Working with the Public


Image from Brooke Cagle
on UnSsplash

This week I have had several occasions to do a bit of out reach in the community.

One was a meeting I went to for the Greater Cincinnati Alzheimer's Association. I serve on the diversity council and yesterday was my second meeting. During the meeting I told them I was able to write an article for the support group (transgender and cross dresser) concerning my activities on the diversity council. Plus, I also invited any other interested members in the group a chance to participate. And, to increase the reach of my blog, I am sharing one post a month to the group's membership publication.  

During the meeting yesterday I was surprised with the question of just exactly what was the function of the support group I am representing. Since I was caught off guard, I needed to explain to civilians the group provided a connection for transgender women and men as well as cross dressers who are mostly in the closet. I tried to condense my reply so that everyone could understand. In the process, I also used an example from my own family about a recent encounter I had with an VA insurance sales person.

It all started during a virtual meeting with the representative who never questioned my gender. By not outing myself as transgender, I unknowingly set her up for failure when she overstepped her boundaries and called my daughter because she is named as a beneficiary. In my defense, I saw no reason for her to call her at all but she did. The problem arose when the insurance person referred to me as "he" twice. For insurance purposes, since I have had no surgeries, I still am a "he" but not to my daughter. My daughter is especially sensitive to gender pronouns because she has a transgender child of her own and is a fierce ally. What eventually happened was I called the woman and asked her what exactly was she doing calling my daughter anyhow and I was transgender. Naturally, since she is trying to sell me something, she profusely apologized and maybe learned a gender lesson. 

For the group, I tried to keep my explanation brief and impactful so they could understand a little of the family dynamics which can extend into elderly care. Especially when it comes to Alzheimer's. I have been reassured the larger group has guidelines for treatment of the LGBT community but as we all know, the "T" can get lost in the overall shuffle. So maybe I can be a voice in the darkness for change.

The other outreach meeting I have this week is meeting six of my Veterans Administration group virtual LGBTQ get together. Once you join, participation is mandatory and is for the entire LGBT community so we have the full range of individuals from transgender to gay men to lesbian women. It makes for an interesting discussion at times when we all discover we share many of the same problems when it comes to dealing with the public and the VA. 

My overall goal of participating in both groups is to improve my outreach skills and do a very small part to help us all.