Many of you may be aware that I help coordinate a local Transgender support and social group. It is something I’ve been doing for the past four years or more.
The group has received much praise for the work it does and is well respected within the local community.
Through 2019, and especially toward the latter end of it, I felt that I was running out of the energy and motivation needed in order to continue to work for the group. I expressed my need to back away to the other Coordinator and we began to look for other group members who could step up and take over some of the responsibilities involved.
It was a slow process, but help was forthcoming and I was able to sit back in a more minor role and just keep my finger on the pulse.
Then, of course, 2020 happened.
It’s fair to say that I, like so many others, found the isolation extremely hard to cope with. There was the occasional opportunity to meet up with friends from the group, and I did get out a couple of times each week just to have a coffee with someone close to the group, but at the end of the year my friendship with that person deteriorated to the point of no contact.
Maybe that was a contributing factor in how things turned out, but since then there has been a sea change in my outlook.
This seems to have coincided with an increase in the number of new people seeking support from the group, and especially notable is the number of people wanting help for younger folk who are questioning their gender. Prior to the lock downs we had been mulling over the possibility of starting up a Youth section to our group and it seems like the need is becoming more pressing. We do have a couple of people within the group management team who have their PVG certification (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) and with that in mind I think I need to get around to applying for that for myself.
A large local LGBT+ organisation is in the process of opening up a local “Hub”, and it’s a place where we are thinking we may be able to relocate our meetings in my town. The venue we had been using prior to lock down, whilst free to us, is not perhaps ideal especially as it is not fully accessible, and we were open to ideas for relocation anyway. The Hub will also allow us to have a permanent base, and I would be keen to do some general volunteering there a couple of times a week once it is able to open to the public.
The group was also invited to sit on a local NHS panel investigating the experiences of the transgender community with regard to healthcare, and both myself and my co-coordinator have attended online meetings with that group.
In addition, as I’ve mentioned before, a colleague from the Hub and myself are working on redesigning and expanding a Transgender Awareness Training package that my co-cordinator and I put together a couple of years back. We have some dates already booked for this and it is taking up a LOT of my time at the moment, but is something that I strongly feel is worthwhile, and I know there is a great interest in it from a number of organisations, including our local NHS board. Another upside of this is that as the package comes together I’m building up a useful list of additional resources that I can use to update our group website and make it more meaningful and helpful to those visiting.
So, what with one thing and another, it seems that not only am I getting back into the swing of things but I have a full time job on my hands.
It’s all go!
Take care everyone, and stay safe.