Healthy Relationships

on Monday, 27 March 2017. Posted in Safespace

Healthy Relationships

Hello everyone!

Today at the SafeSpace office we received two boxes full of booklets about healthy relationships, and we are all quite excited about them. Though these particular booklets are aimed at teens and young adults, it’s important for people of all ages to understand what makes for a healthy relationship and what habits can lead to being in an unhealthy relationship.

We engage in all kinds of relationships, every single day. Some of these relationships are platonic, like with our friends, coworkers, and classmates. Others are familial, like with parents and siblings. Some of us engage in romantic relationships with partners, date-mates, girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, etc. No matter what kind of relationship we engage in, it is important to know what it means for the relationship to be healthy or unhealthy.

Healthy relationships rely on three main elements: trust, communication, and mutual respect. Without these three building blocks, people in relationships are prone to jealousy, misunderstanding, and negative feelings.

With all close relationships, it is important that you trust one another. If you trust someone, you can confide in them and feel comfortable sharing things about yourself. Trust leads to open and honest communication, which is another important aspect of a healthy relationship. If something is bothering you but you don’t feel comfortable expressing your feelings, you are more likely to hold in the negative emotions. Not only does this not solve the original problem, but it could also breed resentment and anger which lead to even more problems like passive-aggression and arguing.

Both trust and open, honest communication are essential to healthy relationships, and neither are possible without mutual respect. It is essential that all people in a relationship acknowledge one another’s humanity, individuality, and personal needs. No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. But knowing that you are cared for and respected regardless of any shortcomings makes it easier to address problems and insecurities that may arise.

Another essential aspect of any relationship is consent. Consent is often associated with sexual and romantic relationships, and is emphasized most in the context of intimacy. However, consent is important in any relationship, whether it’s platonic, familial, or sexual. Consent just means that you have someone’s permission before you make a decision or take an action that affects them. This could mean that you ask your friend’s permission before you hug them or offer them other kinds of physical comfort. It may mean that you ask whether it’s okay to share a piece of information about your friend with someone else. Getting consent is an important way to check in with a friend or partner before you cross a boundary.

In any relationship, it is also nice to be reminded that you are valued and cared for. If you feel as though you are in a healthy, loving relationship with friends or partners, make sure they know you appreciate them. Every once in awhile it is good to send a text, write a note, and/or thank them in person for supporting you and being present in your life.

If you ever feel unsafe in your relationship or need support, please reach out to SafeSpace. Our advocates are available Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can call 802.863.0003, email (safespace@pridecentervt.org) or just walk in. We are here for you.

- Alanna Moriarty, Blogging and Social Media Intern

New Program Alert: LGBTQ Tech Clinic

on Thursday, 23 March 2017. Posted in Safespace

Starting in April!!!

New Program Alert: LGBTQ Tech Clinic

Having issues with your digital devices?

Do you need help getting rid of a nasty computer virus? 

Worried about privacy settings on social media? 
Joe has your back! 

Do you have questions about that new gadget or toy? 
Joe can help with that too!

Set up a time to meet with Joe at Pride Center of Vermont Every 1st and 3rd Saturday 10am - 12pm




Green Mountain Bucks to be a Co-Sponsor for Burly Bear Sirloin.

on Tuesday, 21 March 2017.

Green Mountain Bucks to be a Co-Sponsor for Burly Bear Sirloin.

A message from the Green Mountain Bucks President:

The Green Mountain Bucks are happy to be a co-sponsor for Burly Bear Sirloin: Garage! We're excited to be sharing with all of you the reveal of our new logo and some exciting events and road trips ideas. Some of the members will be going around offering tickets for a 50/50 raffle! Dance with me and ask me everything you want to know about the Club! We are thrilled to be a part of the sexiest gay party in VT! See you there!

Facebook Event

Snow Day Closing March 15th

on Tuesday, 14 March 2017. Posted in Safespace

Snow Day Closing March 15th

Pride Center of Vermont will be closed again today due to the snow storm. Stay safe!

Notes from (Interim) Executive Director

on Wednesday, 08 March 2017.

 Notes from (Interim) Executive Director
The events of the last two weeks have taught the Center many things. The first thing we've learned is to listen. We've learned that being part of the LGBTQ community does not automatically confer an understanding of the entire community.
We held a Trans Town Hall so we could hear directly from the trans community. We listened to their voices and we heard them clearly tell the Center that the phrase Mister Sister is a slur and does not create a sense of safety or welcome. We heard them tell us how painful it would be for them to walk by a business with that name every day. These voices are not coming from a fringe element of the trans community: these are support group facilitators, parents of trans children, and trans community members and allies of all different ages and experiences.
We've heard from other voices that say the phrase is one of affection and the name is not intended to hurt.  We have heard that it was the intention to create a space for all of the LGBTQ community to use and feel welcome regardless of the name, and that any business owner is free to use whatever name they choose.
Here is what we have learned: this is no longer about the name of a bar but about something much larger and very alarming. Much of the early discussions got very heated very quickly, often devolving into personal attacks. In recent days, fake Twitter accounts have been created, URLs that are close to the Pride Center of VT URL have been purchased and used to redirect folks away from the actual PCVT web site and there have been heated debates including hate speech on social media. These attacks have gone in both directions and these things have no place in this discourse.
This is about the LGBTQ movement. This is about trans parents who want the best for their children. This is about trans people in our local community saying that they don't feel safe, represented or supported. It's not about the name of a bar - it's about the hurt that trans people are experiencing in being told they do not matter enough to be heard. It's about what makes an ally and who needs them most in this moment.
When allies of the bar stop supporting the Center because what we have said on this topic, what trans folks see is that when their lives are defended by the Center, people take resources away.
This whole issue is about trans liberation. This is about saying to our entire community, we must embrace our trans community and stand with them against all of the oppression that is being thrown at them from so many directions, much of it from the Federal government.
In the last two weeks we've seen the Justice and Education departments rescind the Title IX guidance on schools and bathroom usage for trans students. On Monday, the Supreme Court vacated the Gavin Grimm case that would have had the Court decide definitively about transgender students and their right to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, not the gender they were assigned at birth. These very real attacks on the trans community are eroding the rights the trans community has fought hard to win.
Our entire community faces broad attacks that threaten all of the progress we've made. Now is the time for all of us to work together to ensure all of our rights are protected. We must fight together, for the rights that are being taken away. We are a diverse community with many different viewpoints but we have to remember that we have all been and continue to be a marginalized minority.  We have all experienced different levels of oppression and marginalization and it is our responsibility to support the most vulnerable, oppressed and marginalized among us.  It is time for us to come together and work against the very real, potentially devastating challenges the LGBTQ community faces. It is time for our community to begin to heal after the very divisive period we have just gone through.  We are stronger together.

Program Highlight: Disability Social and Support Group

on Tuesday, 07 March 2017. Posted in Safespace

Program Highlight: Disability Social and Support Group

Discussion and laughter guided me toward the Green Room at the Pride Center of Vermont, where I attended a meeting of the Disabilities Social and Support Group (DSSG) last Wednesday. The group is run by David Frye and Kristen Wade, and was attended by about half a dozen other people. The DSSG, which meets every Wednesday night from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., serves those in the LGBTQ+ community with disabilities.

Every meeting of the DSSG starts with a check-in, where all attendees have the opportunity to introduce themselves with names and pronouns before opening up about their emotions and experiences within the past week. David and Kristen, as well as other group members, can offer support and advice to those who share.

After check-ins, meetings are open for the discussion of a variety of topics. At the meeting I attended we discussed Disability Awareness Day in Montpelier and an upcoming panel discussion where David will be speaking, as well as more personal experiences from individual group members. The group was very open and supportive of one another, and everyone was encouraged to submit their input.

After the meeting, I had the chance to speak with David Frye himself and ask him a few questions about his work with the DSSG here at the Pride Center and in the wider community.

David has been running LGBTQ+ disability support groups for over fifteen years, both in the Burlington area and in Montpelier through the Green Mountain Self-Advocates. In September 2014, David won a “Building Block” award from the United Way in recognition of his achievements within the LGBTQ+ and disability communities.

David was first inspired to start an intersectional social support group after he attended a workshop on disability and relationships and realized that there was very little information or support available for people who identified as both having a disability and being LGBTQ+. The very next day, David said, he called the Pride Center to organize a new group: the Disabilities Social and Support Group.

“I wanted a space where I could be recognized,” David said. Before he founded the DSSG at the Pride Center, David ran an online support group on the website PalTalk. PalTalk allowed David to hold video calls with group members from all over the world. One of these members was a man from the U.K. who felt as though he could not do the things his boyfriend could, like go to bars, go dancing, or be intimate, because he used a wheelchair.

“Yes you can!” David told him. A disability doesn’t have to stop you from doing what you love or going out with a partner. Primarily, David hopes to provide visibility, because “visibility makes you feel like you’re part of something.”

“I hope I’m making people feel like they’re not alone,” David said. “You are welcome! And you’re not alone.”

-Alanna Moriarty, Blogging and Social Media Intern

Title IX and Transgender Student Rights

on Tuesday, 07 March 2017. Posted in Safespace

Title IX and Transgender Student Rights

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a statement declaring they will not hear 17-year-old Gavin Grimm’s legal case regarding the protection of transgender student rights in public schools.

This announcement comes just two weeks after the Department of Education released new guidelines regarding the interpretation of Title IX in public schools. In a 2015 statement, the Obama Administration relied on its interpretation of the federal regulation that bans discrimination “on the basis of sex” in schools that receive federal money (NYT). This included protecting the rights of transgender students in public schools to use the restrooms and locker rooms that aligned with their gender identity (NPR).

In August 2016, a federal judge from Texas ruled that the Obama Administration had overreached in this addition to Title IX. In part, the division is based on a disagreement over how broadly the term “sex” should be interpreted by the courts. It is a legal disagreement that will not be settled until the Supreme Court makes a decision (NPR).

When the Supreme Court put Grimm’s case on the hearing docket for 2017, the guidelines from the Obama Administration were still explicitly in place, and included explicit wording regarding the fair and equal treatment of transgender students. Now, after these guidelines were rescinded under the Trump Administration, the Supreme Court has put the case on hold to await clearer legal guidelines (NYT).

However, civil rights organizations are adamant that the new announcement does not rescind Title IX or statewide protections for transgender students. "Trump's actions do not change the law itself -- transgender students remain protected by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 -- but abandoning the guidance intentionally creates confusion about what federal law requires," Rachel B. Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal, said in a statement (CNN).

It is this confusion and change in federal guidance that caused the Supreme Court to put a hold on hearing Grimm’s case this year. Because there will be no federal ruling regarding legal protections for transgender students, cases will have to be decided individually by the states (CNN). This means that if a state does not have an official stance regarding the treatment of transgender students decision-making will be left to individual districts.

This is just one more in a series of attacks on the transgender community by the Trump administration, and gives further insight into what the next four years may hold for both the transgender community and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. For community resources and support, please reach out to the Pride Center or Outright Vermont.

-Alanna Moriarty, Blogging and Social Media Intern

Infographic from NYT

Sources for Support in Addition to SafeSpace

on Friday, 03 March 2017. Posted in Safespace

Sources for Support in Addition to SafeSpace

SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program strives to respond to acts of hate violence and bigotry. We recognize that situations are transpiring that may require advocacy and support. We close at 2pm on Fridays and will not be open again until Monday at 10am. If you need support- here are some ideas of places that you could utilize over the weekend:

These sources may be able to assist with safety-planning should you need that. We encourage you to seek out the support you need in whatever ways feel most comfortable to you. 

Message from SafeSpace: Support and Solidarity

on Wednesday, 01 March 2017. Posted in Safespace

Message from SafeSpace: Support and Solidarity

A message from SafeSpace, the Anti-Violence Program of the Pride Center of Vermont:

Dear Community,

We hear you. We want you to know that we are here for you. We’ve heard from many individuals in our community that they’ve been hurt by the term “mister sister.” It makes sense to us why this term is harmful. This term has been invoked to out trans people, to invalidate gender identities, and to belittle and antagonize members of our community.

We recognize that people understand and experience words and labels in different ways, but if words are alienating and harming people within our community- we need to listen to that and honor their experience. In our community, trans and gender non-conforming people experience heightened levels of harassment and violence. We cannot deny the reality that more than one in four trans people have faced bias-driven assault, and that rates are higher for trans women and trans people of color (The National Center for Transgender Equality).

The SafeSpace program strives to support all members in our community from myriad forms of violence, including sexual, domestic, and hate violence. Support for community members who are harmed by oppressive language is a part of this mission. Please know that we are here to offer support and that we stand with you in your experience.

To access SafeSpace for support please visit us at the Pride Center or call our confidential hotline at (802)-863-0003 between 10am-6pm Monday through Thursday or 10am-2pm on Fridays.

With solidarity and care,

Catarina and Julia, SafeSpace Coordinators

Pride Center Speaks out about Withdrawal of Title IX Guidance

on Saturday, 25 February 2017. Posted in Safespace

Pride Center Speaks out about Withdrawal of Title IX Guidance

February, 25, 2017

Last week the Trump administration revoked federal guidelines under Title IX that specified that transgender students have the right to use public school restrooms that match their gender identity. By rescinding this guidance, set forth under the Obama administration, the Trump administration is signaling its disregard for the basic needs of transgender students to use facilities that correspond to their gender identity by saying that this should be a state level decision. This further sends the message that the federal government will not defend transgender student’s right to an education.

This is a massive step backwards for transgender students. The guidance allowed schools to have a framework for protecting transgender students, without it, students are at risk for being marginalized, isolated or worse.

Pride Center of Vermont stands by all transgender students. The rescinding of this guidance is reprehensible.  As we learned from Jennifer Levi, Transgender Rights Project Director of GLAD when she was here last week, it is vital that all of the community, and our allies, unite beside our transgender students by speaking out, writing letters to schools, and our elected officials to express our support for transgender students and our dissatisfaction at the rescinding of the guidance. She indicated that on the local level speaking out in support of transgender rights, and protecting transgender students is vital.

The Trans Program offers several monthly meetings which can be found at pridecentervt.org. First Tuesdays and and third  Wednesdays of the month is the Trans and GNC Support Group, and on March 9th the Family, Friends, Partners and Allies of Trans Adults meets.  

If you, or anyone you know, has been affected by removal of the Title IX guidance, please reach out to our SafeSpace program. You can report anything anonymously or just come in the office to talk to someone.  We are here to help and can be reached at 802-860-0003.

Executive Director Search: Meet the Candidates!

on Friday, 24 February 2017. Posted in Events, Safespace

Executive Director Search: Meet the Candidates!
Community Forum: Meet the Candidates 
We want your feedback in the selection process of Pride Center of Vermont's next Executive Director! Here is your chance to participate in a community forum where each candidate will make a short presentation and answer questions from members of the community. This is a great opportunity to have you voice heard and provide valuable feedback to the search committee as we work towards finding the most qualified candidate.
Candidates Schedule:
Susan Hartman - 6pm, Friday March 3rd
Michael McCarver-Reyes- 11am, Saturday, March 4th
Llu Mulvaney-Stanak -  6pm, Saturday, March 4th

Trans & Gender Non-Conforming Community Survey

on Wednesday, 22 February 2017.

Trans & Gender Non-Conforming Community Survey

The Pride Center's Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Community Project wants to get the pulse of the TGNC community! Fill out this survey to let us know what kinds of programs, services and activities you'd like to see offered. Participants will be given the opportunity to win one of two $25 Amazon gift cards. Thanks for your input!


Green Mountain Bucks

on Tuesday, 21 February 2017.

Green Mountain Bucks

Hello there! Do you like men in leather? Does it feel right whenever you put on your leather harness? If the answer for any of this questions is yes, then you might want to check this club out!. Come to the Pride Center of Vermont on March 24th and be part of the Green Mountian Bucks desicion process. In this meeting we'll go through sections 5-8 of our bylaws, we'll gather more info on what people want out of the Club, and touch bases on the action plans established in or last gathering. This month we made sure to schedule it right before Burly Bear, so mke sure to wear you leather and come out dancing with us after the meeting. More info to come...

Facebook Event

Sign Up for Tobacco Cessation Group

on Thursday, 16 February 2017. Posted in Events

Sign Up for Tobacco Cessation Group
Pride Center of Vermont's Tobacco Cessation Group will begin In the next few weeks. The group meets once a week for 4-5 weeks. Each session lasts 45 minutes to an hour. The group will be a place where folks access support and resources throughout there quitting process. Nicotine replacement products (patches, gum, etc) will be provided free of charge. Please indicate which days of the week and times would work for a regular meeting.
Here is the link to the questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LGBTQuits


Gayme Night

on Tuesday, 14 February 2017.

Gayme Night

It's here again!! Join the GLAM guys for fun video games, board games, food, and great company!!! We have a Wii, Giant Jenga, ANOMIA,Twister, Quarkle, UNO, and many more. Have a game that you love and would like to play with us? Bring it with you! We'll be more than happy to try it out! So don't stay bored home, come to The Pride Center and let the games begin!!

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