By Ivy Hill
As a long time supporter of the Campaign for Southern Equality (more on that later), I’m excited about my work in my new role as CSE’s LGBT Rights Toolkit Coordinator.
The LGBT Rights Toolkit is all about responding to immediate, direct needs in our community for LGBT-friendly services. Through in-person clinics and our online toolkit, we respond to these needs. Sometimes that means providing direct legal education on topics like name changes; sometimes it means providing referrals to safe, LGBT-friendly medical providers.
So far my work has included taking part in the recent WNC LGBT Health Fair, where CSE connected transgender and gender non-conforming folks with much needed resources like name change guides, Health Care Power of Attorney forms, our Funding Your Transition resource guide, and journals created by trans* folks for trans* folks. With 41% of trans* people having attempted suicide and more than 60% reporting having struggled with suicidal ideation, the importance of connecting trans* people with as many resources as possible cannot be overstated. That’s why all of these resources are available for free on CSE’s LGBT Rights Toolkit website that I’ll be maintaining as part of my new role.
Another piece of the work I will be digging into is organizing an employment clinic tailored specifically to trans* folks, paired with a job fair with trans* friendly employers in Upstate South Carolina. The employment clinic programing includes training in how to write CV’s and resumes, mock interviews, and addressing anxiety around gender presentation in the workplace. With this coupling of services, folks will hopefully leave the clinic with an interview scheduled with a trans* friendly employer, feeling completely confident going into that interview. I’m excited about how this work can have a real and lasting positive impact on the lives of trans* folks living in Upstate South Carolina.
In addition to this work, I’m also fired up about the pop-up style direct services clinic I’m organizing for the 3rd LGBT* in the South Conference, which will take place May 18-20, 2016 in Asheville, North Carolina. We will provide much needed free services like: consultations with a surgeon for gender confirmation surgery, crisis intervention support, HIV testing, peer counseling, consultations with attorneys, chaplaincy services, and more.
I’ve been a big Campaign for Southern Equality fan since late 2011 when CSE came to Greenville, South Carolina to talk about potentially running a WE DO action here. They spoke of social justice, empathetic resistance, and love; and my wife and I fell in love with CSE’s work. Through our work as co-founders and leaders of Gender Benders, a grassroots support and advocacy group for trans* folks in the southeast, we have been so fortunate to be able to count CSE among our greatest allies.
I’m honored to be working with CSE to serve the community in this way over the coming months. Thank you for all your continued support. I hope to see you at the conference.