Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Transgender Blog Challenge Day 5: Are you active in the LGBT community?

Today's Transgender Blog Challenge question is:
Are you active in the trans community or the LGBT community?

I am, although not quite as much as I was when I was still in university.  This is the basic timeline of my LGBT and trans involvement:

From 2003 - 2005 and most of 2006 I was only active online.  I was way too shy to actually do anything in person, and I was pretty closeted at school.  I kept wanting to go to campus events but I couldn't muster up the courage.  In 2006 I decided to go to an event because one of my gay classmates was going to go and I figured my awkwardness would be buffered by him (I'd come out to him in an email, but I'll tell that story tomorrow).  That led to me going to a meeting of Students for a Fair Wisconsin to fight against Wisconsin's anti-same-sex-marriage amendment that passed that year, and then the Rainbow Alliance.

From 2006 to my graduation in 2009 I was extremely active on campus.  I was a representative for Students for a Fair Wisconsin and was on the executive board of the Rainbow Alliance for two years, and I also helped lead an informal group of people whose mission was to counter-protest bigots who harassed students in front of the library periodically.

I'm the one with the rainbow sign, of course.
I also did a lot of education work and blogging.  For a while I was big in the bisexual community with my rad queer blog that has since gone out of business due to... uh... embarrassment on multiple levels.  There were teachers who didn't feel confident in their lessons on transgender issues, so I'd lecture their classes instead (this has since been taken over by some friends of mine who are still in the area).  When I graduated I won the Queer Student Leadership Award for it.

My involvement tapered off until I went to a technical college, which was totally awkward because it was such a different environment (to give an example of the awkwardness, our advisor went on a big rant about how awful the word "queer" is).  I did a lot of education work there, too, although due to time constraints I wasn't quite as active as I was at university.  The people in that group are luckily very receptive to being told their experience in the LGBT and queer communities may be different from others.  I helped them put together a SAFE program and got them to start going to campus conferences; it's a new group and I'm really proud of it.

Right now most of my outside involvement with other LGBT and queer people is actually through the Pagan community.  I go to some Pride events (usually I have a shitty time but I keep going; this year's was pretty good though I have to admit).  I want to get more involved with a statewide bisexual and pansexual organization called 521, but I've been having difficulty swinging that due to income.  The bulk of my activity is with friends... being queer and having been in the community so long, most of my friends are queer or trans.  Which is, of course, a hell of a lot of activity.