hi, beloved ones. i hope like hell that you’re staying safe and well out there. if you’re like me, you’ve been feeling lonely and disconnected. that’s the current normal, but it isn’t healthy for us, so i’ve put together some resources on getting (or staying) connected to trans and non-binary community during this time. i’ve seen a lot of efforts in our communities to be there for each other and i hope they’ll be as heartening for you as they’ve been for me. i also hope you make some new friends.
(this post has been updated to include another virtual meetup!)
JOIN A SOCIAL OR SUPPORT GROUP
if you’ve read my blog post about resilience practices for trans folks stuck in cissexist homes, you already know about the slack created by the podcast gender reveal. the slack is an opportunity to get connected with trans and non-binary folks. with channels for interests, gender thoughts and feelings, self-care, mutual aid, and many, many more, it’s a great jumping off point for a sense of connection and a community-curated chance to make friends.
ingersoll gender center has been holding its peer support groups for over 40 years, according to its website, and they’ve recently transitioned to being entirely online. groups are held weekly on wednesday evenings and are facilitated by trained volunteers who are members of the community. you can see the schedule for the support groups and get information about how to join them, on this page of ingersoll’s website.
[update 3/16/2021: you might reconsider participation with Ingersoll Gender Center at this time. many current and former staff members have come forward about issues of anti-Blackness, other racism, and abusive behavior perpetrated by leadership at Ingersoll. click here to read and sign on to their letter about the situation.]
washington gender alliance has also moved its support group meetings to virtual space. meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. on thursdays. you can get more info about those meetings on the washington gender alliance website.
the seattle trans and nonbinary community facebook group is hosting weekly zoom meetups on thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. the meetups are lowkey hang-outs that allow attendees to engage at their comfort level.
gender alliance of the south sound is hosting its regular support (and social) groups virtually now as well. meetings are held the first, second, third, and fourth fridays of the month. the first and third friday meetings are the more social meetings. they start at 7 p.m. and last for an hour. the second and fourth meetings are more geared towards peer support. they also begin at 7 p.m. and last for two hours. check out their facebook page for info about how to attend!
JOIN FACEBOOK GROUPS
facebook isn’t the only platform that gives you the opportunity to join identity-based groups, but it is the one i’m most familiar with. if facebook isn’t for you, you can also try discord, slack, reddit, or getting connected with people on twitter. i’m sure there are yet more avenues for this as well. start where you’re comfortable.
to find facebook groups (and this probably applies elsewhere as well), try searching “trans [your city]” or “non-binary [your city].” switch out trans and non-binary with whichever other identifying word(s) you use. if you’re a person of color, you can add that to your search as well (like “seattle black trans”). you can also search for transmasc or transfemme or trans men or trans women.
in addition to narrowing your search using other aspects of your identity, you can do so by adding interests. for example, you could search “nonbinary gamers” or “trans book club.” i’m in a non-binary fiber arts group.
some other groups i’m in include:
these five groups are just a small sampling of what i’m in. be sure to read the group rules carefully and determine as best you can that its a place you’ll be safe (one thing you’ll want to look for is language that shows that the group acknowledges that neither transition nor dysphoria are required to be trans).
GO TO EVENTS
i very much mean virtually — not physically — when i say “go” here. stay home, stay safe, keep others safe.
that said, the translations film festival started last night in seattle and since it’s completely virtual this year, you can attend it from anywhere. tickets are available on a sliding scale, so you can pay what you can afford. we all know money’s tight for many right now. (for some organizations working to monetarily support trans folks through this time, check out my last blog post).
trans pride seattle is also going virtual this year, which makes it open to attendees from anywhere! i know many folks don’t have a pride event specifically by and for trans people and i’m honestly really excited that this event is open this year to anyone with an internet connection (now to work on getting everyone an internet connection, huh?). trans pride seattle is set for june 26th this year, save the date!
these are just a couple of the things going on that i know about. since we’re not limited by geographic location as much as usual this year, we have more access to trans events. try searching for trans events in other places if you can’t find them where you live. major metropolitan areas are more likely to have them; you can pick a big city in your time zone to do a “trans events + [big city]” google search.
START YOUR OWN GROUP OR EVENT
you don’t have to rely on what other folks are doing; if you don’t find something for you, please make it if you can! we’re all under a lot of stress right now and it’s understandable to not have the energy to put something together, but you might find that doing so gives you a sense of accomplishment.
i’ve been planning and running events of various sizes for years now and i hope that sharing some ideas and tips with you will give you a good launching point if you’re new to this or struggling with ideas.
first, a free alternative to zoom, since a way to video conference is key to connection right now: jitsi. i haven’t used it, but i know others who have been. it’s end-to-end encrypted, so your privacy is protected.
some tips for event hosting:
- set reasonable standards for success: don’t pin all your happiness on everyone you’ve invited to an event actually coming to it. things will come up, especially now. be prepared to see few attendees. events can still be amazing when small.
- iterate: try hosting events at different times of day. try different days of the week. try giving your events a theme. you’ll have to experiment to find what works for the people you’re inviting.
- know that if no one comes, you haven’t failed: you’ve learned. it’s a difficult time out there for folks and they’re struggling even to do daily tasks. your friends not being able to attend doesn’t mean they don’t love you. it might mean that you need to make even more friends, so you have a wider pool to draw on for connection.
- remember that you can invite people from any geographic location! maybe now’s the opportunity to introduce folks from back east/west/north/south to your local crew. reconnect with people you used to be in close physical proximity to!
here are some event ideas:
- a game night(/afternoon/morning): i’ve been using jackbox and zoom to play party games with my friends. jackbox costs money (and so does tabletop simulator on steam, if board games are more your speed) and i don’t have a good alternative for that. but only one copy of any of the jackbox game packs needs to be available to a group, so maybe cost sharing is possible.
- an open mic: invite your friends to share their writing, their music, or their other creative talent. i love getting to experience the art my loved ones create.
- a self-care toolkit party: your group gets together to discuss the struggles each person is having with their mental, spiritual, emotional, and/or physical health (as folks are comfortable sharing) and to share the self-care strategies folks are using or have used to deal with them in a healthy way. the goal is to build community, cultivate collective care, and gain new skills from the wisdom our loved ones have.
- host a virtual dinner party: make it a costume one or an ultra formal one (for whatever formal means to you) if you want to add extra intrigue
- throw a movie night using netflix party or twoseven
for more ideas on connection, see my blog post about ways you can help others while stuck at home. connection is important and you’ll be making a meaningful difference in the lives of your loved ones by creating opportunities for connection with them.
one last connection idea: talk to me (and each other) in the comments! i’d love to hear about how you’re staying connected. i’m iterating on my methods and would be deeply appreciative to learn from you.
want to support this project? become a patron at patreon.com/kymagdalene. or toss me money for a coffee on venmo, @Ky-Magdalene.