Updated: Mar 23, 2021
Today took a turn away from brisk morning air and warm afternoons to snowflakes and stiff winds. Though this weather could easily slide back to mild autumnal temperatures tomorrow, no doubt we will soon see the streets lit festively for the holidays. You may very well be reading this by a crackling fire with a warm cup of cocoa in your hands. Culturally, there exists a romanticized view of this time of year: warm sweaters, the comfort of coming in from the cold, the sweet treats, and showering gifts on friends and family. But it’s a fraught season for many.
For some, this time of year highlights their isolation and loneliness, their pain made clearer in contrast to abounding messages of joy. And there are those among us struggling to find a warm, safe place to sleep each night. Google the phrase “Transgender in the winter” and you’ll find some articles about what’s fashionable to wear in the snow, and others about surviving on the streets in freezing temperatures. In true Dickensian fashion, our “Season of Light” is also our “Season of Darkness.”
It would be arrogant to imagine that I could offer a list of solutions to these struggles; they reflect systemic failures and the depths of loss and anguish that cannot easily be swept away. Any trans people struggling this winter should know that there are opportunities for support that may provide solace, or perhaps community, to fill the void that isolation has left. TGI Network hosts support group meetings
Our “Season of Light” is also our “Season of Darkness.”
five times a month (email borderlands@ tginetwork.org for more information), and many group members support one another with additional gatherings throughout the holidays. In addition, Thundermist Health Center’s Trans Health Team offers a number of wellness events that can both support your emotional and physical health, and bring you closer to other people.
As I reflect on the year behind us and look to the year ahead, I am grateful for the work that TGI Network board members and volunteers have done to provide support, community events, and advocacy for Rhode Island’s transgender, gender diverse, and intersex communities. We rolled out a new training program that is bringing affordable training in allyship and inclusion to organizations throughout the state. We built on our calendar of Interfaith Services, led by LGBTQ+ clergy specifically for our LGBTQ+ community. We gathered again to celebrate empowerment and remember those we have lost. We look forward to the new year with hope, committed to our mission to serve Rhode Island’s gender diverse community however we can.
TGI Network of Rhode Island is the only statewide organization providing support, advocacy, and education for the transgender, gender-diverse, and intersex community (aka trans community). Incorporated in 2011, our mission is to be a resource for TGI people navigating their lives and the medical and legal systems; to serve as a resource for professionals working with TGI people; and to serve as a liaison between the TGI and LGB communities and the community at large. Visit us at www.tginetwork.org.