If you're thinking of visiting a support group meeting for the first time, here are a few things to consider.
Our meetings have rules for the conduct of the partiipants. We frequetly read our guidelines at the beginning of a meeting.
Our facilitators are the core strength of our organization. These individuals generously commit time and effort to better the lives of others. Without them, there would be no WGA.
Our groups and our volunteers are dedicated to supporting transgender people.
Our goal is to help people who are transgender, gender variant or whose lives may be directly or indirectly involved with a transgender or gender variant person. We do this primarily by conducting community-oriented, peer-facilitated, open support groups.
Our group attendees include people who may be questioning their gender identity, coming to terms with their gender identity, negotiating the coming-out process, navigating transition or who are looking for information for themselves or someone in their life. We also welcome post-transition transgender people who have integrated into society with their true gender identity and who wish to stay involved by helping others by sharing their knowledge or experience.
WGA support meetings are intended for mature individuals, because similarity of experience is key to peer support. It is essential that group members be able to participate in an adult conversation without feeling uncomfortable or causing other participants to feel uncomfortable.
WGA support meetings are conducted by trained peer facilitators. New facilitators are selected from our community by our practicing facilitators. All facilitators work within a team structure and receive initial and on-going training.
We currently conduct our standard weekly support meetings in three cities: Bellingham, Everett and Shoreline. The WGA is eager to expand our offerings to new communities and/or populations. For example, new groups could focus on specific transgender individuals, such as significant others, family, friends and allies (SOFFA) or female to male (FTM) transgender people. Please contact us if you are interested in starting a group in your area.
After more than two decades of conducting community-oriented support groups, we have much experience to share. We are happy to share. We also welcome communities who may wish to join our alliance.