Last night I was at the biannual meeting for the coordinators at the COC Leiden. The COC is a national organization that stands up for GLBT rights, provides a meeting place and organizes events and so on. It has done a lot of great work already and since about a month I am proud to be representing the local trans community by becoming the coordinator for the Trans*-initiative. The Trans*-initiative was started in 2010 and mostly consist of a GenderFreeZone evening which is a workshop on a trans related topic and then a party which is open to everyone to stimulate the integration between trans and non-trans people. Last Friday I supplied the workshop on how to change your body by using exercise and nutrition so it can represent more who you are inside and to become more healthy and mentally stable (those 2 are linked in a way most people don't realize). The workshop went really well and, despite the rain, was well visited. Also the party was a great success. It was wonderful to see so many non-trans people showing up as well to show their support.
Even though I prefer to be optimistic, I also need to be realistic. Having between 10 and 20 people visiting the workshop is not as many as should be possible. When you consider the size of this city and the fact that this is the only meeting place for trans people in the region it's not a lot. There are so many others out there that we're not reaching. I know my personal network is limited but I am hoping others will help me use their networks as well so I can reach more people to invite them to these workshops. They are valuable, even if it's just to meet others and see you're not alone. So many of us do feel lonely even though we don't have to. I would greatly appreciate it if you would go to our page: https://www.facebook.com/cocleiden?fref=ts and like us and share the events on there. We are trying really hard to provide information and help, a sanctuary if you will even, but we can only do that if we can reach people. Your help would mean a lot.
The other thing I discussed during the meeting last night was educating people on transgenderism. Firstly the people who we send out to schools to talk about diversity, discrimination and GLBT issues. I have been getting the same questions from my GLB friends as my straight friends. This shows people are people which is good, but, it also shows that, even if you are part of the GLBT community, information is not that easy to come by. We are working on gathering information and setting up workshops for the volunteers of the educational program first as they go out into the world spreading the information even further. Once that is done we want to set up a workshop for other people who are interested but don't know where to look for information. So my question to you is: what would you like to know? What do you think we should put in the workshop? And if you are a transgender, what do you think is important to tell people? We have some ideas but it's just a small team and the more people think about this the better. So I could really use your input. Please leave me a comment below and I will make a summery at some point. Of course, when the time comes and the workshop is ready I'll let you know when, what and where.