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October 19, 2012

Translating Identities Conference & More!

A Note From Jean-Denis:

Last weekend brought the Translating Identities Conference, an annual conference at UVM which explores a wide variety of topics related to gender and transgender identities, expressions, communities, and intersections. After a brief post-TIC recovery time (whew!), I'm excited to share my experiences with all of you!

The conference is always a pleasure to attend; You know it's a great conference when you can't decide which of the many interesting workshops you'd like to attend. This year brought workshops relating to human rights and refugees, family, the criminalization of gender non-conformity, sex, asexuality, polyamory... such a wide array! I was happy to bring two workshops of my own- one on health care reform in Vermont and the movement to make it trans-inclusive and another in a town hall-style format on community, done with educator and advocate Samuel Lurie.

Informing the community about what is currently happening in health care reform and why gender transition exclusions are harmful (and illegal) was amazing. More and more people in our community are starting to become aware of the issue and have already shown such support and dedication to expanding equality in Vermont. Currently, care available to Vermonters accessing it for reasons other than gender transition (such as post-menopausal people listed as female who choose hormone replacement therapy or people listed as female who have a hysteretomy for endometriosis) are not available to people seeking those same services for the purpose of gender transition, discriminating against trans people. These services are considered by expert agencies (such as the American Medical Association and American Psychological Association) to be effective and medically necessary for people needing to alleviate the gender-related body dysphoria they experience. 

I was inspired to see the passion of those working on, or just learning about, this issue and I look forward to continuing to work with the fabulous people in our community/ies!

- Jean-Denis

Are you interested in joining this fight for equality? If so, email or call Jean-Denis (trans@ru12.org, 802-860-7812) to join the community committee forming!

Transgender remove APAExciting News! The next version (5th) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which mental health and other professionals use to guide diagnosis and treatment of patients, will no longer list "Gender Identity Disorder", only "Gender Dysphoria", which describes the depression many trans people struggle with when their body doesn't match their internal sense of themselves. This is a big win for trans and gender non-conforming people, de-pathologizing gender non-conformity and the natural variations of human gender experience. 

Don't forget to check out our 2nd Trans Town Hall on November 1st at 6:30p in the McClure Multigenerational Center in Burlington. This Town Hall's focus is on relationships: how can we work towards healthy relationships? What that looks like for us? What is working in our lives and what might we need to change to best fulfill that vital need for love, intimacy, and human connection? We welcome guest speaker Nancy Feldman, LCMHC.

Finally, November 3rd is a special series of workshops about trans sexuality and the use of gender in kinky play, presented by Vermont Alternative Sexuality Education and RU12?. Register now and come check it out! (ages 18+)

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