Prizm News / April 1, 2018 / By Bob Vitale

National Give Out Day, an online fundraising effort for our community’s organizations, is scheduled for April 19.

Commentary by Bob Vitale

Twice in the past month, friends got in touch with me about young people in their lives who have come out as transgender.

Thankfully, both young people have parents who love them, support them and want to help them be their true, happiest selves. They’re already better off than many of their peers.

Prizm Editor Bob Vitale

And as much as many of us want to malign Ohio because of our fellow Buckeyes’ propensity to take political direction from Russian bots and the Family Research Council, these two trans teenagers also are better off than many of their peers because of where they live. They and their families were looking for sources of support and solid information, and I was able to suggest many.

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Despite our state’s feet-dragging on LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination laws and despite its knuckle-dragging as one of just three states that still forbid trans people from changing the gender marker on their birth certificates, our LGBTQ community and allies have built a network of support—physical, emotional, legal and medical—for transgender youth and adults.

TransOhio started in 2005 and has become a visible, vocal advocate for the community. Its 10th annual Transgender & Ally Symposium is scheduled for April 27-29 at Ohio State University in Columbus.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center offer extensive services for transgender children and their families. Places like Harvey House in Toledo offer a safe place when families don’t.

The LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland offers twice-monthly social and support meetings for transgender children as young as 10. Kaleidoscope Youth Center in Columbus offers Genderscope, a twice-weekly group for trans, gender nonconforming and questioning young people to come together for everything from discussions to water-balloon fights.

The Heartland Trans Wellness Center in Cincinnati is an active group that hosts community nights, support groups and social activities.

Equitas Health, Prizm’s parent company, offers regular Name & Gender Change Legal Clinics all over Ohio in conjunction with TransOhio. (And in January, a new organization in Cincinnati called the Living With Change Foundation was announced to provide education, resources and financial assistance to trans youth and their families.

There’s so much more.

Our community has a heartwarming drive to take care of our own, and we have a long record of success in doing so. We’ve created community centers, healthcare organizations, youth groups, anti-violence groups, business associations and social groups. We’ve created our own choruses, bands and sports leagues.

And they all could use our help.

National Give Out Day is scheduled for Thursday, April 19. It’s a 24-hour online fundraising event designed to raise critically needed funds for hundreds of nonprofits that serve LGBTQ communities across the nation.

LGBTQ Nation posted a story in late March about the closing of Get Equal, a national activist group in the middle of a controversy involving a fired official (Ohioan Aaryn Lang) who accused its leadership of racism and transphobia. Its announcement acknowledged the negative impact of the accusations but also touched on long-term financial problems of the organization.

The same article speculated that PFLAG, one of our oldest and most cherished advocacy organizations, “may be next,” although one Ohio PFLAG leader told me her local chapter is doing fine.

Most LGBTQ organizations operate on a shoestring but have a huge impact in our lives. On any given day, our online calendar of events is full of social gatherings and support groups, for gender nonconforming kids, for lesbians coming out, for mature gay men, for queer black 20-somethings, for bi adults, for just about any person who seeks others who’ve shared their experience.

Visit giveoutday.org to see who’s participating in Give Out Day and how you can help.

bobvitale@prizmnews.com
@Bob_Vitale

Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.