by Margo Hall
A pandemic has a way of straining and stressing everyone and social distancing can feel more like isolation. It’s more important than ever that we find ways to connect with other people. However, finding those people to connect with can be difficult, especially if you are transgender like I am. These days, in order to stay safe, we need to find groups online to join and become a part of in order to maintain a sense of community.
In the Middle Tennessee area, there’s a group that has been around for quite some time and is showing no signs of slowing down. To keep up and to keep going, the group has switched from in-person meetings to online meetings and activities. They call themselves Tennessee VALS (T-VALS) and they are a transgender support and community group. The goal of the group is to be a safe and welcoming place for all transgender people to come together in support of each other. While they don’t and can’t offer professional counseling, it can be a good place to find leads on accepting providers.
The group is an essential part of the Middle Tennessee transgender community. The group provides a needed place for transgender people across the area to come together, form friendships and share resources. Personally, I’ve found it to be warm and friendly, and I’m grateful for this group’s very existence.
It’s both helpful and comforting to know that we aren’t alone because we have each other to lean on. Current events only make this group more essential to our community. Finding a place to be free and to talk to people who understand what you are experiencing is very important, especially with all that’s going on in today’s atmosphere. It can often mean the difference between life and death for some of us. That’s why this group is beneficial for our area, and why I’m so amazed and impressed at the group’s flexibility. Finding ways to still socialize and congregate online instead of in person, they have adapted very well in such a short time and the change to virtual meetings hasn’t seemed to affect the group’s dynamic.
If you are interested in staying connected, getting involved is as simple as finding them on Facebook. The group is accepting of everyone and all you need to do is reach out and join the Facebook group.
I hope everyone is capable of staying safe during these trying times. Remember staying connected is important, and so I urge you to try reaching out yourselves. It’s a decision you won’t regret — I know I don’t!
As Maya Angelou said, “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”
Find the group on Facebook by clicking here.