Transgender Support Groups

Phoenix Center TranSupport Group

This group is for transgender men and women. The group meets from 6:30-8:00 on the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Phoenix Center.                                                 Group Facilitators – Brennen Bradley M.S. and Cindy Martsch, MSW

Phoenix Center TranSupport P Group

This group is for parents of transgender children. The group meets from 6:30-8:00 on the 1st Monday of every month at the Phoenix Center.                                                 Group Facilitator – Brennen Bradley M.S.

Phoenix Center TranSupport C Group

This group is for the Springfield Transgender Community (transgender individuals, parents, family members, friends, etc). The group meets on various dates and times. This group may be a discussion, a book review, a movie night, a guest speaker, etc.                                                                                                               Group Facilitators – Brennen Bradley M.S. and Cindy Martsch, MSW

What does it mean to be Transgender?

Transgender people feel that the gender to which they are born, or assigned at birth, does not fit them. Transgender people include people born female who identify as male (female-to-male) and people born male who identify as female (male-to-female). Transgender people also include people who identify as “genderqueer”, gender neutral, and/or gender-free – people who do not identify as either male or female.

How do I know if i’m transgender?

You may feel that you are more comfortable expressing yourself as a gender other than the gender you were born or assigned with at birth. You may feel extremely uncomfortable with the gender specific parts of your body. For example, you may have breasts and prefer not to have them. Or, you might not feel uncomfortable with your gender-specific body parts and, at the same time, feel a deep need to have other body parts.

AM I NORMAL?

Being transgender is as normal as being alive. Throughout history many people have felt they were transgender. Transgender people are everywhere. They are teachers, doctors, construction workers, and wait staff. They attend college, have children, and enjoy careers. You may encounter people who do not understand or who feel uncomfortable or even discriminate, but you are certainly “normal”.

What is it like to be young & transgender?

Some young people who are transgender feel a great relief that they have discovered how they are most comfortable expressing themselves. Other youth feel frustrated at being discriminated against or because they are not yet able to transition.

Who should I tell?

There is no obligation to tell anyone about your identity. Many people find it very important to share who they are with others, especially if they plan on transitioning publically. If you decide to share your identity, first tell people with whom you are comfortable and that you believe will understand. That might include a trusted teacher, counselor, sister, brother, parent, friend, or people at a youth group, such as the Phoenix Center yOUTh Group.

Some young people stop with telling and chose to transition more fully later in life, but others choose to begin to live full-time as their identified gender. If you choose to do this, you may need to come out with many different people. Look for support as you go through the process including a therapist, a youth group, friends, family, and others.

What will happen when I come out?

Some people feel relieved and happy, others feel rejected and face challenges with parents, friends, family, teachers, peers, and others. You will likely experience a bit of both. Some transgender youth face violence at school or in their home. This is why it is important to have supportive people in your life before you come out. To make this process easier, gather as much information, knowledge, and support as possible.

What does it mean to transition? Should I do it?

Some people who come out as transgender are comfortable telling a close friend or circle of friends. Other people choose to change their name, their pronouns, their style of dress, and their appearance to be congruent with their gender identity. Still others choose to take hormones and have surgery to medically alter their appearance.

As you decide which steps, if any, to take it will help to talk about your feelings with a mental health professional who is competent with gender identity issues, medical providers (such as endocrinologists) and other transgender people. You should express yourself the way you feel most comfortable, without pressure from others.

Medical transition, the taking of hormones and having one or more surgeries, is a big step. For some, it is absolutely necessary. Most people who choose to transition medically strongly need identity and body to match. They want to be seen all the them and without question, as the gender they fell they are.

What does transgender mean about my sexual orientation? Am I gay or straight or what?

Being transgender has to do with your gender identity, how you feel about who you are. It has NOTHING to do with your sexual orientation, which is about who you are attracted to. Some transgender people are attracted to men, some to women, some to transgender people, and some to people regardless of their gender.

This valuable information from Advocates for Youth

Terms that are confused with transgender

  • Intersex – individuals who have characteristics that do not match the typical understandings of male and female; previously called hermaphrodites. Some intersex conditions are known at the time of birth while others are not discovered until later in life; if at all. Some intersex conditions are anatomical while others are chromosomal. For more information contact Advocates for Informed Choice.
  • Cross dressers – refers to people who choose to wear the clothing generally associated with the opposite gender; previous called transvestite. They do so because they find it fulfilling in emotional and sexual ways. Cross dressing is about more than sexuality – it is a way that a person expresses all of who they are, both masculine and feminine.
  • Drag Queen – is a term historically used by gay men who dress in the clothing usually associated with women for the purpose of entertainment. There are also drag kings who are biologically female and dress as men, again for the purpose of entertainment.
  • Transsexual – is a term used by some to identify transgender individuals who seek medical intervention through hormones and/or surgery.

Check out these videos at www.youtube.com – “My Secret Self” and “Transgender 101”