Print this page

Newsletter - March 2008

MARCH 1, 2008 PROGRAM

Alan H. Schorr, Esq, of Alan H. Schorr & Associates, PC, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has agreed to speak on civil rights litigation at our meeting on March 1, 2007. Mary Ellen Burns, Esq. an associate with his firm, also expects to be present. She has represented me in a housing discrimination case. Mr. Schorr's firm specializes in employment discrimination, and the talk will focus upon the impact of the transgender anti-discrimination legislation which came into force in New Jersey on June 17, 2007. Topics may include problems associated with the integration of transgenders into the workplace, housing discrimination in addition discrimination, and whether to pursue a complaint with an attorney or through the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights.

A NOTE ON FOOD AT MEETINGS

Shopping at Save-a-Lot markets can reduce food costs at meetings to $20.00. The food we ate at the January 5, 2008 meeting came from a Save-A-Lot market. The member who drew this fact to our attention has generously agreed to shop for us. At this price, we can afford the sort of food members have become accustomed to. Though the Support Group will be paying for the food (which I hope we can afford), donations of food by members will be welcomed. I may donate some food at the March 2008 meeting.

FEBRUARY 2008 PROGRAM

Former member Lee Ann Etscovits gave a presentation entitled, "The Transgender Journey: An Experiential Roadmap" at our meeting on February 2, 2008. Ms Etscovits, a post operative transsexual psychotherapist, authored the column "Making Sense of it All" in the Renaissance newsletter Renaissance News and Views. Lee Ann spoke to the group before on her poetry (May 1, 1999 at a spacious upper room with a balcony and a spectacular view in what was then called the New Hope Inn) and on therapy (on September 1, 2000 in what I term the lounge, the room with the sofas and the easy chairs we used to use for the Open Forum when we met upstairs).

It would be difficult to summarize Ms Etscovits' presentation, first because it was based upon a diagram, and secondly because the program merged with the Open Forum Discussion. Members began asking numerous questions, and the program soon became interactive. I did not stop the program so that members could retire to the Open Forum first, because our usual moderator was not present, but secondly because speaker and members seemed already to be thoroughly enjoying what became in fact an Open Forum conducted by a licensed therapeutic practitioner.

While it would be impossible to summarize the program, the discussion focused around issues raised by Ms. Etscovits' diagram The Transgender Journey: An Experiential Roadmap" based upon a work by Judith Herman, From Trauma to Recovery. A picture is worth a thousand words according to the Chinese. The chart presents transition from past through the present toward the future as a passage through three walls, of fear, decision and commitment. The passage takes place on several levels, from suffering the truth to living it, from trauma to recovery, from social self-negation to social self-realization, and from suffering with shame and guilt to living with dignity and entitlement. Issues which were the subject of numerous questions and discussion included clarifying the difference between shame and guilt and the need for outer work (physical and social development) to be preceded by inner work.

As a postscript, anent psychotherapy, despite all the therapy many transgenders undergo, since I started attending meetings at Washington Crossing on January 3, 1998, my records indicate that Patricia Klein from Allentown gave a talk on February 5, 1999, and that Aviva Nubel, R.N. spoke on August 7, 1999 and January 5, 2002, in addition to the three talks by Lee Ann Etscovits. These are all the talks by therapists since January 1998. One agreed to come but cancelled, and a clinic which treats many transgenders refused to send a speaker. We need more qualified therapists to come speak at out meetings. If you know of any therapist who would be willing to come speak, please contact one of the members of the Board of Trustees.

UPCOMING PROGRAMS

APRIL 2008

Cerise Richards, M.D. will speak at our April 5, 2008 meeting on Brain Gender and Identity, followed by a power point presentation on Why we are who we are. Ms Richards, a cross dresser, is a former medical school professor and surgeon who has retired to New Hope, PA. She authored the column "Trans-World Med," discussing medical issues, in the Renaissance magazine Transgender Community News. This program is part of a series of talks designed to acquaint members with area physicians. Unlike Drs. O'Connor and McGinn, Dr. Richards is a cross dresser-and retired.

MAY 2008

We have reserved the facilities where we held the December 2007 Holiday Buffet for a similar event on May 3, 2008. We will discuss preparations at the March meeting. This event will be a fund raiser. Though we will charge as we did in December, it would be helpful if members would donate food to this event.

I am working on programs for after May 2008. I would welcome suggestions.

Jennifer Mae Barnes, President

February 27, 2008