Arts & Entertainment
A Year Of Promise Ahead
State's Support Services A Growth Area
Originally printed 1/3/2013 (Issue 2101 - Between The Lines News)
The coming year shows a lot of promise for the transgender community. Our visibility has increased much over the last year.
However, there is still one thing that we are missing. A number of years ago non-lesbian and gay individuals began to show support for the gay community. This has greatly helped the gay community to gain acceptance. Honestly, that is one thing that for the most part the transgender community is still lacking.
This coming year we must reach out to the LGB and straight communities. We must ask for their support and even more importantly for their action. We desperately need non-transgender people to join us in the call for transgender inclusion and transgender rights. We need them to call their legislators, write letters and demand employers to accept and treat better the transgender community in their employment.
Unfortunately, most LGBT organizations and agencies do not fully include the transgender community. It is up to us, the transgender community, to reach out to friends, families, neighbors and everyone to support our community. The transgender community must become much more comfortable asking for support and for action. The key is that we must ask our supporters to come out of the closet as transgender supporters. This may sound silly but overall transgender community supporters keep their support quiet and guarded. This must change!
We will not be asking for anything that the lesbian and gay community has not been asking for years. It is regular practice of the gay and lesbian community to ask for support. Even leaders of the transgender community are not good at asking for financial help for their organizations. Leaders of transgender organizations must also gain skills to write grants and raise resources.
March 31 is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. This is the one day every year that the transgender community around the world comes together for visibility and for pride. This year around the world we must also ask for our supporters to show their visibility. This is a very unique day for the transgender community. As a community we are much better at mourning for transgender people who have been killed than at showing our visibility and our pride. Showing our visibility and our pride is an important step in the process of asking for support.
On a more local level, 2012 has been a year of progress for the Transgender Community in Michigan. Great progress was made in offering support to ever more transgender individuals throughout the state.
Transgender Michigan has helped many new groups to form. We have more chapters and affiliates then at any time in the past. Also, new transgender organizations have formed in Michigan that show much promise. As I am writing this article a chapter of Transgender Michigan is forming in the Traverse City area. This is an achievement for both Transgender Michigan and Traverse City.
Transgender Michigan is now also working with the HIV transgender community in our partnership with Michigan AIDS Coalition. This population is one of the fastest growing HIV populations. As a result of the sharing of needles, etc., HIV is now a major issue for the transgender community. Hopefully soon, Transgender Michigan will be providing HIV testing for the transgender community. This will be accompanied by work in the HIV prevention area.
Also this past year major transgender events had record breaking attendance. The Transgender Michigan Pride in the Park had a record showing along with the Michigan Transgender Health Fair. Transgender Michigan recently started chapters in Lansing, Sault Ste. Marie, Detroit, and Traverse City. This increases the effort to truly represent the whole state of Michigan.Rachel Crandall, MSW, is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Transgender Michigan Director, an Transgender Advocate Trainer, and a "notorious rabble rouser." She is the Founder of the Michigan LGBT Disability Coalition, a board member for Michigan Equality and a Transgender therapist. For more information about Transgender Michigan, go to http://www.TransgenderMichigan.org. Read about last year's Transgender Pride in the Park at http://gaybe.am/y7. Nothing keeps Rachel from taking your help line call. Do you need someone to talk to? Do you wish you could talk to another transgender person? Reach Rachel at 517-420-1544.
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