29 January 2016

Trans Sydney Pride

Many people in the transgender community were taken by surprise by just how much of a watershed year 2015 was for trans people. Never has so much been written about what it is to live a trans life and these stories have appeared in many of the world’s most prestigious titles.
Of course the transition of Caitlyn Jenner and the subsequent television series was the catalyst. Indeed, Barbara Walters named her the ‘Most Interesting Person of 2015’. Many others also broke through with positive messages. In the US, trans activist Janet Mock published her best-selling memoir Refining Realness while Laverne Cox rose to become one of the most respected transgender advocates. In Australia, Cate McGregor has been working tirelessly as a diversity champion and is the Queensland finalist for Australian of the Year 2016.
In the midst of all this, Peta Friend, an acquaintance of mine for over 20 years, invited six local trans women of all ages to lunch one early September Sunday. She had an idea brewing in her mind to create a social and support group for trans men and women of Sydney. 
“I felt inspired to create something within the trans community where trans men and woman can come together in a social environment and have some fun, share our stories and support each other,” Peta said.

By the end of that lunch, Trans Sydney Pride was created. 

Group member Penny Clifford had a Facebook page up and running by the next day and we began to invite friends, acquaintances and other trans people we knew to join us. That group now has 280 members and is active every day with members posting media articles, videos, personal stories and experiences, and exchanging views, information and support. 

Beyond the online space, the group has held small monthly gatherings where members can meet in real-time, make friends, be ourselves and meet other fabulous and like-minded people. Each month our numbers have been building and at our Christmas party we saw 80 members and some of our allies dancing the night away and celebrating new friendships.
 Katherine Wolfgramme has been a member of the Sydney trans community for many years. She is currently studying Community Services at Sydney TAFE and plans to work in trans youth counselling.
“I believe the trans journey can be very isolating and it’s refreshing to see the support, encouragement and wisdom that has been shared with the newer trans people,” Katherine said. “Trans Sydney Pride has bought together trans people from all walks of life. The beauty of this group is it is absolutely inclusive without any political agenda, and trans activism is not welcome”.
Chrissy Doyle is a girl who has recently began living her life authentically without apology. It was actually her extremely supportive mother that came across Trans Sydney Pride, which Chrissy said is like a little family that is always there for you.
“The monthly meet-ups are so important because we get to meet and socialise together with all the different, vibrant and wonderful personalities all in varied stages of transition,” Chrissy said. “It’s so wonderful and I’ve made lots and lots of friends, the vibe is so happy and positive – just like the vibe on the Facebook page.”
JoAnna Ferrari is a strong and inspirational businesswoman who coaches individuals and businesses. She is a regular poster in the Trans Sydney Pride group, spreading positive and affirming advice.
 “I don’t participate in other trans groups because they are too political and angry,” JoAnna said. 
“I love TSP because it is just people proud to be trans, happy to be themselves and who treat each other fairly and support each other. It is certainly the first time I have encountered this cohesiveness in our community. I love Peta Friend and the members of TSP and 100 per cent support Peta in keeping it as free of negatives and politics as possible.”
Trans men and women in the Sydney area are very welcome to find the Trans Sydney Pride page on Facebook and request to join. 
“It is really encouraging to see how quickly it has evolved into a supportive and fun group and that is thanks to the amazing trans men and woman in the group – they are Trans Sydney Pride,” Peta said.
“As individuals we are strong but as a group anything is possible.”
Trans Sydney Pride is a closed group on Facebook. Search ‘Trans Sydney Pride’

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