I was at Our Center last weekend to participate in their program “Women Who Brunch.” On the website, it is billed as a “monthly event [that] mixes great food and conversation to encourage the growth of community in a friendly nonstructured environment. Le[d] by our own volunteer[,] Debbie Dyke.”
Yup, that’s our Debbie.
At the same time, Trans in Northern Nevada, or TINN, was holding a board game event.
TINN was wrapping up, but Valerie and Francesca spent some time with me so I could learn more about their organization. Apparently, Valerie had spoken during the meeting and talked about her intersex status.
Francesca is the co-founder and president of TINN. She said that they wanted an opportunity where transgender folks could get out and meet each other and learn from each other. TINN started in 2011 after a prior group, which was centered around the bars, fell apart.
Francesca said that she transitioned in 2011, legally changed her name in 2013 and underwent surgery in 2015. She said she dressed in female clothing when she was a child. She wanted to play with dolls and play foursquare with the girls, but she would find herself in trouble with the adults. She learned she was different in 1970 from watching a movie, but continued to live in her assigned gender until 2011 when she started transitioning. She even married a woman in 1975, and started cross-dressing again in 1985.
She said they hold these TINN meetings to hear people’s stories. She said that having these talks makes you feel good. Sometimes the meetings have 6 people and sometimes 30. They also do movie nights, hiking, bowling, and are always looking to plan other events, too. Francesca loves karate and will take anyone to learn karate for many reasons, including self-defense.
The best way to find TINN is through a group on Facebook and programming events at Our Center. You have to fill out a questionnaire to get on the Facebook group. Just make sure you’re not looking for a relationship–that’s not what this group is about. As of today, they have 246 members. They also put out a paper resource guide that you can pick up at Our Center.
She is very proud of helping people. Data indicate that 82% of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves and 40% have attempted suicide. Only one person in their group has killed themselves.
When I asked Francesca what she wants people knew about TINN, she said she wished people knew that TINN is a safe group. They accept everyone for who they are. If the folks in TINN can help, they want to help you transition. Having friends in a supportive trans group is the best thing you can do to not be alone.