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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!

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

Love Yourself! Some tips for self-care

on Monday, 13 February 2017. Posted in Safespace

Love Yourself! Some tips for self-care

Valentine’s Day can sometimes be stressful if you don’t have someone to spend it with. Whether you’re in a long-distance relationship, single and ready to mingle, or somewhere in between, there is a lot of pressure to find someone to snuggle up with on February 14th.

But instead of worrying about finding someone else to love, why not spend some time loving yourself? We’ve compiled a few tips for having fun and falling in love with yourself this year.

Self-Care Tips for Solo Snugglers:

-Take a long shower or bath: The warm water is so calming, and you can let your mind wander. Put on a relaxing playlist, grab some tea, ice water, or another favorite beverage, and soak. Epsom salts are a great and inexpensive way to enhance a warm bath, and helps soothe any muscle aches you may be feeling.

-Start a compliments notebook: It can be a notebook, a digital document, some sticky notes on your wall, or whatever you have on hand. Keep track of the nice things people say about you so you can look back on them when you’re not feeling so great. It can be nice to remember that kind person who complimented your outfit, or your friend thanking you for being a good listener.

-See some sunlight: Sometimes being inside and in the dark can make you feel stagnant and bored. Even just going outside and sitting or standing outside your front door can be refreshing. The crisp air can do a world of good, even just for a few minutes. If it’s too cold outside, or if it’s difficult to get out of your house, opening the window curtains can bring sunlight into your room and brighten your mood. Plus, it can be fun to people-watch (or dog-watch) from your window.

-Do something you’ve been putting off: If you’ve been meaning to do the dishes for three days but haven’t had the motivation, do them! It will make you feel so much better once you have, and you can get rid of that nagging voice in the back of your head. You can do something  as small as making your bed, or as big as alphabetizing your CD collection or color-coordinating your book collection into a rainbow.

-Dance!: Make a playlist of some favorite songs and move around. It can be a whole-house romp or just a small shoulder-shimmy while you sit on the couch. Try and get some blood flowing by getting your body moving. Plus, the upbeat music will help lift your mood!

-Write something down: It could be an idea that’s been floating around, a to-do list, or a stream-of-consciousness word vomit. Let it all out. You can go back to it later if you’d like, or if you’d like to get rid of some negative thoughts you can burn it/tear it up/use it to line your pet’s litter box.

-Think of your favorites: Eat your favorite comfort food, pull on your favorite sweater, or watch your favorite movie (Harry Potter movie marathon anyone?). Reconnect with what you love.

Self-Love graphic.png

Longer-term Self-Love Tips:

-Mindfulness: take a few quiet moments to really think about your own needs. How are you feeling? What thoughts have been on your mind? Is there anything you’ve been wanting for yourself? If you haven’t been feeling so great, think of some things that make you feel better.
Do you have a favorite soft blanket? A movie that always makes you laugh? A book that you’ve loved since you were a kid? Being in touch with how you feel and what you want is a good way to understand yourself, and really love who you are.

-Set boundaries: Has work been overwhelming you? Are social obligations making you feel more stressed than supported? It is okay to say “no” and to take a step back. You are not obligated to take an extra shift at work, or to bring work home with you at night. It can be especially hard to refuse an invitation from a friend, but if you feel like your batteries are running low, it is fine to turn them down--you can always reschedule. Take at least one day per week to do what recharges you, whether that is having a meal with friends or staying at home with some mood lighting and Netflix.

-Let yourself make mistakes: We all mess up. It’s part of being a human person. But making mistakes helps us learn. I’m sure you hear this all the time, but one misstep is not the end of the world. It will be okay. It’s important to recognize the mistake, accept that it happened, and move forward. It can be really hard letting something go, especially if it’s embarrassing or affects other people. But ask yourself: will this matter in a week? In six months? In a year? It may hurt now, but the pain or embarrassment or guilt will soon fade. It’s okay.

-Unplug from social media: This is another tip that gets tossed around all the time. But when was the last time that scrolling through your Facebook feed made you feel good? Take a break from all of the noise and turn off your wifi--even if it’s just for an hour. You can respond to texts from friends if you’d like, but maybe keep away from Instagram and other feeds that might make you feel like you’re missing out on something. Instead of flipping through your phone, try taking an extra-long shower, calling or Facetiming a friend, or go outside (just bundle up--it’s very cold). 

And if you’d like to spend some time with others this Valentine’s Day, come join us at the Pride Center for a showing of the movie Pride (2014)! Doors will open at 6, and the movie will start at 6:30. We hope to see you there!

Also- join us for a Mindfulness series with Katrina Dreamer on Tuesdays from 7:30-8:30pm, February 28th-March 21st.

-Alanna Moriarty, Blogging and Social Media Intern

Mindful Hour (Tuesdays Feb 28 - March 21st)

on Friday, 10 February 2017. Posted in Events, Safespace

Mindful Hour (Tuesdays Feb 28 - March 21st)
Join us for a mindfulness series with Katrina Dreamer on Tuesday evenings 7:30-8:30 pmFebruary 28 - March 21. Katrina will lead guided mindfulness meditations to help you center yourself, find a moment of peace, and connect with others in the community.

Katrina Dreamer is a mindfulness instructor, dreamworker, academic coach, and tutor. She has taught workshops and classes on mindfulness and energy work at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley as well as privately. She works with both children and adults to help them cultivate their intuition and a sense of calm. Find out more at www.katrinadreamer.com.

PRIDE Screening on 2/14!

on Wednesday, 08 February 2017. Posted in Safespace

PRIDE Screening on 2/14!

Do you have plans this Valentine’s Day? Join Pride Center of VT and Vermont Worker’s Center for a screening of “Pride”! Doors will open at 6pm, and the movie will start at 6:30. There will be popcorn! Screening will be at the Pride Center: 255 South Champlain St., Suite #12 in Burlington.

“Pride,” based on a true story, revolves around a group of gay and lesbian activists in London during the 1984 miners’ strike. Mark Ashton, the activist group’s leader, realizes that the miners have been facing a similar level of police violence and discrimination as the gay and lesbian community and forms a “Gays and Lesbians Support the Miners (GLSM)” advocacy group.
The miners are hesitant to accept the GLSM’s support at first, worried about being associated with the gay and lesbian community. But when the small mining village of Onllwyn, Wales accepts their donation, the partnership is tentatively solidified and the adventure begins.

Features:
Lesbians Against Pit Closures; HIV/AIDS awareness; Intersectionality of class/geography

TW: “Coming out,” family relations and reconciliation; Scenes depicting violence and discrimination

While not representative of race, gender, and non-gay-and-lesbian sexualities, “Pride” is a funny and light-hearted film centered around inclusivity and alliance.

Read more about the film HERE and HERE.

See you on Tuesday!

Women's March on Montpelier & Unity Rally

on Thursday, 19 January 2017. Posted in Safespace

Women's March on Montpelier & Unity Rally

The Pride Center will be marching in solidarity with folks from around the country (and world) this coming Saturday in Montpelier. Will we see you there? The March begins at 1:00 p.m. at Montpelier High School and leads to the rally on the Statehouse lawn from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Below you'll find the Mission and Vision from the Women's March on Washington page, followed by ways to get involved with the Women's March and Unity Rally in Montpelier.

MISSION & VISION

We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

OUR MISSION

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us - immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault - and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.

HEAR OUR VOICE.

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.
— Audre Lorde

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Women’s rights are human rights, regardless of a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age or disability. We practice empathy with the intent to learn about the intersecting identities of each other. We will suspend our first judgement and do our best to lead without ego. We follow the principles of Kingian nonviolence, which are defined as follows:

  • Principle 1: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is a positive force confronting the forces of injustice and utilizes the righteous indignation and spiritual, emotional, and intellectual capabilities of people as the vital force for change and reconciliation.

  • Principle 2: The Beloved Community is the framework for the future. The nonviolent concept is an overall effort to achieve a reconciled world by raising the level of relationships among people to a height where justice prevails and persons attain their full human potential.

  • Principle 3: Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil. The nonviolent approach helps one analyze the fundamental conditions, policies and practices of the conflict rather than reacting to one’s opponents or their personalities.

  • Principle 4: Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve our goal. Self-chosen suffering is redemptive and helps the movement grow in a spiritual as well as a humanitarian dimension. The moral authority of voluntary suffering for a goal communicates the concern to one’s own friends and community as well as to the opponent.

  • Principle 5: Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence. The nonviolent attitude permeates all aspects of the campaign. It provides a mirror type reflection of the reality of the condition to one’s opponent and the community at large. Specific activities must be designed to maintain a high level of spirit and morale during a nonviolent campaign.

WAYS TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE EVENT IN MONTPELIER:

·       RSVP for the Women’s March on Montpelier and Unity Rally on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/events/1830257343920729/
·       Spread the word to your family, friends, and colleagues.  Here’s the website:  http://womensmarchonmontpeliervt.org/
·       Tell Vermont why you’re coming. Write an email or record a video statement on your phone or computer using the prompt “My name is _______ and I’m coming to Montpelier because…” and send it to katie@clearspotvt.com.
·       Help plan. Email elise@radvt.org.
·       Make art for the March. Email ackerarts@aol.com.

MLK Day Action with Black Lives Matter VT

on Tuesday, 10 January 2017. Posted in Safespace

MLK Day Action with Black Lives Matter VT

On Monday, January 16th the Pride Center will be closing at 1:45 to take part in Black Lives Matter VT's action against police brutality and the school to prison pipeline. We invite you to join us in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and in solidarity with Black Lives Matter VT. https://www.facebook.com/events/1362444590474288/

Paid Summer Internship Opportunity

on Wednesday, 04 January 2017. Posted in Safespace

Paid Summer Internship Opportunity

Pride Center of Vermont is ecstatic to be a host site for a Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps (RRASC) Intern each summer. This year the Civil Liberties and Public Policy program is accepting applications from undergraduate students across the US to participate in exciting PAID internships in host sites around the country.

_______

The Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps is a paid summer internship program that places undergraduate students at reproductive rights and social justice organizations around the country.

Students selected for the program receive:

  • A full-time 10-week substantive internship at a reproductive rights and/or social justice organization with a $3500 stipend
  • An intensive 3 day training at the annual CLPP Conference.  Training will include workshops on non-profit organizations, grassroots organizing, effective communication, self-care, and reproductive and social justice.
  • Continued support and training throughout the summer
  • An online community where the Summer 2017 cohort will post reflective weekly reports
  • An opportunity to present their work at the 2018 CLPP Conference

I’m deeply grateful for this opportunity. There is no way I would have been able to work at the Pride Center for a summer as an unpaid intern, so I am grateful to CLPP/RRASC for the support and training. And I am beyond grateful for the Pride Center for an amazing summer working with activists in Vermont’s rural queer community. I am leaving with a portfolio of work, an array of work experience and many connections that I will never forget.
—Ellen Bryer '14 RRASC

For more information, contact CLPP Assistant Director, at 413.559.5859 or RRASC@hampshire.edu.

Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps (RRASC) Application:

Apply Here

Application deadline is coming up quickly! Applications are due by January 15 at 11:59 pm.

An Evening of Mindfulness

on Wednesday, 21 December 2016. Posted in Safespace

An Evening of Mindfulness

An Evening of Mindfulness
Hosted by Katrina Dreamer and Pride Center VT
7:30 – 9 pm, Tuesday, January 17

With the upcoming inauguration, many of us need a space where we can cultivate calm and connection. This evening is designed to help you center yourself, find a moment of peace, and connect with others in the community. Katrina will lead a guided mindfulness meditation and provide a space where people can share their feelings about the new administration. 

Katrina Dreamer is a mindfulness instructor, dreamworker, academic coach, and tutor. She has taught workshops and classes on mindfulness and energy work at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley as well as privately. She works with both children and adults to help them cultivate their intuition and a sense of calm. Find out more at www.katrinadreamer.com.

Trans Town Hall: Holiday Survival

on Monday, 28 November 2016. Posted in Safespace

Trans Town Hall: Holiday Survival

The holidays aren't always easy...

The Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Community Project at PCVT invites you to December's Trans Town Hall: Holiday Survival.

Join us for an open forum with Kara DeLeonardis-Kraus, LICSW, MSW Therapist, Nancy Feldman, LCMHC Therapist and Catarina Campbell from the Pride Center's SafeSpace Program for a sharing of ideas, concerns and coping strategies to help you get through the holidays.

Friday December 2nd, 6:30-8pm at the Pride Center: 255 South Champlain St. Suite #12. 

We're here for you.

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