Out Boulder County Transgender Program
Our programming is targeted to serve transgender, gender non-conforming, and questioning adults and youth of all ages in Boulder County. While we have served as a resource for transgender people since our founding, in the last year we hired a Transgender Program Manager and have focused intently on creating specific programming to address the unique issues of the trans* community.
If you are interested in more information about how to change your legal name and gender marker on official Government documents, you can click here to access the presentation from our Transgender Name Change Workshop (huge thanks to Denver Fingerprinting for this powerpoint. You can learn more about their expedited FBI & CBI background checks here: http://www.denverfingerprinting.com/)
To access a list of transgender resources in Boulder County, head over to: www.outboulder.org/content/trans
If you're looking for a support group to join, you can access more information about our varied selection of groups here: www.outboulder.org/supportgroups
Learn more about local health care professionals here: www.transhealthbouldercounty.org/
If you're interested in volunteering with Out Boulder County, you can fill out a volunteer application here: www.outboulder.org/volunteer
While Out Boulder has always provided support for transgender people and welcomed folks of any gender identity or expression, we’ve made a deliberate and focused effort in the last two years to provide more resources for transgender people in Boulder County.
In January 2014, Out Boulder and the Boulder Trans* and Genderqueer Support Group rallied 15 members of the trans community to share their stories with the City of Boulder’s Human Relations Commission (HRC). They discussed homelessness, poverty, unemployment, difficulty getting medical care, and more. Our goal was to provide funding for a part time Transgender Program Liaison at Out Boulder who could coordinate the singular trans-focused efforts going on across the County and propose new programming to cater to the needs of Boulder’s transgender community.
Once the HRC approved seed funding to begin this new program, Sara Connell was hired in a part-time capacity to serve as our Transgender Program Liaison. The first step in this process was a town hall meeting in Longmont to collect information about what issues were affecting trans community members the most and how Out Boulder County could offer help. Many important issues were discussed, but the strongest takeaway was that Longmont needed a transgender support group.
Within a month, Nicole Garcia, a transgender Latina and therapist in Longmont, held a training for community facilitators and trans people started meeting every 1st and 3rd Saturday. Boulder Pridefest also offered an opportunity for change and growth, as we saw our biggest transgender volunteer pool ever and increased the number of booths serving trans folks by 250%. Transgender visibility was a focus of Pride Week, with Sara leading the LGBTQ Visibility March and a Trans and Ally Bicycle Pride Ride.
In October of 2014, Out Boulder County secured funding from The Ellis Foundation in Seattle to hold a Transgender Leadership Institute with Lou Weaver, a nationally-recognized leader on trans issues and key member of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance campaign in Houston, TX. This group of local trans activists and leaders carried on their work through our Transgender Steering Committee and by facilitating meetings of the Boulder and Longmont Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Support Groups.
Shortly afterward, the Transgender Steering Committee and held a week of educational events focused on raising visibility of trans people in Boulder County, culminating in Boulder’s first ever event for Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th, 2014. Over 70 members of our transgender community and allies gathered on Pearl Street to hear speeches from transgender Latina activist Nicole Garcia, other members of the trans community, Amy Zuckerman from Boulder’s Human Relations Commission, and a statement from Jared Polis, Boulder’s Congressional member in the House of Representatives. Community members then walked silently down Pearl Street bearing a banner with the names of those we had lost in 2014 in the US and across the world. Everyone then gathered in the Labyrinth of the First United Methodist Church to share in a somber and cathartic remembrance ceremony where we read the names of victims and let the memory of their sacrifice and truth permeate the room. It was a difficult night, but an important one, which galvanized the transgender community in Boulder and connected us to the hardship and violence all trans people face across the globe for nothing more than living authentically.
Out Boulder County's next major project was another collaboration with the Human Relations Commission. In the first few months of the new year, the HRC approved a plan to fund bus board advertisements in Boulder showcasing local transgender people. We designed this campaign to be radical in its normalcy. Our goal was to show local people from the trans community in their favorite places around Boulder accompanied by personalized, positive, and empowering messages to provide local context to a growing international climate of transgender visibility. We worked with local photographer Heidi Wagner on collaborative photo sessions, where each model chose the location of their shoot, directed what shots to get, and ultimately had the final say in which photo we used. Even though more transgender people in the last year have been the focus of the camera lens, that visibility hasn’t translated to many opportunities for transgender people to direct or frame their own experience. We wanted to create a space where trans people were able to direct their own representation.
Boulder Pride Week in September 2015 brought even more visibility to the transgender community, as our bus boards ran on local routes in the City of Boulder and full-size vinyl reproductions were displayed at every event, including our one night only screening of Transamerica with a Q&A session from writer and director, Duncan Tucker himself. Our visibility campaign was seen by over 30,000 people by the end of the month.
The Trans Steering Committee, led by Morgan Seamont, organized events in November for Trans Awareness Week, again ending with a candlelight vigil. This year, we were joined by over 100 people on a cold, snowy night. We heard from Nevaeh Anderson, a trans activist living in Denver, and Nicole Garcia again, in addition to the newly elected Mayor of Boulder, Suzanne Jones. Boulder’s Old Courthouse on Pearl Street was also lit in the colors of the transgender flag.
Starting on October 1st of 2015, Sara launched a Trans and Gender Expansive Youth Group in collaboration with Trans Youth Education and Support (TYES), a statewide network of trans families who lean on each other for support and guidance in raising trans youth. Our first meeting had 6 youth in attendance, and we’ve continued to have a diverse at every group since. The group meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month from 4 - 5:30 at Out Boulder County.
June 2016 marked a huge turning point for Out Boulder County, as we opened our first sattelite location in Longmont on Main Street, and changed our name to Out Boulder County, in order to better reflect our work across many locations in Boulder County. This location gave us a new way to reach transgender people, especially to reach trans people of color, who are much more likely to be living in Longmont due to Boulder's rising cost of housing.
In the spring and summer of 2016, Out Boulder County partnered again with the City of Boulder Human Relations Commission to offer a bi-monthly employment seminar where trans people could work on resumes, interview skills, professional appearance, and many other critical skills related to searching for a job effectively. Trans people in Colorado are twice as likely to be unemployed, and if employed, are twice as likely to make under $25,000 a year.
Currently we are running two weekly transgender support groups, one in Boulder and one in Longmont. We also still have a robust Trans Steering Committee, who just planned and executed our Trans Awareness Week for 2016. TAW included a film screening and Q&A panel, a free community training on transgender issues, a special church service focused on supporting transgender people of faith, a Trans Day of Celebration feast with over 35 trans folks from across the county in attendance, and which culminated in a Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony where over 200 people gathered to read the names of the community members we’ve lost across the world in 2016.
Our work to get the programming up and going was successful as described above. We continue the work and add new programs, events and activities each year.