Richmond’s Dormant Trans Community
Read More: Transgendered
Recently a friend of mine was asked about the trans community in Richmond. She replied that there really isn’t much of one. Strictly speakingm she was incorrect in her statement.
Currently Richmond’s trans community is built around two large support groups based on the idea of a transgender spectrum. A young transsexual woman is not necessarily going to have much in common with a middle-aged cross-dressing man. Placing her in a support group with him and saying “you’re both trans, see how much you have in common,” is a little absurd. Support groups are inadequate for building a larger community. Communities are built when people support common causes and enjoy similar interests. If the young trans woman met the middle-aged cross-dresser supporting a similar cause or enjoying a common activity, they might become friends.
Transsexuals have traditionally been thought of as extreme cross-dressers. Cross-dressers, however, have different needs and desires than transsexuals. I reject the idea that a transsexual woman is psychologically unlike a cisgendered woman, or that our daily experience is substantially different. I’ve found that when it comes trans issues I have more in common with a female to male transsexual than I do with a male-to-female cross-dresser. The transgender spectrum does not fit my actual experience of being trans. Our community in Richmond is built around an idea than does not fit my trans experience.
Our trans community has a great deal of potential. The Fan Free Clinic is a tremendous resource for us and our city is generally pretty accepting. Currently, however, we are not meeting the needs of all trans people very well. We do not have enough social functions or fundraisers. As a young transsexual woman I only have one group in which to meet other trans people. It does not include transsexual men, most of its members are much older than me, it is dominated by conservative opinions with which I disagree and is based on a theory which does not fit my life experience. Socially, younger transsexuals tend to transition easily. Our needs tend to be more financial and medical in nature. The support groups in Richmond don’t match our needs very well.
Other trans communities raise money for the Jim Collins Foundation, which writes grants to pay for SRS. In Richmond the TG clinic recently had to cut some of its services because of lack of funding. Both organizations would be great causes for the trans community to rally around. Social activities that raised funds for causes we support would allow trans people to meet outside of the support groups and would build a stronger trans community.
When I think of community I think of common causes and enjoyable social activities. The trans community in Richmond does very little to support trans causes and has virtually no social activities outside of support groups. When my friend said there isn’t much of a trans community in Richmond, I had to agree with her.
Natalie Gates loves food, cooking and her dog. She is passionate about art, transgender theory and politics. She writes about gender and publishes recipes online.
Photo Credit: Miss Universe Canada. Donald Trump’s decision to allow trans woman Jenna Talackova to compete in the Miss Universe contest represents a huge civil rights gain for transgendered people. Or does it? Transsexual women have often born the brunt of radical feminist wrath. As Janice Raymond put it “all transsexuals rape women’s bodies by reducing [...]May 29, 2012
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