Coalition invites community to learn more about transgender individuals

A local coalition opened a conversation about gender identity, inclusion and empathy for transgender people in Columbus during a “Transgender 101” session.

The Inclusive Community Coalition presented the session to about 60 people Tuesday at the Columbus North High School cafeteria, featuring a talk by licensed therapist Becky Waletich of WHERE?. She made the session a two-way conversation about how transgender individuals are marginalized by intolerance and lack of acceptance, and also focused on how community residents can better serve as allies to people who identify themselves as transgender.

Throughout her presentation, Waletich, who specializes in gender variance and is a member of the World Professional Alliance for Transgender Health, asked those in attendance to ask what they wanted to know, even if they were unsure they were phrasing their question correctly or if it might offend someone who is transgender in the room.

Among those who attended were representatives from Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., Turning Point, those who work in social services, teachers and parents.

“We will be talking about hard things,” Waletich said, and asked listeners to respect others’ thoughts, feelings and opinions and to give each other the benefit of the doubt. She also asked them to remember that some of the topics during the presentation could be triggers for uncomfortable personal experiences and to be mindful of that.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.