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Newsletter - September 2008

SEPTEMBER 2008 NEWSLETTER

SEPTEMBER 6, 2008 PROGRAM

There has been a change in the September program. Betty Ajamian just returned from a trip abroad and said that, while she could come on September 6, she could give a better program if we could wait until later. Furthermore, she was all out of brochures, which she would wish to distribute at any presentation. In the meantime, GRAANJ (Gender Rights Advocacy Association for New Jersey) called up and asked if she could give a program in September. She cannot come in October, and waiting until November would be too late for her time-sensitive materials. So, since the November 1 program is free, Betty will come then, and Terry will come this Saturday. Arrangements were finalized on August 31, 2008.

Hence, Terry McCorkell will give a presentation on several topics regarding transgender rights, including voter registration (see also material from NCTE posted on Portia's Legal Page on our website regarding the effect of name change on registration), the referendum on transgender rights in Montgomery County, Maryland (material on this will be distributed by the secretary with individual meeting notices), and transgender rights in the 2008 elections. At this meeting we will also discuss possible Support Group participation in Transgender Remembrance Day on November 20, 2008 at the Princeton University Chapel, as well as decide if we wish to have Betty Ajamian set up a shopping tour at a regional Dress Barn some Saturday afternoon before meeting. Perhaps we should also begin thinking about the Holiday Buffet.

THE AUGUST 2, 2008 PROGRAM-ELECTION NIGHT AND OUR ANNIVERSARY

The following slate of officers was elected by acclamation at the August 2, 2008 meeting: President, Jennifer Mae Barnes; vice president, Leah Edwards; secretary, Judy Woods; and treasurer, Ronnie Dougherty. Former vice president Pat stepped down, but will continue to assist with treasury matters. Leah Edwards was vice president from 2000-2002.

On August 3, 1996, South Jersey Renaissance was reconstituted as the New Jersey Support Group and held its first meeting at Washington Crossing. Our August meeting fell a day shy of our 12th anniversary.

MISCELLANEOUS NEWS

OBITUARY

Judy Todd Hardenburg died on August 22 of cancer. Judy was a long time significant other member of the New Jersey Support Group and the Saturday Night Regulars, with which we share many members. Judy provided hospitality for numerous transgenders who visited the Hardenburg residence in West Franklin, PA. She regularly attended Support Group and SNR meetings with her estranged husband, Alice Hardenburg, for many years. Together the Hardenburgs hosted a variety of monthly events for transgenders, including Endless Mountains Girls and my favorite event of the month for many years, Girls's Night Out. Judy was an organist at the Presbyterian Church in Stockton, NJ for a long time, and played occasionally at other churches as well until retiring in 2005. For several years, she opened Elegance Plus, a consignment shop which offered women's fashion to women and transwomen. What caused what seemed to be a happy marriage of 43 years to break up I fear is a mystery to me. Her cancer was diagnosed and determined to be terminal around November 2006, and required high dose chemotherapy. She is survived by Alice, children Ellen and Todd, and granddaughter Dorothy. We can and should celebrate the life of a person who for many years extended her hospitality freely to transgenders. A funeral was held in Phillipsburg, NJ on August 27, which some Support Group members attended. Nonetheless, a memorial service is being set up at the church where we meet on a meeting Saturday afternoon in the future. Transgenders will be welcome at this memorial.

DELAWARE RENAISSANCE

Communications with Diane Boykin regarding links to our website led to the following notice:

If you want to put in a plug for us, our September program is the Delaware Pride Festival in Rehoboth Beach (road trip!), and for October it's Dr. Sherman Leis, the surgeon.

Delaware Renaissance meets on the second Saturday of each month. Check our link to their website on ours for further details.

PROGRAMS-FILMS AT MEETINGS

The discovery that it is possible to show even feature films on a notebook computer to a limited audience increases the variety of educational and entertainment services the Support Group can offer members. If you missed a transgender film at your local cinema, contact the Board of Trustees. Some member may have a copy, and we can schedule a showing for you and others who are interested. Please contact the Board also if you have a film you wish to share. We need not restrict our offering to feature films. The Delaware Renaissance Chapter and the Chi Delta Mu Chapter of Tri-Ess both frequently make film showings with following discussion into the program. The Saturday Night Regulars occasionally show films. We used to show films regularly. There is no need for there to be a conflict between the Open Forum and cultural events like movies. We have enough space for three functions to be going on at once, the Open Forum, a film and informal socializing. In fact, I would be surprised if some evening the Open Forum did not begin with a short film for discussion.

PROGRAMS-SURVEY QUESTIONS

Do you have suggestions as to how the meetings might be improved, or wish to give an opinion on how Support Group activities could be improved? Check out the website. The webmistress is posting individual survey questions.

UPCOMING PROGRAMS

OCTOBER 2008 MEETING

Trish Sheridan of Lia Sophia jewelry will make her annual visit. The holidays are coming. Here is a change to buy presents for others, or stock up.

NOVEMBER 2008 MEETING

Betty Ajamian of Artistry Cosmetics will speak at our meeting on November 1, 2008. A topic she proposed is adapting cosmetics to changing seasons and weather conditions. I think that several members would like to receive information on this issue, especially when colder weather begins in November. But she wishes to run a series of topics by me. She also may have a colleague present who will demonstrate a dermabrasion device. She will also be available for individual color coordination consultations.

In the past, the Support Group has tended to invite Mary Kay consultants to speak, but the Support Group cannot endorse any particular brand. An Estee Lauder representative has spoken to the group, and we may invite representatives from this firm, or from Mary Kay, Artistry and other cosmetics firms to speak in the future. I consider cosmetics programs to be mixed educational/vendor functions because the more you pass, the less transphobes are likely to harass. And skin care is a big element in passing, which will be a focus of Ms Ajamian's (and colleague's) presentations.

Betty Ajamian has contacts with local Dress Barn establishments. I do believe that the closest Dress Barn lies in Bordentown, something of a distance. If any members are interested, perhaps we can arrange a shopping trip some Saturday afternoon before meeting.

NOVEMBER 20, 2008

November 20 is Transgender Remembrance Day. There will be a celebration at nearby Princeton University. Let us see if the support group can send some members. Watch upcoming newsletters for further details, such as time and parking. If we decide to car pool, I will check into the possibility of members leaving their cars in the church parking lot.

DECEMBER 2008 MEETING

We will have our Holiday Buffet on December 6 at the usual times and location. Keep watching the newsletter-and attend meetings-for further information.

On December 20, 2008, the Saturday Night Regulars, Sigma Nu Rho, will hold its Christmas Party at the Main Street Manor in Flemington, New Jersey.

Jennifer Mae Barnes, President

September 1, 2008