Tranz Central Coast
announced on April 9 that its peer-to-peer support groups have moved online for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organization Chair Jaime Woolf told New Times
that similar to the rest of San Luis Obispo’s residents, the transgender and nonbinary communities are feeling stressed but are “feeling it a little bit more than most.” Woolf said many members of those communities are already economically distressed and were already experiencing isolation, making the situation everyone is in all the more intense for them.
IMAGE COURTESY OF TRANZ CENTRAL COAST
STAYING SUPPORTIVE Tranz Central Coast Chair Jaime Woolf said some transgender and nonbinary members of the community were already experiencing isolation in their personal lives but the current pandemic is making the isolation more intense.
In the organization’s recent virtual meeting, she said, the discussion centered around trans individuals whose parents may live in the area but refuse to see them.
“There’s an isolation that occurred, and now it’s even more intense. Now, you can’t reconnect with your chosen family. Because when you’re excluded from others, you have to make your own family, and our groups are that for many members,” Woolf said.
In order to keep that connection flowing, Tranz Central Coast is working closely with the Gala Pride and Diversity Center
to make calls to members of both organizations to check-in during this time.
“We’re really working on this support group because it’s an absolutely critical thing. For many of our children, our trans-youth, are at great risk of bullying at school and often have parents that are not supportive,” Woolf said. “And now they’re just isolated at home and many of them are unable to express who their authentic self is.”
Woolf said the in-person support groups are often the only place where trans youth are able to use their preferred name and the pronouns that are appropriate for them.
“I just can’t imagine how hard it’s been for them, so I love to be able to have these groups and be able to bring them back together,” she said.
Currently, the virtual support groups are a way for youth and adults to hang out, say hello to one another, and talk about what’s going on in their lives.
The transgender and nonbinary support groups with Tranz Central Coast and the Gala Pride and Diversity Center will be every Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. The second and fourth Tuesdays of the month will be dedicated to the transgender and nonbinary youth group, ages 11 to 18, from 6 to 8 p.m., and the Stand Out Parent Support Group, open to parents of all LGBTQ-plus children from 6 to 8 p.m.
Individuals interested in participating in any of the available support groups can fill out this Support Group Form
to receive a link to join. ∆