My ‘About Me’ video just dropped an hour ago. If you want to blow your mind, check it out.
It’s 3 minutes and 30 seconds or so of amazingness. Shot mostly on location in my exotic and luxurious Sparks, Nevada office. I also got to spend a lovely day with Debbie last Saturday, looking for rainbow things and taking photos and video footage all over Reno. I learned how to splice together film and audio, how to make the sound loud and quiet and how to add text and credits to a video.
I have to give credit to Nick Gapp, Media Production Specialist, at Dynamic Media Lab at UNR, who helped me with my video when I had gotten a little too “extra” and got lost in the sequence. He also showed me the ins and outs of sound mixing.
The Transgender Allies Group (TAG) is an advocacy group for transgender people in Nevada. They go to the Nevada state legislature and lobby to have bills passed and sometimes terminated.
TAG has been around since 2010. A bathroom bill brought TAG into existence. At the time, Nevada was considered one of the lowest states for LGBTQ welcomeness. As a result of massive legislation in this state over the years, Nevada, in 2020, was ranked number ONE by USA Today as the most LGBTQ-friendly state in the nation. The rankings looked at legislation, number of hate crimes, and LGBTQ population per state.
Some TAG wins here in our good ‘ole Nevada:
One of the easiest states to get ones birth certificate changed
It is very easy to change ones’ gender marker
No longer have to publish your name in the newspaper when you do a name change
No longer have to prove to the DMV that a 3rd party verifies who you are
One of the few states that has an X gender on drivers’ licenses
When I spoke with Sherrie Scaffidi, the president of TAG (see here and here for more on Sherrie) she said one of the reasons they have been so successful is that TAG has good rapport with the Nevada State Senators. Nevada has four open LGBTQ legislators. Sherrie said it has been easy to get them on board with getting various bills sponsored, supported, or killed.
The TAG board is currently comprised of two transgender women, two transgender men, and one cis gay man. These folks are the president, secretary, treasurer, and two directors.
The meetings are held via Zoom on the fourth Thursday of every month in conjunction with Northern Nevada’s Carson City chapter of PFLAG, for which Sherrie is also the president. For anyone who is not familiar with PFLAG, they are the first and largest organization for LGBTQ people, their parents and families, and allies.
TAG has about 12 active members, but Sherrie knows that they touch the lives of many, many more in Nevada. It’s unknown exactly how many people, though, because TAG does not maintain a listserve in order to preserve anonymity of those seeking assistance. TAG often deals with people who are not ready to come out. Sherrie estimates they affect 50 to 100 people personally and one-on-one per year in helping with transitioning legal tasks like name changes.
When a bill gets passed specific to the transgender community, TAG doesn’t know how exactly many people they are going to touch. Nevada is estimated to have approximately 12,600 transgender people in 2022.
They have a great name-change roadmap and forms on their website and a ton of resources, but the website is definitely out of date, so I know some of it is not useful any more.
They need to update their woefully out-of-date website and develop a business presence on LinkedIn. They do have a twitter @TAGNevada which is very active, and I applaud that.
TAG needs to work on their marketing and outreach. Because they don’t collect listserves, they don’t have much of an outreach strategy. Mostly, it’s just Sherrie putting her personal contact information out everywhere she can. They get some contacts through PFLAG.
Although not a social group, TAG hosts a Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church in Reno every November.
TAG’s most current issue is advocating for the LGBTQ community in the Nevada prison system. Transgender inmates are being put in the wrong gender population. A transgender woman’s legal documents may confirm that she is female, but because she has male genitalia, she is often placed with the men’s population. These inmates are often denied their hormones. TAG is bringing new legislation in the latest session to address these injustices.
Sherrie wants you to know that TAG can help with anything having to do with gender transitioning. And if you show them something they have never seen before and don’t have an answer to, they want to help you figure it out.
Sherrie helped me in 2021 to develop a powerpoint presentation for my organization on terminology and etiquette related to transitioning and transgender employees.
a full set of weightlifting and cross-training equipment
hang-boards on hang-boards on hang-boards
a snack section
a gear and merch section
I think I saw a birthday room
an upstairs lounge (no nasty climber couches, but tables and stuff)
group and one-on-one climbing classes
a rooftop deck with grill
co-ed sauna and binary locker rooms that include non-binary
They also have kids stuff, for the gays with shorties
The website shows that Mesa Rim operates 6 locations here, in California and they are opening one of them in Texas this fall. They say their “… founders dreamed of creating an inclusive space where people of all walks of life and abilities could venture out of their comfort zones in pursuit of a remarkable movement experience.” Righteous.
This is the second installment of my interview with Ms. Sherrie Scafidi, the president of the Transgender Allies Group, or TAG. TAG is mostly a lobbying organization for transgender rights, but they provide extensive resources for those who are seeking legal gender identity changes, including a flow chart on how to do it.
She also helps those not in the community by educating, speaking, and acting as a “standardized patient,” which is someone who plays the part of the patient at a medical school and guides the med student or nurse practitioner in the proper language and treatment of a transgender person. There is a great article from my very own UNR where Sherrie is quoted and photographed.
What are some of the things that you have done with TAG that you are particularly proud of?
A transgender person no longer has to publish their name change in the newspaper. When she changed her name in January 2017, it had to be listed in the newspaper. The law which changed that was passed in the 2017 legislative session one month later, in February.
A transgender person no longer has to prove by a third party to the DMV that they are who they say they are. She said that when she changed her driver’s license, she had to get a third-party doctor to verify who she was. Now, Nevada is one of the few states that has an X gender and no verification now needed.
Sherrie also works full-time currently and is the president of PFLAG, the first and largest organization for LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies. She also has her own consulting business where she gets paid to educate and speak. She works with local security firms to educate their guards on the laws surrounding gender and bathroom use in Nevada.
In what little free time I can’t imagine she has much of, she loves to cook. She said that she spends all her money on shoes, cooking stuff, and model railroading. She also still has all the equipment from when she had worked as a gunsmith.
Sherrie identifies as a lesbian. She laments that the local lesbian community is not as welcoming to her as a transgender woman as she wishes they were. As a member of that community, I was saddened by that statement but I also recognize that, though a generalization, my experience is similar. I believe it may be due to a lack of understanding (and maybe even empathy?).
Sherrie wants people to know that if they are transgender, they can help out the community by being open and visible if they are brave enough. She would love to start back up her half-hour radio show about LGBTQ individuals that was cut short by COVID-19. She sees the value in growing a national audience for something like that.
Little did I know, all those years, pushing the rink floor and the pavement on those rollerblades through the University of Illinois campus quad in Champaign, down the Lakefront, and all through that great city of Chicago that I would have to have that conversation with my parents that I was dating a woman.
Since then, I’ve rollerbladed the hills of Wyoming, the parks of Las Vegas, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and now the Parkways of Reno/Sparks. Reno and Sparks have some amazing bike trails which double as rollerblading heaven.
Terry, from Reno 911 knew how great these streets are for rolling. Especially by the Taco, Taco, Taco.
Just this past weekend, I drove myself down to the Rosebud Nature Study Preserve at Veterans’ Parkway and Pembroke Drive in Sparks. There, I strapped on me ole trusty K2 blades and rolled for a pleasant 20 minutes south, over creeks, past fields of cows, passing underneath the Parkway, and to South Meadows Parkway, where the trail ended.
I could have kept rolling down the perfectly manicured, smooth sidewalks which line this southern part of Veterans’ Parkway, but I didn’t know if my new knee agreed. I had my ACL replaced this time last year and I’m still trying to figure out what it will allow me to do. I turned around and made it back to my car. It was about 7 miles in 40 minutes. Not bad. And I didn’t have to worry about traffic except at well-kept stoplights.
I hardly noticed the cars passing by. I saw a LOT of friendly bikers. It was one of the first beautiful days of Spring. I sang 80’s songs to the cows as I paraded past.
If you love the 4-wheeled boots like I do, I encourage you to check out some of these trails. Wear your brightest neon clothing and rainbows while you sweat and firm up that booty. See you out there!