reasons that having a LGBT group is so important. To be able to walk into a room where people accept you just as you are is such an uplifting experience. To know that you do not have to hide parts of your life from others is such a relief. Sarah and I had attended a LGBT group out of town a couple of years ago and the love and support that group offered me was immensely helpful. I hope this group can offer the same kind of love and support to others.