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The Trans Inspiration Project Hopes to Unite and Inspire the Local Trans Community

The event is designed to promote resilience and build skills for Central VA's trans and non-binary community.

Ryan Persaud | November 29, 2017

Members of the transgender community will have another opportunity to gather in unity and build community this weekend. The Trans Inspiration Project (TIP) is an annual event created to celebrate the lives of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals. It is being hosted by The Virginia Anti-Violence Project, Nationz Foundation, Side By Side, and other organizers. This will be the event’s second year, after it began last December.

“It’s an opportunity for people who identify as transgender of all different ages to come together and have time to learn about themselves, learn more about the transgender community, get some resources, and really build a community of transgender folks here in Richmond,” Ted Lewis, the Executive Director at Side By Side, said.

Workshops will be featured throughout the event that cover numerous topics relevant to the lives of trans individuals, including healthy relationships, sex and sexuality, employment, and self defense. Additionally, legal experts will be in attendance to assist trans people with name and gender changes on legal documents, and a representative from Snagajob will be giving advice on crafting resumes and preparing for job interviews.

“Those workshops came from conversations that we’ve had with those in our community who identify as transgender who said this is what they were particularly interested in,” Lewis said.

The event will also offer free HIV and Syphilis testing, as well as medical consultations, throughout the day.

Performances from members of the transgender community are scheduled to close out the event, with additional open mic slots available for those who want to take the stage. Attendees signing up for an open mic slot are free to enact in a variety of performances, including singing songs and reading poetry, according to Lewis.

“It’s a way to highlight the talent and the artistry that’s within the transgender community in Richmond, and a chance for all the participants to get up and share their art or their story,” Lewis said.

The event aims to be inclusive for trans people of all ages and backgrounds, with organizers from Side By Side working to ensure that the event is friendly towards transgender youth. Child care will also be offered at the event for individuals that need it. Additionally, an English-to-Spanish translator will be in attendance to provide assistance for Spanish-speaking attendees.

“We are just trying to make sure that any trans person can feel safe and supported, and they have a space at this event,” Micky Jordan, one of the organizers of the event, said.

The Trans Inspiration Project is important because it helps build community among transgender people in the Richmond area, Lewis said.

“We think that creating a space that’s not just for transgender people but also created by transgender people is really important,” Lewis said. “Given the current polarized political moment that we’re in, it’s really difficult sometimes to find supportive community and find your place. We think that creating this opportunity really assists in that ability to find a community and find some skills to build your own resiliency.”

The event is set to occur on Saturday, December 2nd at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond. Admission is free for all attendees. More information can be found at the event’s Facebook page.