CONTINUING GROWTH: ANNOUNCING TRANS+ AT THE CENTER

The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland expands programming and provides direct resource for transgender and non-binary community under new name

March 22nd, 2023 | By: Matthew Graves, Director of Development and Communication

The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland proudly announces Trans+, a continuation and expansion of the services provided by The Center’s Trans* Wellness program. Over the last decade, The Center has experienced continued growth within its core programs.

Trans* Wellness has remained a cornerstone of the services provided by The Center, offering programming and opportunities to individuals within the transgender and non-binary community to discuss different aspects of their journeys, share vital resources, celebrate each other’s successes, and support one another when faced with challenges as a collective group. The program has also assisted in providing access to vital health and wellness services to trans and non-binary individuals throughout the city.

One of the largest barriers to healthcare as reported by transgender individuals is the lack of providers with an expertise in transgender medicine and behavioral health. This directly leads to a number of inequities in the delivery and quality of healthcare. A study in Ohio showed that over 30% of individuals identifying as trans or non-binary neglected seeking appropriate health care despite having similar health needs such as regular check-ups with an established primary care physician because of these negative experiences with a health provider.

Trans+ will aim to continue to curtail this trend and afford education on how to navigate these barriers. The need for safe and affirming physical and mental health care among transgender and gender diverse individuals is deep. With feedback from local transgender individuals and national research backing this trend of negative health care experiences due to bias and discrimination, programs such as Trans+ have become necessary to address the substandard, insensitive and even abusive care due to stigmatization. The Center is working diligently with a genuine intentionality to respond to the needs heard from our program participants in Cleveland as well as the issues being faced around the country.

“What I think cannot be overstated is that this program has been co-developed by trans and gender expansive folks for their community and has been led by trans and gender expansive folks since its inception.” says Gulnar Feerasta Senior Director of Programs at The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. “The Center is proud to put into action one of core values of, ‘for us, by us.’”

At the root of all programs provided at The Center is the concerted effort of establishing a sense of community. One Trans+ program participant who has attended for over two years shared recently how the program has impacted their life, “It has allowed me to feel confident, to feel that I belong in a community that have not felt since I have lived here in Cleveland.”

For the last several years, the Trans* Wellness program has been fervently led by Devinity, who’s zeal and fierce advocacy will continue to serve The Center and transgender and non-binary community members in a new role focused on direct outreach to individuals experiencing difficulties accessing the resources they need to thrive.

Many of the programmic elements of Trans* Wellness, such as the weekly drop-in meetings and meal provision, will continue just as before. What Trans+ will now seek to offer is a more direct emphasis mental health and wellness services to individuals within the current program framework. This in part is made possible by working directly with Dr. Mutajah “Taj” Hussein, a social service innovator and Clinical Director, Co-Owner of Kindred Harbor Behavioral Health.

"The truth is, trans and gender diverse individuals don’t need anyone’s “permission” to take up space and exist,” states Dr. Taj. “Trans+ at The Center provides an affirming place where that is intrinsically understood."

Trans+ will continue to meet weekly at The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland on Monday and Wednesday from 4PM to 7PM.

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