Local Resources

First I want to apologize. It’s been SO long since I posted. My medical problems got continually worse. It became so difficult to concentrate enough to post. I will post when I can – hopefully the wait won’t ever be as long again. Just in case though, I want to point out some resources, mostly local resources, for you to check out. Hopefully reading through all these resources will give you something to read while my posts are somewhat staggered.

The first resource that must be pointed out is The Trevor Project. The most prominent thing I know this for is their suicide hotline. If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of suicide (which are laid out on the website http://www.thetrevorproject.org), please please please call their number 866-488-7386. Their website contains a great deal of information about protecting ourselves and each other against society’s homophobia and transphobia. If you are considering suicide or any serious injury, please please please call 866-488-7486!

Okay, now that I handled that important psa, I want to discuss resources locally. The group I am most involved in is Transcentral PA (http://transcentralpa.org/). This group focuses on advancing rights of and promoting aceptance of transgender individuals. They hold monthly meetings where transgender individuals can get together and simply being themselves. Transcentral also hosts the Keystone Conference, one of the largest transgender conferences in the USA.  I actually worked as part of Transcentral’s Keystone Planning Committee to plan the youth track for this year’s conference.

Another great local resource is the LGBT Community Center of Central Pennsylvania (http://www.centralpalgbtcenter.org/). The LGBT Center does a great deal of work for the LGBT community including assisting with Central PA Pride, and hosting the Fall Achievement Benefit (a huge black tie event at which I was honored last year 🙂 ). Perhaps their most successful program is Common Roads, a project focused on LGBT youth in the area. Every Friday night, Common Roads hosts their “Safe Space” where LGBT youth can come and spend time with other people like them, people who understand what they are going through. The Safe Space is a place where these kids can go to escape from the bullying, judgement, and condemnation of their peers and even their family.

EqualityPA (http://www.equalitypa.org/) is a group that focuses it’s effort on the more legal end of things. If you have been to a pride in at least South Central PA, you have seen Equality PA asking for signatures for their form letters to senators, governors, and other representatives. Equality PA is also one of the major groups involved in getting the gender marker policy (the reason why I now have license with my proper gender).

We all know there are people that are very, very far right and religious; people who force judgement on others based on something that wasn’t even a choice. These people love to condemn LGBT individuals. Some of these people are even so bold as to come to our events, such as Pride, and condemn us. These individuals stand outside the entrances screaming how we are immoral, we are sinful, we are damned to hell. When a parent walks with their child into pride, these people lean forward and scream at the child “Do you know your mommy’s are sinners?” then look at the parents and shout “You are condemning your child!” The solution for these disturbingly rude people that has proven most effective are the Silent Witness Peacekeepers (http://silentwitnesspa.org/).

Silent Witness Peacekeepers use giant rainbow umbrellas to block out the hateful signs reading slogans like (And I suggest you skip if you are easily offended) “God Hates Fags,” “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Homosexuality is an Abomination” and so forth. The peace keepers hold the rainbow umbrellas over their shoulder and stand with their backs to their protesters. As people walk by, they see the smiling, friendly Silent Witnesses, and the big umbrellas. There is some idiotic shouting in the background, but as the trained Silent Witnesses engage passerbys in conversation about the festival, it is so much easier to ignore the hateful “street preachers.”

I want to point out two last local resources that are very useful, though quite different from my other resources listed here, the Mazzoni Health Center and the Alder Health Services. Both of these groups provide medical and psychological help (and I think Mazzonni has legal services as well) to LGBTQIA individuals. Both also work based on a sliding scale, so if you don’t have much, you wont have to pay much. Mazzoni (http://mazzonicenter.org/) is located in Philidelphia and Alder (http://www.alderhealth.org/) is located in Harrisburg. I apologize for not having more information about them – I don’t know much about the medical field.

Hopefully, some of these resources interest you readers. I hope to post much, much more soon!

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