About our Support Groups:
The backbones of MaineTransNet's programming are our peer-to-peer support groups. In these groups, trained transgender identified facilitators lead a group of trans people (and sometimes allies) though a casual yet structured meeting where people can ask questions, share their successes and challenges, get advice, and enjoy the feeling of being a non-judgmental, trans led space.
Topics of discussion often include transition issues and resources questions, community updates, relationship changes, work challenges, mental health, personal victories and so much more. After many of the meetings, some attendees choose to go out to dinner or for coffee together to continue being in community with one another.
In an effort to keep meetings as safe and welcoming as possible for as many in our community as possible, all of our meetings begin with a review of our group guidelines or community agreements. They are as follows:
- This is a confidential space. Please do not mention people who are not present in this room, and please do not talk about who was in this room outside of this meeting without their express permission. This means, if you bump into each other in the grocery store or on the street, please act as though you have not met unless you pre-agree on an alternative way of handling this situation.
- No Cross Talk: only one person talking at a time
- Please Avoid Generalizations (generally speaking :p)
- Please set cell phones to vibrate or silent. If you must take a call, please take it out of the room
- This is a non-judgmental space. Everyone who says they are trans is trans enough to be here. There is no right or wrong way to be you.
- No unsolicited advice. Please only give advice when it is asked for. If you want advice, please say so.
- No violent or sexual language. Even in jest. We do not know everyone's story and what their triggers might be. Failure to follow this rule can result in us asking you to leave.
- Respect that people come from different backgrounds than you. If you make a mistake with language or terminology, be open to correction. We strive to create a space where our participants are called into best ways to support one another.
We emphasize that these are just guidelines and that they are broken from time to time in an effort to allow needed conversation, or simply because we are all people who make mistakes. If you are struggling with any of these, please reach out to us or discuss your challenges with your group facilitator. We want to support people in constructive participation in our meetings.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: I'm questioning my gender identity, have never met other trans people, and I'm REALLY nervous about attending group. What should I do?
A: Join us anyway! Many people were very nervous about attending for the first time, but you'll quickly find that we are a very accepting bunch of folks. There is no pressure for you to talk or share anything tat you dont want to. Many people coming to the group for the first time choose to just listen. This is totally fine! You are welcome here at MTN!
Q: Why Can't I bring my very-supportive partner/friend.parent/child to a trans only meeting?
A: Support allies are wonderful and we're so thankful they exist. Some of our meetings are "trans-only" for the comfort and safety of those in the group who are most comfortable in a trans only space and would not otherwise attend the group. Most of our lives are shared with cisgender people, and trans only meetings may be the only time that many of us have an opportunity to exist in a trans only space. This is not meant to offend our cis allies, and we ask that you respect our trans only guideline in groups where it applies. Please feel free to attend our trans & allies groups, social events, and community events. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more info about ways to get involved.
Q: I'm not really looking for "support," but I want to get involved with MaineTransNet. What can I do?
A: We are always looking for volunteers willing to be a part of creating the programming that they would like to see! If you are interested in helping to start non-support programming, like a book club, coffee house, bird-watching society etc. We would love to talk to you about it! You can contact us at email@example.com.
Q: I want to come to group for the first time, what do I wear?
A: Whatever you want! Wear what makes you the most comfortable. Remember, this is a non-judgmental space and you are welcome at MTN no matter your gender expression!