Casper Pride is hosting two workshops and a get-together to celebrate Transgender Awareness Day on March 31.
The event is meant to complement Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors lives lost due to anti-trans violence, said Mallory Pollock, president of Casper Pride. It’s an opportunity to bond and raise awareness of the often hidden barriers that transgender people face in everyday life.
“We were looking to do something more proactive for the community,” Pollock said.
It was made possible by a grant from the Wyoming Humanities Council. Elliott Hinkle, a consultant specializing in child protection, mental health and LGBTQ inclusion, partnered with Casper Pride to help organize it.
Hinkle is transgender and grew up in Casper. It’s a tough place to be trans, to say the least, they said.
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Hinkle knows from experience that there aren’t a ton of resources for trans people in Wyoming, or even safe places to meet. They hope this year’s Transgender Awareness Day can help them carve out a niche.
“I really wanted to create an opportunity to celebrate the people who are there – the resilience, the strength and the beauty, which should be visible,” they said.
The afternoon begins with a covenant workshop — 1:00 p.m. at Casper College.
Society as we know it was not designed for transgender people, Hinkle said. Many ordinary parts of life exclude them, hurt them or erase them. The workshop aims to help the public understand these everyday barriers to equality and to review some ways to support trans people.
Honoring their pronouns, for example, is an easy way to show respect, Hinkle said.
“We all ask people to call us by our names, and we all assume that people are going to use the correct pronouns,” they said.
The workshop will be followed by a panel on gender-affirming care at 3 p.m.
Gender-affirming care is all health care that takes into account and supports the sex of the patient. This can range from hormone treatment and surgery to redesigning patient intake forms to make them more inclusive.
“Gender-affirming care is when everyone gets to choose what happens to their body,” Hinkle said.
Many major medical associations recognize a link between gender-affirming care and improved mental health. But most healthcare workers aren’t trained to provide it, especially in small, rural states like Wyoming.
The discussion offers a starting point for medical providers looking to improve their transgender patients, Hinkle said.
Panel guests have yet to be finalized, but will include a mix of medical professionals and trans voices.
After the workshops, guests are invited to attend a party at 6:30 p.m. at Occasions by Cory.
There will be talks from Hinkle and other members of Casper’s transgender community, as well as a networking event.
The event is free, but registration is encouraged. Visit the Casper Pride Facebook page or casperprideguide.comfor more details.