Gender Discussion Group Provides Safe Space

Vita
November 27, 2018
transgender graphic and sneakers

Did you know that Middlesex Hospital's comprehensive Transgender Medicine Program includes a gender discussion group? This group is free and open to the public, and it attracts people of all ages who are questioning gender identity, who are in the process of transition and who have gone through transition. Allies, such as spouses or caretakers, can also participate to show their support.

Middlesex Hospital Transgender 2

Gender discussion group participants discuss whatever topics they desire. Topics often include medical services, such as hormone therapy and surgery; questions about ways to come out to family and friends; and ways to navigate discrimination in public and in the workplace. When transgender equality or discrimination is in the news, current events are also discussed.The community-based group meets on the first Tuesday of each month on the Middlesex Hospital campus in Middletown. From 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the entire group discusses various topics together. If a transgender person is uncomfortable being in a larger group with non-transgender people, they are encouraged to come at 7 p.m. when the group splits up. From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., family members, friends and allies move to the Hospital’s Randy Goodwin, MD Conference Center, while transgender participants remain in the David A. Baggish, M.D. Conference Center, formerly known as the Bengtson-Wood Conference Room.

During gender discussion group meetings, participants often share referrals for services and advice about dating, because romantic relationships post-transition are difficult for many people to fathom and initiate. All conversations are confidential and showing respect for others is a must. Medical staff members with special expertise in transgender care facilitate the group.

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The gender discussion group is very important to the community. It is a safe place for people to explore their gender identity in the company of others who are having, or who had, similar experiences. Often, people make the decision to isolate themselves, and the group provides support and lets them know they are not alone. For some individuals, it is the only social interaction they have outside of work. For others, it is the only time they are able to dress and present themselves as their preferred gender.

You do not have to live in Middlesex County to participate in the gender discussion group. Participants are from throughout Connecticut and vary in age, stage of transition and in experience.

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