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PCVT is Pulling for Outright VT!

on Wednesday, 13 September 2017. Posted in Safespace

PCVT is Pulling for Outright VT!
This past week and weekend was SO AMAZING. So many beautiful people coming together in love, solidarity and fabulousness. THANK YOU!!! We wouldn't be the vibrant community we are without all of you, and we're so grateful to those of you who came out to celebrate, to learn and to be together this past Pride Week. 
 
We're still cleaning up the glitter and putting some flags and tables back but we're starting to think about the next fabulous, rainbow-y event coming up to support LGBTQ+ folks in VT... Outright VT's Fire Truck Pull!! We so appreciate and admire the important work that Outright does for queer and trans youth, and we decided to put together a Pride Center team to support them in that work. Our goal is to raise $1500 (or more!) for Outright. If you're able to contribute anything to our fundraising page (every $1 helps!) we would be so grateful. And if you want to join our team to help pull the fire truck and/or to help fundraise- we would love to have you!! Email Julia at julia@pridecentervt.org to get involved.
 

OVW Grant Updates!

on Friday, 25 August 2017. Posted in Safespace

OVW Grant Updates!

Work with our OVW grant partners is moving forward! In the past couple months I’ve led multiple workshops with Migrant Justice, WomenSafe and Voices Against Violence to help deepen their understanding of LGBTQ+ identities and strengthen their skills in working with LGBTQ+ individuals and survivors. More workshops to come! Each organization (also including HOPE Works) will receive a series of individualized trainings from SafeSpace as well as technical assistance in making their programs and services more affirming and inclusive for LGBTQ+ survivors of sexual and/or domestic violence.

Each organization in our partnership has unique experience and expertise to bring to the table and we’re working together to fill in the gaps in each others’ knowledge and capabilities. Migrant Justice is opening our eyes to the realities of migrant farmworkers on dairy farms here in Vermont (read more: migrantjustice.net), and we’re learning more about the isolation, the fear and the many barriers that stand in the way of farmworkers accessing support. We’ll continue doing cross-trainings between all our partner orgs to share information and skills around working with undocumented, Latin American, migrant farmworker and LGBTQ+ survivors.

This past weekend I was able to attend Migrant Justice’s Torneo de Futbol (soccer tournament), where migrant farmworkers and allies from around the state came together to play hard, eat delicious food and have fun. I talked with some folks about our grant and the work we’re doing to strengthen the support network for migrant farmworkers who have experienced sexual and/or domestic violence, and passed out papers about consentimiento (consent), violencia/abuso (violence/abuse), identidades LGBTQ+ (LGBTQ+ identities) and recursos (resources: PCVT/SafeSpace, Migrant Justice, WomenSafe, HOPE Works and Voices Against Violence). The folks at Migrant Justice were super-helpful in translating and editing the handouts, and as all of our work is continually evolving I’m sure the handouts will also evolve with more input from migrant farmworkers and grant partners.

I feel so honored to get to work on this project and to do so in a collaborative and continually-learning way. Together we’re putting the pieces in place and figuring out best ways forward. I’m excited to see what we create together. Si se puede!

- Julia Berberan, SafeSpace Coordinator

Fraudulent Web Page

on Friday, 11 August 2017. Posted in Safespace

Fraudulent Web Page

To our LGBTQIA community - please note that a fraudulent web page with a domain similar to the Center's and mimicking the look of our Pride Center Vermont web site has recently been published.  We are sorry for any confusion or concern this has created.  We are not affiliated with nor do we endorse this fraudulent page. Please direct questions or comments to Susan Hartman, Pride Center of Vermont Executive Director.

Holiday Closures and Events

on Monday, 26 June 2017. Posted in Safespace

Holiday Closures and Events

Our offices will be closed on Monday, July 3rd and Tuesday July 4th but there are still fun things happening in the community!! 

Join GLAM for Kablooey on Monday! 

http://www.pridecentervt.org/calendar/calendar/event/13618-glam-s-kablooey

And check out the Barbs' Big Beach Bash on Tuesday!! 

http://www.pridecentervt.org/calendar/calendar/event/13619-the-barbs-july-4th-big-beach-bash

The Trans Support Group that usually meets on the first Tuesday of the month will be meeting on Wednesday, July 5th instead, from 6:30-8pm. 

http://www.pridecentervt.org/calendar/calendar/event/13417-trans-and-gnc-support-group-1st-weds

We wish you all a fun and safe holiday!

To our community members

on Thursday, 22 June 2017. Posted in Safespace

To our community members

To our community members,

In light of the recent resurgence of violently transphobic sentiments within our community, The Pride Center wishes to extend our capacities in full as a healing presence to those affected. The SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program at the Pride Center offers advocacy and support to LGBTQIA individuals who have experienced any type of violence, bias, or discrimination. If you or someone you know needs help or support- please reach out to our advocates at 802.863.0003 or safespace@pridecentervt.org. You can also report violence anonymously at bit.ly/reportvt. Please know that we are here for you.

The Pride Center of Vermont is committed to ensuring the safety of all members of the LGBTQIA community, especially those of us who identify as trans. We are receptive to the concerns that have been brought to us by the trans community and we are dedicated to moving forward with our advocacy in a way that is informed by the past. Stepping up and advocating for our most marginalized community members in the time ahead is our foremost priority. As an organization that advocates for inclusivity, acceptance, and safety, we seek to bridge the gaps in our community that allow for transphobic rhetoric to take root and divide us. On principle, we do not condone violence of any sort, and we especially condemn violence that affects our trans community members. Our trans community is deeply valued by the Pride Center; these are folks filled with kindness and love who work every day, just by existing resiliently, to make Vermont a safe and inclusive place for trans people to thrive. At the Pride Center, we are deeply aggrieved and disheartened to see such a staggering revitalization of increasingly persistent transphobic hatred and violence, and we are calling for our brilliantly diverse LGBTQIA community to resist hatred and come together for the sake of our most marginalized.

A critical part of coming together and healing is listening to one another, particularly to the trans community members who have been silenced and subjected to hatred. Supporting our trans community can take the form of actively listening and accepting what people have to say at face value, acknowledging their feelings, and letting them know they are heard. Transphobic rhetoric is a threat to the integrity of our whole community, not just to those who are trans. Recent discussions about transphobia have provided much insight on just how much work remains to be done on the part of the LGBTQIA community as well as the community at large towards learning, healing, and uplifting. In the face of the recent vitriolic transphobia, we challenge our fellow LGBTQIA Vermonters to confront bias every day and to support the trans folks in the community by giving them space to exist safely, listening to their concerns, and taking action when the inherent value of a trans person’s life is questioned. We have to do better by our trans community, and we will persist in the effort to accomplish not only a basic understanding, but a wide spread acceptance as well. We will not tolerate this violence.

 

 

Honoring and Remembering Pulse Victims and Amos Beede

on Monday, 12 June 2017. Posted in Safespace

Honoring and Remembering Pulse Victims and Amos Beede

Today marks one year after the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida. This horrific attack was waged specifically against LGBTQIA people of color seeking sanctuary and a place to be themselves, two things that should be available to everyone. The massacre claimed 49 lives and left 53 injured, making it the deadliest attack on the LGBTQIA community in U.S. history. It is crucial to recognize the identities of the communities that were targeted in this attack because it allows us to see that this was not only born from homophobia, but of racism as well. Today provides an opportunity to remember the victims of the Pulse shooting and honor their legacy by continuing the efforts towards uprooting hatred, discrimination, and violence towards LGBTQIA individuals and people of color.

The SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program at the Pride Center of VT offers advocacy and support to LGBTQIA individuals who have experienced any type of violence, bias, or discrimination. If you or someone you know needs help- please reach out to our advocates at 802.863.0003 or safespace@pridecentervt.org. You can also report violence anonymously at bit.ly/reportvt. If you need support- please know that we’re here for you.

If you are able, we encourage you to consider participating in the #HonorThemWithAction Campaign, an effort lead by Equality Florida to honor the memory of the victims of the Pulse shooting. Opportunities to donate to the families of the victims, information on how to become a Pulse partner, and solidarity actions/event listings can all be found on the #HonorThemWithAction Campaign website, honorthemwithaction.org.

We also take the opportunity today to uplift the memory of a member of our own Vermont community, Amos Beede. Amos’ life was cut short by an act of brutal violence rooted in homophobia and transphobia, and he passed away on May 28, 2016. Both the Pulse massacre and the tragic loss of Amos Beede are examples of unchecked homophobia and transphobia that had deadly consequences. We will continue to fight for our community and provide opportunities for others to do so as well. Now more than ever is the time to come together and resist hatred, wherever and however it manifests. The violence has to stop.

Rest in Power

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chavez Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 years old

Christopher “Drew” Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

KJ Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Lestat Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald “Jerry” Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Amos John Beede, 38 years old

 We see you. We honor you. We mourn for you. We fight for you.

TransForm Project Launch!

on Sunday, 28 May 2017. Posted in Safespace

Interest Meeting

TransForm Project Launch!

We believe that no trans person in Vermont should have to come out and transition alone. Come help us make that vision a reality!

The TransForm Project is a new initiative to provide resources, support, and community connections for transgender and gender-nonconforming Vermonters. This summer we'll be launching a mentoring program to connect trans folks with peers across the state, and we need you!

Join us at the TransForm interest meeting to share your ideas and learn about ways to be involved:
- Connect with a peer mentor to find one-on-one support around gender from someone who's been there.
- Become a mentor to show trans and questioning people in your community that they are not alone.
- Share your experiences and skills to help us build an online, step-by-step guide to transitioning in Vermont.
Refreshments will be provided!

(If you're in central or southern Vermont, we'll be holding interest meetings in your neck of the woods soon -- send us an email and we'll keep you updated.)

Questions? Ideas? Can't make it to the meeting, but still want to be involved? Contact us at transform@pridecentervt.org.

TransForm is a collaboration between the Pride Center of Vermont and the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

SafeSpace Updates

on Friday, 21 April 2017. Posted in Safespace

SafeSpace Updates

Hello everyone!

As you may know, the SafeSpace office here at the Pride Center serves survivors of violence, harassment, and discrimination. We offer emotional support, provide resources, and connect people with organizations that can assist them in areas that we may not be able to, such as emergency housing. The reason we are able to offer these services is primarily through the Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA. Every year, we receive funding through VOCA in order to continue working with communities and individuals who need us.

Part of our work through VOCA includes gathering data about what kinds of communities we serve. This includes gender identity, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, age, ability, and more. We would like to share a snapshot of the work we’ve been doing and the people we have been serving with all of you.

“We believe that the first step to eradicating violence in our community is to acknowledge that it is happening,” said Catarina Campbell of the SafeSpace office. Currently, the Pride Center is the only organization in Vermont that specifically serves LGBTQH+ adults statewide. “We think it is important to recognize the various experiences of members of our community, and to support those who need it,” Catarina said.

This quarter, from January 1 through March 31, we served 26 individuals. Of these 26 people:

  • 53% identified as having a disability (14 of 26)

  • 50% identified as trans* or gender nonconforming (13 of 26)

  • 15% lack secure and stable housing (4 of 26)

  • 65% of those we served were between the ages of 25 and 59 (17 or 26)

  • We provided approximately 115 units (about 30 hours) of emotional support

  • There were 49 instances of violence reported (some intersecting)

    • 35% of cases were hate violence (17 of 49)

    • 20% of cases were domestic violence (10 of 49)

    • 18% of cases were sexual violence (9 of 49)

    • 27% of cases were another form of violence (bullying, stalking, etc.)

If you or someone you know is seeking emotional support, legal counseling, housing assistance, or other resources, please reach out to SafeSpace. You can reach us by phone at 802-863-0003 Monday-Thursday from 10am-6pm, and on Fridays from 10am-2pm. You can also email us at SafeSpace@PrideCenterVT.org at any time. To report violence anonymously online: bit.ly/reportvt

-Alanna Moriarty, Blogging and Social Media Intern

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

SIGN UP HERE 

 

LGBTTechClinic

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

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