The South Texas Trans Town Hall returns on March 1 at the McAllen Public Library at 6:30 PM. In 2017, Valley AIDS Council (VAC) hosted the first Trans Town Hall where a panel of experts answered questions from the trans community in the Rio Grande Valley. The second event is building off that first event with the tagline: “We heard you. Now let’s get to work together.”

VAC CLEAR Specialist Valerie Cantu Severn will be facilitating the event on Thursday night.  

“There’s been a bit of a change in the last 8 months,” Severn said. “We heard what the community had to say last time. We heard the requests from the community, and now we are coming back, doing the second one, to let people know that we have done new things. We have taken the feedback, and have new services we are going to be offering. We have some new ideas in the works.”

One of the issues that people were speaking up about at the first Trans Town Hall was that they felt there was a lack of services for trans people in the Valley, or if those services were available, that they didn’t know where to find those services.

“When we look at the size of the Rio Grande Valley, it’s four counties. It is over a million people population-wise. It’s a mixture of rural small towns and urban metropolitans,” Severn said. “Some of the things trans people need is HRT, hormone replacement therapy, and we are hearing from a lot of people that they don’t know where they can get HRT or how to start HRT. So (last time) we had Dr. Michelle Cordoba there, talking about what she does at the Joslin Center, and then the opening up of the Gender Care clinic, so that’s one service that’s been able to expand to the community. We had our own doctor from Valley AIDS Council, Dr. Dora (Martinez), she was explaining how we have been able to expand on services offering hormone replacement therapy.”

One of the most pressing items that people were asking for at the previous Trans Town Hall was support groups. Severn was happy to announce in her interview with Neta that this will be addressed at the second Trans Town Hall event.

“The big thing that we will be announcing is support groups launching in March and April,” Severn said. “We will have a support group for transgender men, transgender women, and then we will a support group for parents of LGBTQ (individuals).”  

More details regarding these support groups and how they will be executed will be unveiled at the Trans Town Hall II. Other items that will be discussed are new resources and services for the trans community here in the Valley, a potential trans retreat, and the upcoming Pride at the Park event. Severn says that no media will be present or welcomed, with the exception of Neta, who will be doing a Facebook Live video of the event at the request of the event organizers.

Severn stresses that this will be a safe space for trans people who plan to attend and encourages those that did not attend last time to stop by.  

“If you are a transgender person and you didn’t come last time, please come this time,” Severn said. “We are a very welcoming, safe environment, it’s going to be at the McAllen Public Library. We got your back, we’re there to support you. All the people at South Texas Equality Project, Valley AIDS Council, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, we are here to help the trans community.”

When: Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: McAllen Public Library, Meeting Room B.

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