Thoughts While Reading- Community Voices OnPoint with Samantha

Greetings, I was just reading Matthew Granaham’s  book “Man into Woman,” and I don’t know why but thoughts started popping into my head which inspired me to write this post. When I started doing these blog posts it was easy to think up topics, now that I’ve been doing them for a couple months, not so easy. But lets get to the point. This post is going to state and inspire questions, but unfortunately offer no answers, those are going to be different for each of us.

In an earlier post I refereed briefly to a butterfly in relation to being transgender. (That was my post titled “Earlier”.) I said: When the caterpillar starts out it IS a caterpillar, but then through its journey it wraps itself in a cocoon and emerges a caterpillar?  No it’s a butterfly. A beautiful, colorful butterfly. So what you saw first as one being is now another.

Being Trans is in my opinion related well to a butterfly. Starting life as a caterpillar = “birth assigned gender”, going through life, learning, experiencing life in general, and most of all figuring out who you are. Then you weave the cocoon and start to change = transition.  Transforming from who you were to who you want to be,or as a lot of us would say ”to become who you TRULY are.” Then you burst out of the cocoon, not necessarily as brightly dressed or colorful as some, but bright enough to know yourself and know you are flying free in the slightly grey world and you have to be careful.

another way to think about it is, being trans is like moving to a new city, you explore and venture a little further each day, covering more terrain each time going feeling more comfortable. Getting the courage required to go further and further until you know your city well.

In relating this to my own Trans Journey, I’m not sure I feel much different about how I feel. I feel I’m pretty much the same person I always was. It was rather surprising how little my personality had changed in all this. It had merely adapted itself to new and differing circumstances, main difference is being happy. My tastes have changed a bit, a change of clothes, that’s just a surface thing though, not as important as the gender stuff but it is closely related.  You have to be willing to leave parts of your old life behind and feel what you feel and just go with it, you can’t judge yourself, you must just give yourself room to make changes, as the previously mentioned caterpillar.

I want to feel alive, alive in a way that matters to me. We have to remember to give ourselves enough support from other people as we can. We can’t just cut off ties from our old life and not replace them with new ones. Socializing is very important, you can’t do this alone. The best way to do all of these items will vary from person to person.

It’s going to take some time. It should be expected that you have some problems with it. You’ve got some major adjustments to make. But the good thing is you have time, there is no hurry to finish.

This quote from the author pretty much sums up what I thing we all should strive for. “I feel comfortable: comfortable in my body, comfortable in my skin, comfortable in this place, comfortable with my thoughts, comfortable with my feelings, comfortable with my personality, comfortable with where I’m going and with where I’ve been.” Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!

That’s my Trans point of view.

Samantha

A Bit of an Introduction-Community Voices On Point with Abandon

Hi. My name is Abandon, It is nice to meet you. I guess you could say that I am a new-old volunteer at the GLCC. I first started volunteering at the center when it was still at the squirrel hill location. I worked the CRIS line but I mainly spend my time working in the library. I also helped move the Library to this location and did some preliminary sorting before my schedule at work and I had to cut back my hours till I pretty much just helped at the Youth Activity Booth during pride for the past couple years. I recently was able to shift my work schedule a bit that I am now able to return to helping out that the center. Naturally, I gravitated towards the library since I am avid reader and pretty much all around book nerd. But I pretty much like lending a hand wherever I can.
To give a little more background information about me–I identify as Agender which is on the Trans spectrum and can mean different things to different people from having a neutral relationship to gender to not identifying with gender at all. I personally do not identify with gender at all. I have been in the LGBTQA++ community as in actually being “in” the community since 1999 when I was part of West Virginia University’s version of a Gay/Straight alliance which at the time was called BiGLM (Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Mountaineers). At the time I was still figuring myself out and pretty much just defaulted to a Gay because while I knew who I wasn’t it I didn’t have the words to describe the person I really was inside. Since being born and raised in rural West Virginia at in the late 70’s and 80’s I just didn’t have access to resources that a lot of people just take for granted today. In fact it wasn’t until just before I moved from Morgantown WV to the Pittsburgh area in 2008, that I was able to grasp on to terms that I felt really described the other aspects of my identity.
Thank you for your time and I am excited to help contribute to this blog.
Abandon.

Being Trans- Community Voice OnPoint with Samantha

Being Trans is not fun, easy, or cheap.  As a matter of fact it is hard work and gets rather expensive. I’m not trying to scare anyone but, I would not wish the trans life on my worst enemy!

In my experience and opinion it is overflowing with extra emotions that most non-trans people don’t deal with. One of the first emotional things is admitting your feelings TO YOURSELF, and getting the courage to get help from others. You have to be able to tell others so you can talk to a therapist to get approved for starting hormone therapy. Then you have to find a LGBT friendly doctor to prescribe the hormones. Finding the courage just for those three issues  is a HUGE accomplishment.

Then you start into the emotional  (“JOY”-not) of figuring out how to tell friends, family, coworkers as well as the rest of the world. Again, my experience, telling friends  and coworkers was much easier than telling family. I found it easier to stare with friends, one at a time, and with each one that accepted me it gave me more confidence and that bit of confidence built up and made it easier to tell the next. It was harder to tell close family because the “WHAT IF”… and the strong connections. In my experience the absolute HARDEST was my mom. We have become very close over the years, you might think that would make it easier but it didn’t.

Then it starts into the financial issues related to being trans. Even if you have insurance that covers it, you have the co-payment for therapy, and the same for the doctor’s visits. Chances are you will need a total new wardrobe, which isn’t cheap even if you stick to the thrift shops like i did. Along with all of the accessories in my opinion there are a lot more accessories for trans women than trans men, but that is beside the point.  Of course the largest financial issue is the SRS surgery itself.

Plus you have all of the legal issues that are attached to both the emotional and financial issues.  You have to follow the proper steps to legally change your gender markers, name change (unless you have one of the names that can be either gender). As well as the other legal issues you have the concerns of when you can use which restroom. Stupid, I know, right?

There are many factors in each issue I haven’t mentioned, there are so many that I can’t list them all.  Even though I would not wish being trans on anyone, I believe it made me a more well-rounded person.  We have all heard the line “You don’t understand how it is! You need to walk a mile in my shoes!”. Well I have walked many miles in the shoes of a man and also a woman, so I felt I can relate possibly better than a non-trans person.

That’s my Trans point of view.

Samantha

GLCC BLOG – weekend hapening 1/29/16

Greetings!

Here’s some of the stuff coming up!!

Weekend Happenings!

STONEWALL SPORTS GIVES BACK

stonewall kickwallFriday Night – Bar Crawl in Shadyside. Drink Specials at 5801 and SPIN. No cover charge for SPIN’s Dance Floor

Saturday Daytime – Service Project: Cancer Caring Center in Bloomfield(Note: This service project is full!!)

Saturday Night – GALA event at Phipps Conservatory in the Tropical Rainforest with Open Bar, Passed Appetizers, DJ, Dancing, Performances, and Silent Auction!

Sunday – Catered Drag Brunch hosted by Eda Bagel at Cruze Bar in the Strip

WEBS:

WEBS

WEBS
created and performed by theatriQ Youth Ensemble

Each year, Dreams of Hope launches an original production created and performed by its theatriQ Youth Ensemble, and developed in residence at KST’s Alloy Studios. The Ensemble’s 2016 premiere, Webs weaves threads of storytelling from ancient Greece to Tumblr in order to discover how passive victims can grow into heroic authors of their own mythology. Two queer young people connect online, discuss Greek myths and the echoes of their own lives they find there. Yet neither is content to be defined by stories from the past, and together they struggle to make a narrative that includes their whole selves, as they connect with each other through a post, a story, a selfie, a song.

EVENTS DETAILS
Friday, January 29, 2016 at 8:00pm
Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 2:00pm
Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 8:00pm
Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 2:00pm (live broadcast)

KST’s Alloy Studios | 5530 Penn Avenue

More information: http://www.dreamsofhope.org/webs
Can’t make one of these? Tune in to the Sunday show online at http://www.dreamsofhope.org/live.

Saturday:

Coat and Blanket Drive –
rockyrainbow

CLICK “Going” if you plan on donating to this amazing cause!

40% of all homeless youth are LGBTQIA+ as discovered by a 2012 report by the William’s Institute and these numbers reflect in many other studies of homeless youth. In our very area, there many youths that cannot go home because of who they are and/or who they love.

The Junior Chamber of Commerce Players believe that everyone should have the right to be exactly who they are and feel safe and are thus having our second annual blanket and coat drive to help the homeless LGBTQIA youth stay warm these cold winter months.
At both of our January shows (January 9th and 28th) we will be collecting gently used blankets, coat, gloves/mittens, scarves, and hats.
There will be boxes to drop your donations in when entering the theater and as a thank you to us, you will get a free JCCP sticker.

CRUZE GIVES BACK

Cruze gives back

2016 is all about helping each other, so here is how we start. Former Pittsburgh native and superstar DJ Steve Henderson (Chicago/Washington DC) will join us at Cruze Bar for a night of drinks and dancing (and he will bring some fun toys too)!

We will have a $5 SUGGESTED donation as a cover charge. A blanket, a few cans of food, a Jacket, or…… Just give what you can. We still have plenty of people in need and the GLCC of Pittsburgh Needs your help.

January 30th. Doors at 9PM.

See you at the all new Cruze Bar!

SUNDAY:

#YesAllWomen Burnout: Zine Study Group – 2pm The Big Idea

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Women-positive space. Open to male feminists. Jagoffs (sexists/racists/homophobes/transphobes/islamophobes/assholes) not welcome.
(For Women & Trans* People Only study see event on Sat 1/30: https://www.facebook.com/events/180355808987968/)

#YesAllWomen Burnout: Zine Study Group
Big Idea Bookstore (Downstairs; basement)

Empowered self-care study group: reading and discussing CrimethInc.’s
1) Feature article: “For All We Care” : http://www.crimethinc.com/texts/recentfeatures/selfcare.php
2) Zine: “Self as Other: Reconsidering Self-Care”: http://cloudfront.crimethinc.com/pdfs/self-as-other_for-screen.pdf

Through storytelling and group discussions, this study group speaks truth to the intersectional reality of women in activist circles, “analyzing the contradictory currents within the category of care,” empowering participants to support mental health under the strain of fighting for social justice.

Note: This reading group is a followup to the Summit Against Racism’s group discussion on Sat, Jan. 23rd: #YesAllWomen Burnout: transforming self-care in the intersectional fight for social justice: http://www.badcatski.com/2015/12/yesallwomen-burnout-workshop-series.html

New group participants are welcome to attend.
//
Co-faciliators:
• Gene-Leigh Ziegler (activist, lover of all things literature and music): PSL party member, family-based therapist, 35-years old, survivor of one major depressive episode/generalized anxiety disorder lasting 2 ½ months as well as dysthimia;
• Stephie Jane Rexroth (artist/activist, author, autodidact): 33 years-old, survivor of 21 episodes in 17 years of life-disrupting depression, each 3-6 months in length, layered with generalized anxiety and suicidal ideation/attempts.

Community Events!
Weds. 6pm-8pm
– Persad Center- 5301 Butler St.

Youth Empowerment Project is recruiting!

youthempowermentproject2015logo

Recruiting folks GLBTQ and ally 27 and under to become peer educators? Make friends, Meet new people and educate your community! Light refreshments Served!

to sign up Please email Lyndsey  with your name and contact info.

Friday Feb 5th

PERSED CenterSOS

Queer Space- S.O.S.  Training- come out and be trained to be a peer advocate. learn the signs of suicide and what to do to help yourself and your friends. 25 and under. please sign up by emailing Lyndsey with your name and contact information.

5pm-7pm- GLCC – 210 Grant St.

Friday Feb 5thAmerican Horror Story:: Heartbreak Hotel

heartbreakhotel216

Hot Metal Hardware presents the truest American Horror Story: Heartbreak Hotel just in time for the bloodiest of holidays, valentines day.
Special Guest Confetti Gunn
Doors open at 9pm, show kicks off at 11. —-
CRUZE BAR- 1600 Smallman St.

COMING UP!~

ANTI- VALENTINES DAY DANCE 2/12/16 -6pm-10pm  Persad Center

Anti-Valentines Day Dance

Dance for High school and college aged folks sponsored by Persad Center, PATF, GLCC, D.O.H.m Delta , Proud Haven and TransPride Pgh

GLCC VOLUNTEER TRAINING

Pittsburgh Volunteer

We are looking for a few new volunteers! Do you like to meet new people?  Do you like to help people in the community? Can you work alone or in a group! then we want you!  sign up and leave your name and contact information by calling us at 412-422-0114- hope to see you then!

1pm-4pm – GLCC – 210 Grant St.

OUTRAGEOUS BINGO -Feb 13th – Rodef Shalom- Shadyside Oakland area- click the link to get more info on tickets.

Outrageous Bingo queen

VALENTINE TEA DANCE

Western PA SAGE at PERSAD Center presents a Valentine Tea Dance on Feb. 14, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

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A free event for adults age 50+.
Music, Dancing and Light Refreshments!

Persad Center!

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