Author Topic: What has been your experience with transgender organizations and support groups?  (Read 532 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline ChrissyRyan

  • “Have a gentle manner”
  • Family
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,704
  • Reputation: +34/-0
  • Gender: Female
  • No act of kindness, however small, is wasted.
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
Be a good example of good behavior.  Always be kinder than needed.  Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.  Serve others.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline Nadine Spirit

  • Little Mrs. Snarky
  • Friend
  • ****
  • Posts: 102
  • Reputation: +4/-0
  • Gender: Female
    • Unordinary Style
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. 

Offline ChrissyRyan

  • “Have a gentle manner”
  • Family
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,704
  • Reputation: +34/-0
  • Gender: Female
  • No act of kindness, however small, is wasted.
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.


Thank you for sharing.


Chrissy
Be a good example of good behavior.  Always be kinder than needed.  Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.  Serve others.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline JoanneB

  • *****
  • *
  • Posts: 3,702
  • Reputation: +60/-0
  • Gender: Female
  • Third times a charm?
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
.          (Pile Driver)  
                    |
                    |
                    ^
(ROCK) ---> ME <--- (HARD PLACE)

Offline ChrissyRyan

  • “Have a gentle manner”
  • Family
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,704
  • Reputation: +34/-0
  • Gender: Female
  • No act of kindness, however small, is wasted.
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


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
Be a good example of good behavior.  Always be kinder than needed.  Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.  Serve others.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline madeleine

  • *
  • Posts: 524
  • Reputation: +4/-0
  • Gender: Female
I've been involved with three local groups and I encourage everyone to try attending some kind of trans group.

How well it goes depends, in part, on how your goals match the group's focus.

Before covid, I attended a trans discussion group for a couple of months. It was great just to see and meet other trans people and it was very valuable for me at that time. It was all trans people: FTM, MTF, NB. And it was a "discussion" group, not a support group.  After covid, I attended a zoom version of this and I had a bad experience and am not planning on going back.

Now I attend groups that have set up zoom meetings since covid.  One is a "social" group and all transfolk are welcome, but it is mainly for transwomen. You can get and give support, but it is often light and fun.  I need this kind of thing and I enjoy it.  I'm not sure what the other group's focus is offically, I've only attended once, but it was also fun. It is for all trans: MTF, FTM, NB.

Offline ChrissyRyan

  • “Have a gentle manner”
  • Family
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,704
  • Reputation: +34/-0
  • Gender: Female
  • No act of kindness, however small, is wasted.
I've been involved with three local groups and I encourage everyone to try attending some kind of trans group.

How well it goes depends, in part, on how your goals match the group's focus.

Before covid, I attended a trans discussion group for a couple of months. It was great just to see and meet other trans people and it was very valuable for me at that time. It was all trans people: FTM, MTF, NB. And it was a "discussion" group, not a support group.  After covid, I attended a zoom version of this and I had a bad experience and am not planning on going back.

Now I attend groups that have set up zoom meetings since covid.  One is a "social" group and all transfolk are welcome, but it is mainly for transwomen. You can get and give support, but it is often light and fun.  I need this kind of thing and I enjoy it.  I'm not sure what the other group's focus is offically, I've only attended once, but it was also fun. It is for all trans: MTF, FTM, NB.


I think that it is good that groups are around, as well as transgender organizations and centers.  We can try them out and see where we fit in.  We can help others and we can get help. 
Some groups are run by therapists for their clients, others are formed on the fly or with the help of transgender centers or organizations.  Some are more social activity oriented and others are more for helping and discussion.

While some organizations are for the larger LGBTQ++ communities, others are there to directly serve and support the transgender community.

Chrissy
Be a good example of good behavior.  Always be kinder than needed.  Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.  Serve others.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline madeleine

  • *
  • Posts: 524
  • Reputation: +4/-0
  • Gender: Female
The groups I've gone to have all been for trans (you can be "questioning" but not cis) and they all have been related to some degree with a local LGBT center.

Offline Asche

  • Family
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,046
  • Reputation: +38/-0
  • Gender: Female
  • Non-binary M2F
I've been to support groups at three different places in our area.

When I was first exploring whether I was trans and in what way, I went to one support group.  It was poorly run, and the person in charge of trans services at that center seemed to regard it as mainly a source of trans people for the various research studies which paid for her programs.  Facilitation was poor to nonexistent.  I originally went because I wanted to get a feeling for what trans people actually were like, so I might have a guess as to what I was getting into.  It worked for that, though I think that it seemed to mostly attract the most confused and least successful trans people.

I went to a second one for a few years, but at some point they decided for reasons that were never explained to make me unwelcome.  I'm not sure it was much of a loss, as I never really felt safe there.

In both cases, I felt that the LGBT centers in question were mostly by and for gay men, and trans people kind of got the leavings.  The first center in particular had an enormous facility, but when a group of us wanted to rent a room to run a more supportive support group, we were told that they already had a trans support group and one was more than enough.  There was a gender-free dance group meeting that held monthly dances there for a while, but at some point the center decided to stop hosting them, so the group had to find space elsewhere.

The group I go to now is almost the opposite.  It's not a large LGBT center, but they have a director of trans services and have two support groups per month which are very well run, as well as various trans-related events. When COVID shut down the live services, they started doing Zoom sessions even more frequently than before.  Moreover, the lesbian support group is trans-inclusive and my being trans has never been an issue for them, whereas I gather most lesbian groups are not.  I think it's mainly due to the fact that the person who got it going is a woman and explicitly trans-friendly, so it isn't dominated by gay dude-bros the way many centers are.  They are also actively reaching out to the African-American and latinx communities.
"...  I think I'm great just the way I am, and so are you." -- Jazz Jennings



Complex PTSD

Offline SonadoraXVX

  • *
  • Posts: 381
  • Reputation: +7/-0
  • Gender: Female
  • In the here and now :)
lbgt organizations are good to ok, some of the participants have gotten hostile towards me at times(I think I'm gotten very emotionally sensitive), same goes for privately funded groups(boundaries issues, not me, but other people there). Why I tend to shy away from them, but still get some support from them. Now due to this covid 19, I stay home and do my daily activities, teeter tottering, on ever going back, since I'm learning very much to stealth in my future. I will still support organizations moneywise though
To know thyself is to be blessed, but to know others is to prevent supreme headaches
Sun Tzu said it best, "To know thyself is half the battle won, but to know yourself and the enemy, is to win 100% of the battles".




Offline ChrissyRyan

  • “Have a gentle manner”
  • Family
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,704
  • Reputation: +34/-0
  • Gender: Female
  • No act of kindness, however small, is wasted.
Thank you ladies for sharing.

For all others, do look for groups and organizations nearby as they may be helpful to you.
They do differ in services; however, they are there to be provide what their mission statements cover.

Chrissy
Be a good example of good behavior.  Always be kinder than needed.  Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.  Serve others.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline Rebecca28

  • ***
  • Posts: 84
  • Reputation: +1/-0
I have been in two different support groups in two different states. One was not at all supportive and I left after a couple of meetings. The other local to me was nice but located in a bad part of town. I was going to purchase protection to get out of my car to the meeting. With covid it’s now on zoom and much better and safer.

I have found each group had it’s good, and bad qualities. Listening to horror stories is very hard. My current group has a part of the meeting where we celebrate good things happening in our transition and private lives. Some times my dysphoria gets triggered and they understand and it’s ok to log off or take a short break from the meeting. After there’s a separate zoom Thats not a formal meeting but just people talking like coffee talk about anything they want with no formality of a meeting structure so it works.

Bottom line is you get what you put into them but realize it’s ok to take breaks or after if it’s really not working seek a more supportive group.  We all have different needs and wants from what we want to get out of these groups.

What are you looking for from the group? What are some of systems your willing to help the group?

Hugs, Rebecca

Offline KateR

  • Kate
  • *
  • Posts: 644
  • Reputation: +5/-0
  • Gender: Female
I’ve been involved with a few different groups, and have basically settled into one I really like.

Because of COVID we took it online via Zoom and are, most likely, going to keep a version of it online after COVID. 

(The only reason I know is because I provided the technical expertise to move it to Zoom and initially we used my Zoom account.)

If anyone wants more info, PM me.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Kate

Offline Michelle C

  • Visitor
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Reputation: +1/-0
I'm just coming to terms with being transgender and have just started reaching out to doctors for care.  As such, I'm interested in looking into a group but I'm also wary of what has been previously mentioned - the potential to get involved with a group making excuses & wanting easy answers. 

The last time I went to a support group, it was a single father's group that my attorney recommended to me at the onset of my divorce.  I went to one meeting.  I did go back, but I learned plenty at that one meeting.  The meeting has about six other fathers who were trying to get more custody of their kids. I think the max custody anybody had was one night a week - most were on professionally supervised visits.

I remember several of the fathers in that meeting... They each had different stories but the common theme was they were men getting beat down by a court system with systemic gender bias.  They were there for their children, but had a 'can't' mentality that was - to me - undeniably being reinforced in the meeting.  I walked out thinking, "I'm never coming back - I'm not going to be like these guys."  And today I have half custody of my daughter.

So where do you go when you know you're in for hardships if you move forward with your journey, but you also know you've faced hardship before and came out okay?  You know you can get through it but would like to find the support that would be offered by well adjusted, successful girls who have found a way to be happy with themselves?

Offline AllieSF

  • *****
  • Posts: 834
  • Reputation: +7/-0
  • Gender: Female
  • Ain't Life Grand!!
I have been to 3 different organized social groups for transgender individuals under the Transgender umbrella from crossdressers to post op transsexuals.  They were social orientated but offered a lot of support to their members and guests in the form of informal (one had a yearly formal dinner and dance) events from Game Night, to weekly luncheons held at an accepting restaurant of someone's home.  I have never been a formal groupie type of person and I went to have fun, meet new people and maybe find someone close to me to be a sidekick with whom I could go out regularly to enjoy all that San Francisco had to offer.

They were fun groups, one was very small and just met in a small warehouse that was loaded with used women's clothing that the owner tried to sell to transgender/crossdressing individuals.  That one was too small for me and not as much fun as another one.  Did I get support?  Yes, probably in the form of meeting some wonderful people in all phases of discovering themselves, or already knowing themselves but looking for a venue/group where they could be themselves.  I never attended a get together that was organized around discussing specific trans issues or topics.  There were themes for fun.  There were also some breakoff groups that got together for there own topics or cliques.

They can be fun, informative and a great learning experience when you find out that there are others just like you, and then just the building of one's self confidence by being in a safe place with like minded people.  I strongly recommend trying them for the whole experience or as a way to click with someone, to build courage, get some help and have some fun.

Allie
HRT - February 2017
Full Time - July 2018
Orchi - January 2018
BA - September 25, 2019
FFS - January 10, 2020
GRS - TBDDD (To Be Determined, Decision and Date)

Tags: