When Trinity Anderson returned to her hometown of Bend, Oregon nearly 10 years ago, she was searching for community—looking for anyone who could understand what she was going through.
“I was looking for someone to help me through the journey and the process,” she remembers.
A majority of Trinity’s family abandoned her when she came out as transgender—and she was looking for a new chosen community. She found that in a transgender support group facilitated by Human Dignity Coalition, a grassroots organization that serves five counties in Central Oregon.
She shares, “When I first started attending groups, I honestly wasn’t sure I even had a future.”
The group supported Trinity as she came to terms with her own identity. The community around her offered encouragement, listened when she needed someone to talk to, and gave her space when she needed that too.
“The community didn’t just help me to come out—they helped me find the courage to find myself and be at peace with myself and the world around me.”
Trinity explains that many individuals come and go through the groups over the years—some move away, or look for alternative forms of support elsewhere. And some go on to be even more active within the community. The individuals touched by this work have all gone on to live their own lives and do positive things for the community. Yet, people keep showing up month after month.
“I don’t know how to explain it, just the feeling of helping each other,” Trinity explains, “Even if you’re hurting—you can help your community in some way.”
The support and confidence that Trinity received through these groups has inspired her to continue to give back. She now facilitates both of the monthly groups for HDC.
“This process has helped me gain confidence, both in myself, and in everything around me,” Trinity reflects. “It started with just going to one group.”
The mission of Human Dignity Coalition is to advance and safeguard human rights. HDC promotes equality for the LGBTQ community in Central Oregon. Human Dignity Coalition facilitates two groups twice per month; one group is for transgender folks only, and the other is for transgender people, family, friends, and allies.
Kim Sogge is Pride Foundation’s Regional Philanthropy Officer in Oregon. Email Kim.