Thanks to the over 400 folks who joined us at TIES. Attendance grew by leaps and bounds from last year and we are happy to report that more than half this year’s attendees identify as transgender and gender nonconforming. We’re grateful you came and hope you were able to find new resources, make new connections, and feel as inspired as we do!
If you attended as a partner of a trans person, family member, friend, and/or ally, thank you for your support! It was a day full of encouragement and enrichment. There are so many groups and individuals to thank for this amazing day. A complete list is below, but first we’d like to thank our presenting sponsor, Capital One. Their support helps us keep the incredible offerings at TIES free to attend.
Keep reading to find out more about this wonderful day! Click on the collage below to see the great photos!
We brought FORGE to train regional service providers…
As more and more service providers and clinicians are offering care to transgender clients, we wanted to help ensure that the services that they provide are trans-affirming. National experts from FORGE are leading the way in trauma-informed care for transgender and non-binary people. Over 60 service providers from MD, VA, and NC came together to participate in FORGE’s interactive training, and they left with concrete and practical skills that will easily translate into ways they can help trans survivors heal from the trauma they’ve experienced.
|I came to TIES to be around more people like me who are trans and to learn about the trans experience. It was a great day. I made a couple of new friends and I would recommend anyone who is transgender or an ally come next year. —Sebastian, Hampton Roads|
We collaborated with Side by Side and Gender Spectrum…
|Since the beginning of TIES, families have asked us to provide space for trans and gender-expansive youth. We couldn’t have done it this year without our friends at Side By Side and Gender Spectrum. 35 trans youth and their siblings came together with Side by Side staff, facilitators, and interns for an interactive day that included arts and crafts, empowerment activities, and self-care advice. Simultaneously, Gender Spectrum’s executive director, Lisa Kenney, met with their parents for a full day of programming that explored gender basics, health and wellness, and suggestions for talking with their child about gender.|
We had a Name and Gender Marker Change Clinic…
Updating identity documents to accurately reflect a person’s gender identity and name is important, but also often frustrating and time consuming for people to navigate on their own. To help facilitate the process, TIES attendees were able to make free, one-on-one appointments with lawyers to get their questions answered and start the initial paperwork. The legal clinic at TIES had two parts. First, volunteers from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Whitman-Walker trained a room of lawyers on how to provide more trans-affirming services to their clients. The lawyers then were able to put this training into practice by donating their time during the afternoon clinic where 27 people received help and support updating their documents. Special thanks to Bary Hausrath and the Virginia Equality Bar Association whose efforts, time, and resources generously made this clinic possible.
My partner is trans and I came here to support him and to get my hands dirty in a space for partners of trans people. I have nothing but good things to say about TIES. It’s been a real privilege to find a space that is safe and also feels like fertile ground for real community.
We coordinated a Mental Health Support Center…
|Many people go without access to trans-affirming mental health care; in fact, some folks feel uncertain about accessing support from a counselor or therapist for a variety of reasons. To help eliminate some of the barriers to trans folks finding safe and supportive mental health care, TIES attendees were able to set up free, one-on-one appointments with trained, licensed mental health providers in 30-minute increments. The support center focused on providing attendees with resources, rather than offering diagnostic sessions; and folks were able to walk away with tangible next steps. A special thanks to the providers from the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, Discover Counseling and Consulting, The Women’s Initiative, Health Brigade, and LaunchPad Counseling. Thanks also to volunteers from the Action Alliance and the Virginia Anti-Violence Project who provided one-on-one crisis management to those in need.|
We organized diverse programming…
Many people come to TIES, not only for the opportunity to share a space with other trans and non-binary people, but also to gain resources and information that isn’t widely accessible. To make sure that the content we bring to TIES is relevant to as many attendees as possible, we use feedback and suggestions from community members and previous TIES participants. We like everyone to know that TIES is not only designed to provide programming to trans and non-binary individuals, but also resources and information to their partners and allies. Programming this year included sessions led by national and regional experts who shared information about health insurance, allyship, public benefits, healing, and well-being. We also utilized the knowledge of local experts who helped to facilitate sessions about housing and homelessness, violence and safety, intersectionality and race, and gender-confirming surgeries. Special thanks to Angela Callahan and Shawn Rubin who each facilitated a 3-hour long support group session specifically for partners of trans individuals.
It has been an amazing event. Kudos to Equality Virginia for uplifting and supporting the transgender community.
Even after the TIES programming is over, many people are eager to continue conversations sparked by experiences from the day. Over 100 people came together at Postbellum where we were able to enjoy a complimentary beverages together thanks to the sponsorship of Rumer Cosmetic Surgery. We had a great time connecting with everyone who made TIES possible – it was a great way to get to know each other better at toast to the day’s success.
Thanks again to all sponsors and partners (listed below), and to EV’s supporters. Due to your contributions, we are continually able to partner with other members of Virginia’s transgender community to increase visibility, share an advocacy network, and provide resources across the state.