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What has been your experience with transgender organizations and support groups?

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ChrissyRyan:
What has been your experience with transgender support organizations (not-for-profits or centers) and support groups?

Have they been generally positive for you?
Were the services provided ones that were useful for you?
Which ones did you use?

Support groups meet sometimes at these centers or wherever they can. 
Have they been helpful?  Were they helpful for you when you were in the early stage of your transition as well as later?  Were any not helpful because some members thought that you “have not progressed as far as you need to be part of the group” or they somehow made you feel unwanted?

The transgender centers can be very helpful with providing referrals or lists of transgender friendly businesses, gender therapists, MDs, clinics, legal services, fun outings and events, a place to just hang out, information sharing, outreach services, significant other and parent help, support groups, and more.

Chrissy

Nadine Spirit:
I've gone to a local LGBT+ center near me for support group meetings.  I have mixed feelings about it all honestly.  For a couple of years I went often.  It is a mixed group of trans and non-binary individuals.  It is not a therapy group, it is a support group.  Sometimes it was the best and I met some good people there.  I gained lots of experience with the larger trans community.  I got to meet many non-binary humans as well.  It was very educational for me. 

But, was it all that supportive, I dunno.  I often felt that I was supporting much more than I received support.  The longer I went the more on the outside of things I felt.  Which was kind of opposite of what I thought was going to happen.  Eventually it became clear that I was not really helping all that many people there by attending.  Many of the people that went there were quite resentful of me. 

To many of them, I have everything that they have wanted.  I have a spouse, I have a career, I have a house, I have money to pay for my transition, and many of them have none of that.  Thus when topics came up, like trying to change your voice to match your insides, and I would recommend an SLP, they would roll their eyes at me and say, no we need free ways to change our voices that will be easy and will work flawlessly.  When I tried explaining that was not really reflective of reality, they would get mad at me. 

Little by little, I got the feeling that many of the people that went there thought that since I did not experience being transgender the way that they did, I do not really know what it means to be transgender.  Which I thought was really just too weird.  I mean I get it, I AM privileged. I do have lots that other's don't have.  But that doesn't mean I don't know what it is to be trans. 

I went to a different group for awhile.  That was a group arranged by my therapist.  It was a collection of her clients.  Some women, some men, some non-binary humans.  It was an actual therapy group, led by our therapist.  That group was fabulous and nothing but kind and supportive. 

In the end what I have seen, (and this comes from only the 2 groups I have attended and thus my experience is very limited and is only my personal thoughts on the matter) the free group, the support group, was filled with people who were looking for easy options.  They were very much looking for someone to help them.  While the actual therapy group was filled with people who were aware that there are no easy options and had decided that they needed to help themselves.  Thus one group was very giving while one group was very needy. 

Sadly, the giving group, my therapy group had to stop because my therapist moved and the needy group, the support group, I decided I was not in a healthy enough position to help them the way they needed. 

ChrissyRyan:

--- Quote from: Nadine Spirit on August 23, 2020, 07:08:15 am ---I've gone to a local LGBT+ center near me for support group meetings.  I have mixed feelings about it all honestly.  For a couple of years I went often.  It is a mixed group of trans and non-binary individuals.  It is not a therapy group, it is a support group.  Sometimes it was the best and I met some good people there.  I gained lots of experience with the larger trans community.  I got to meet many non-binary humans as well.  It was very educational for me. 

But, was it all that supportive, I dunno.  I often felt that I was supporting much more than I received support.  The longer I went the more on the outside of things I felt.  Which was kind of opposite of what I thought was going to happen.  Eventually it became clear that I was not really helping all that many people there by attending.  Many of the people that went there were quite resentful of me. 

To many of them, I have everything that they have wanted.  I have a spouse, I have a career, I have a house, I have money to pay for my transition, and many of them have none of that.  Thus when topics came up, like trying to change your voice to match your insides, and I would recommend an SLP, they would roll their eyes at me and say, no we need free ways to change our voices that will be easy and will work flawlessly.  When I tried explaining that was not really reflective of reality, they would get mad at me. 

Little by little, I got the feeling that many of the people that went there thought that since I did not experience being transgender the way that they did, I do not really know what it means to be transgender.  Which I thought was really just too weird.  I mean I get it, I AM privileged. I do have lots that other's don't have.  But that doesn't mean I don't know what it is to be trans. 

I went to a different group for awhile.  That was a group arranged by my therapist.  It was a collection of her clients.  Some women, some men, some non-binary humans.  It was an actual therapy group, led by our therapist.  That group was fabulous and nothing but kind and supportive. 

In the end what I have seen, (and this comes from only the 2 groups I have attended and thus my experience is very limited and is only my personal thoughts on the matter) the free group, the support group, was filled with people who were looking for easy options.  They were very much looking for someone to help them.  While the actual therapy group was filled with people who were aware that there are no easy options and had decided that they needed to help themselves.  Thus one group was very giving while one group was very needy. 

Sadly, the giving group, my therapy group had to stop because my therapist moved and the needy group, the support group, I decided I was not in a healthy enough position to help them the way they needed.

--- End quote ---


Thank you for sharing.


Chrissy

JoanneB:
My experience is somewhat along the line of Nadine's. I've been to a few different groups, and they all have their own flavors. From my primary group members I can relay that in their experiences different groups can fill different needs. Plus those needs can change over time.

Still, when I draw on my newbie inner self, I always recommend to others to reach out to local LGBT organizations and, if they are fortunate enough to, to local TG orgs which can be few and far between once you are out of major urban areas.

Given the vast sea change over the past 20 years the moderator/mentor of my group said to me during my "Interview" that all that is asked of the members is just "to be there". Back 50 years ago  (pre-Christine Jorgensen) hardly anyone even heard of TG. 20 years ago it was still most hadn't. Somehow I can't help but to think just being in a room full of people with many feeling much the same you do has a powerfull positive effect on how you feel about yourself

ChrissyRyan:

--- Quote from: JoanneB on August 23, 2020, 07:59:16 am ---My experience is somewhat along the line of Nadine's. I've been to a few different groups, and they all have their own flavors. From my primary group members I can relay that in their experiences different groups can fill different needs. Plus those needs can change over time.

Still, when I draw on my newbie inner self, I always recommend to others to reach out to local LGBT organizations and, if they are fortunate enough to, to local TG orgs which can be few and far between once you are out of major urban areas.

Given the vast sea change over the past 20 years the moderator/mentor of my group said to me during my "Interview" that all that is asked of the members is just "to be there". Back 50 years ago  (pre-Christine Jorgensen) hardly anyone even heard of TG. 20 years ago it was still most hadn't. Somehow I can't help but to think just being in a room full of people with many feeling much the same you do has a powerfull positive effect on how you feel about yourself

--- End quote ---


I agree that just being there in a supportive environment with others who are transgender or who are helping us can have a positive impact.

Chrissy

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