The Locker Room: A Transmasculine Discussion Group

On Friday August 12 at the New LGBT Community Center of St. Louis, the transmasculine discussion group  The Locker Room held its first meeting. The Locker Room was developed by Transhaven Director and Trans man Sayer Johnson.  Sayer provides the backstory:

In speaking with many folks at Pride the suggestion of a support-discussion group kept coming up. I decided to make it my goal for the fall to create and maintain a safe discussion space for transmasculine identified folks. The group is designed for persons who id on the masculine end of the gender spectrum that had been born into a female id. Butch, Boi, questioning , genderqueer and trans were all represented at the first meeting.

The LGBT Community Center of St. Louis stepped up and offered safe meeting space. They created a welcoming and inclusive environment from the moment we stepped in the door. They provided us a private and inviting space with room to grow. The discussion group had about 12 folks and the meeting lasted 3 hours. The group is excited to continue meeting and came up with topics and guidelines to create a safe space for everyone. The group will have time for open conversation at the beginning of every meeting then will concentrate on a topic for the remainder of the time. September’s topic will be “Show and Tell” Media, books and tools that guide us and help us have community. Everyone is bringing in the books music video and adaptive equipment that all relate to our transmasculine journeys and identities.

If you fall on the transmasculine end of the gender spectrum and are looking for community-support and discussion consider joining us on the 2nd Fridays of each month at the LGBT Community Center of St. Louis.   – Sayer

If you would like more information on the discussion group, please send a note to  thetranslockeroom@gmail.com

Sayer Johnson is a Board Director of TransHaven, and is the founder and moderator of The Locker Room.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Discussion: Behavior Health In The LGBT Community – At Our Trans*Continental Breakfast

The difference between existing and living is knowledge.

Advocacy is perhaps best defined as acting upon the world by way of education and outreach to address and remedy specific issues facing a specific community. We at Transhaven take this mission very seriously and have endeavored to provide that voice for not only the Trans, but the entire LGBT Community. Ours is a diverse advocacy, covering many areas of concern for the LGBT Community. Our mission is critical advocacy for all in our community, and that often includes working with complex issues and underserved populations within our family. From identity documentation for the trans-identified, to
working towards LGBT-inclusive homeless shelters, we are involved and working
diligently. To accomplish these goals, and serve the Trans Community and the LGBT Community inclusively, our work necessarily evolves and encompasses new areas as they may appear.

To that end, Transhaven welcomes you to our Trans*Continental
breakfast this Saturday at 9AM, at our offices on Arsenal. This will be your first opportunity to meet our newest staffer and hear about, as well as give input on, our newest area of advocacy for our Community. Claire Swinford will be joining us for what should be a lively discussion on Behavioral health needs in the LGBT Community. Claire has a decade of experience in behavioral health and disabilities advocacy, much of it with National level advocacy groups. Please note that she is not a therapist or psychiatrist, nor is she affiliated with any health care system, which we believe allows for a greater honesty in her advocacy work.

Our vision of this new advocacy area is to assist in creating a healthier LGBT Community, by addressing the issues that often prevent individuals from seeking therapy. This could include the highly political area of lobbying for health care access, direct outreach, cultural
competency training for therapists and other providers, and all points in between. What it will include, is ultimately determined by the needs and concerns of the LGBT community we serve. And that is where you come in.

So please join us for a bit of background explanation of our plans going forward, and more importantly, bring your questions and concerns for us to answer, and use to focus our efforts on the actual needs of the community. Statistically we know, that incidence of mood, anxiety, and substance abuse issues is 2.5 times higher in LGBT Communities than in heterosexuals (NAMI, 2008). What we wish to learn is what specific issues face
our local community.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

TransHaven – Imagine Trans Equality    www.transhaven.org

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What are you doing on Monday?

Over the next two days we will be spending a great deal of the time at Tower Grove Park at TransHaven’s booth, talking about Trans Equality, talking about the Community in St. Louis and beyond and hawking buttons to support the costs of running a social justice organization. At PrideFest, we reach out not only to the Trans Community but the broader LGBTIQA Community as a whole.

PrideFest St Louis is put on by a bunch of dedicated volunteers. It takes a year to plan and produce the Festival. It also takes many other volunteers for the days of the Festival to keep the various activities going smoothly and keeping the crowd pleased. On Sunday is the parade up South Grand to the park. Many more thousands are lining the street,
watching this fabulous event flow along it’s route. By Sunday evening, so many
thousands have been at the park and all too soon it must end. People say adieu and head for their cars to go to a party, or simply to go home.

But it isn’t over. On Monday, the work of Pride St Louis for the festival continues as now the cleanup begins. Pride must have the park area it uses in pristine condition by 5:00 pm. Pieces of paper, cups, ribbons, cigarette butts, plastic bottles and even finding one’s lost keys need to be picked up. The tents need to be taken down, trash containers emptied and a huge look around to make certain everything has been picked up.

That’s where the Community comes into play. Pride St Louis needs the Community’s help in cleaning up. The Community has just been treated to two days to the finest ‘barbeque in the park’ that one will attend this summer.  Pride needs volunteers from the Community it serves to close out their work for the year. TransHaven will have at least two volunteers there on Monday, will you or your organization do the same?

No, not a send up of TransHaven, simply that we are committed to serving the Community. And if that means getting a bit dirty or dealing with some heat, we will just have to deal with it. Pride St Louis continues to reach out to the Trans Community and we want to reach back for the work they do for the entire Community.

So, what are you doing on Monday, have a few hours to help?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trans-Identified Student Wins Pride St Louis’ John Van Voris Scholarship

We are very pleased to note that a trans-identified individual has won Pride St. Louis’ Annual John Van Voris Scholarship. Robyn Littleton, a student at Missouri Science & Technology was presented the award at Pride St Louis’ ‘Pride Kick-Off Party’ Reception held at the Lumiere Theater – Lumiere Casino in St Louis, Saturday evening, June 11th.

We congratulate Robyn on her winning this scholarship and wish her the best in her studies.

Photo: Robyn Littleton (r) being congratulated for her award, by TransHaven’s Robyn Carolyn Montague.

(Photo by Colin Murphy of The Vital Voice)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trans Pride – Will You Be There, Will You Volunteer?

TransHaven will be celebrating it’s birthday on June 26th, and begin it’s third year of unwavering advocacy for not only the Trans Community, but also supporting the entire Community that is called ‘LGBTIQA.’ We have been working on projects and involved with other organizations, in efforts towards a full Equality and bringing harmony to the Community. There are organizations that support our older Trans, our younger Trans, in essence, organizations providing social services to the Trans Community while we focus on the social justice issues that affect the lives in all that are Trans.

In turn, Metro East Pride, Pride St Louis and St Louis Black Pride have reached out to the Trans Community and to TransHaven in supporting our Mission. All three organizations have provided a welcoming and affirming atmosphere at their respective festivals in so many different ways. With that thought, I am hoping that the Trans Community reaches back with the same welcoming and affirmation to these organizations as they have done for us.

All three organizations need volunteers to help produce, conduct and clean up at their respective Festivals. I personally know what it takes to put on such events having been connected with Pride St Louis in the past. It isn’t simply a day or two of fun, it takes a year of planning and volunteers to make it happen. It is only fitting that in reaching out to the Trans Community, that we reach back to them, in turn, it is the Trans Community reaching out to the entire Community. I encourage the Trans Community to consider volunteering for these festivals in a visible support to the greater Community. It is after all our Pride too, and I call our outreach “Trans Pride.”

– Robyn Carolyn Montague, Chair

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Change Is Always Good!

TransHaven is moving forward in some changes to better serve our constituency. We have converted our Facebook profile into a Community page, in which we can provide a better sense of confidentialy to those that are trans-identified, yet reach out to our allies with information on our work. We are also re-designing our website to provide yet more information, resources and current news for all.

Current projects we are working on is suitable housing for Trans-identified homeless and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Intersex identified homeless in the St Louis Region. We are also working on Identity Document Reform for those transitioning transsexuals in Missouri and recently launched our ‘Trans-Missouri Needs Assessment Survey” across the state to validate the path of our Mission. From a social aspect, we are planning a picnic in October in Columbia, MO where we will be inviting Trans from the entire state to join together in visibility and solidarity.

There are other changes and projects coming down the path, focused on our committment to the Trans Community of Missouri and beyond. Join us (“Like”) on our Facebook Community Page, follow us on Twitter and our new look coming soon on our Website!

TransHaven – Advocates for Trans Equality

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Have You Taken The Trans-Missouri Needs Assessment Survey?

Are you Trans-identified and living in Missouri? If you are, we encourage you to take the Trans-Missouri Needs Assessment Survey.

Noting that the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) only garnered 128 individual responses in Missouri, we are projecting that with our own state-wide resources we can reach out to more of the (Missouri) Trans Population. We hope that those that are trans-identified residing in Missouri, take part in this survey in which we can use the data to define our Policy Priority over the next wo years.

The data collection will be done in a manner in which total confidentiality is assured, inputs from varying aspects of those Trans-identified throughout the state of Missouri will be collected and analyzed. We are seeking such demographics as how one identifies, location by zip code, income and marital status. Other metrics sought will be instances of bias and discrimination such as in the workplace, incarceration and public accommodations. While we know the national statistics, it is imperative we gather as much Missouri data as we can, to better serve the Missouri Trans Community.

Please take the survey today!

TransHaven: Advocates for Trans Equality 

www.transhaven.org

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment