San Diego’s T-SpotBottom Highlights, Latest Issue, Trans Progressive Thursday, March 30th, 2017
Commentary: Trans Progressive
I have a new roommate Andrea who just came to San Diego from out of state. She works as an IT specialist for a large restaurant chain, and with her move needs to find a new doctor to take care of her transgender related health care needs that are in her company’s health care network. She’d prefer a doctor with experience treating transgender patients, with that doctor having an excellent reputation with transgender community members.
Where would a transgender person start their search for such a doctor? And if you were a doctor who treated transgender patients or a business that wanted to get the word out that it provided necessary transgender related goods or services to transgender people, or provided goods and services to transgender people in a welcoming and inclusive environment then where would you go to identify yourself as serving transgender people?
Andrea went to T-Spot’s Web site (http://tspotsandiego.org/) and downloaded their Resource Guide. If Andrea contacts one of two resources listed in the guide about health care services, she’ll likely get names of doctors to check out.
In February of this year, T-Spot achieved their goal of becoming a nonprofit. Their mission is threefold: education, outreach and connecting the community to resources.
As the vice president of the organization, Brooke Sullivan, explained to me, the Resource Guide is a melding of these missions in a single document. Even though the primary function of the guide is to connect community members to resources, it has sections of it entitled “How to be an Ally,” “Under The Umbrella,” “Genderqueer,” and “Intersex.” These are sections that are specifically designed to educate cisgender (non-transgender) people about issues and terminology with which they may not be familiar. The 24 page hard-copy of the booklet itself is designed to be the approximate height and width of a standard magazine, so it’s usable as an outreach document in office waiting rooms where magazines are left for patients or customers.
“We didn’t just want to make it for trans people,” Brooke says, “we wanted to make it for everybody.”
The T-Spot is also doing education. They go to colleges and universities and talk to students about varied trans experiences, which is what many people think in terms of when thinking about transgender speakers and panel discussions. But, they’re set up for corporate and cultural sensitivity training as well.
“We’re just educating people who didn’t know anything about trans people,” Brooke says.
At San Diego Pride, T-Spot “is in charge of the entire trans area, and the transgender community, gender non-conforming, intersex contingent.” This means that transgender nonprofits, as well as people and businesses providing commercial goods and services to transgender people that are tabling in the transgender areas of Pride are under the cognizance of T-Spot. It also means that the main longest running transgender contingent at Pride is organized by T-Spot.
Brooke sees a direction for T-Spot beyond their current limits.
“Now the key is us. It’s to continue tabling, it’s to continue panels, it’s to continue to do as many sensitivity training panels as we can – if we grow our ranks, we can really make a big push.
“And, that’s finally getting all the businesses that we’ve vetted as trans safe spaces, all of the different things in the county sectioned out; so if ‘I’m from East County, I know where I can go.’ T-Spot verified this, and that doesn’t mean that that new employee is going to know, but you know what? If there’s an issue, the people are committed to resolving it, and not stand for it. And on top of that, they’ve shown us it’s safe. And, that’s the key.”
Andrea, as well as numerous other transgender, genderqueer and gender non-conforming people, benefit from T-Spot’s service to their own community; the transgender community is served by T-Spot’s board when they do education and outreach on behalf of their transgender community. The transgender community in San Diego needs more people like the members of T-Spot’s board doing good, hard, necessary work.
T-Spot’s board members are Elias Tarver, president; Brooke Sullivan, vice president; Claire Russell, treasurer and Willowann Christimarie, secretary.
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