Will provide support, resources
Two new Sussex groups are offering resources and support for parents of transgender individuals.
Rita Nelson, of Millsboro, will facilitate TransParent in Lewes. Tara Sheldon, of Rehoboth Beach, will facilitate Parents of Trans Kids in Milford.
TransParent is a national nonprofit that originated in 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri, and has grown to over a dozen chapters across the U.S.
Their mission is to normalize gender independence by connecting families and assisting them with resources, and to support and encourage parents to act in their transgender child’s best interest.
This includes adult children, too.
“I really think this is a need, because the parents and grandparents that I talk to – all the focus has been on the transgender person themselves, but very little has been said or done for the parents, very little even written,” said facilitator Rita Nelson.
Nelson is a retired Episcopal priest and the author of “Always Kristin,” a 2017 memoir about her journey with her transgender daughter.
An organizational TransParent meeting will be held Tuesday, October 15, at 7 p.m. at Lewes Public Library.
Regular meetings will be the third Monday of the month, at the same time and place.
“We invited a lot of leaders in the community to attend so they know about us, but also to get a sense of ‘What would you like this to be?’” Nelson said.
“We’re even thinking of a more central location, maybe Georgetown. If it works really well here, we could work with TransParent and get other chapters, up in Dover and even Wilmington.”
Meetings are expected to last one to two hours and will occasionally feature speakers.
“I don’t want it to be a gripe session,” Nelson said. “But I really want it to be a place where they can express their concerns and their fears and get some hope from educational resources.”
More information is available at TransParentUSA.org.
Parents of Trans Kids
PTK began in New Castle County in 2016. So far, they have connected with 140 families.
It was founded by moms Andrea Rashbaum and Sally McBride and with the cooperation of Nemours/AI duPont Pediatric Hospital, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and United Way.
The PTK North group meets at 6:15 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at Nemours/AI duPont Pediatric Hospital in Wilmington.
Rashbaum said the meetings are a place “in which people have an opportunity to vent, ask questions, offer advice, give and receive resources and bond with others who are on a similar journey.”
“Although the title of our group is technically Parents of Trans Kids, we now consider ourselves Parents of Trans and Gender Expansive Kids. The world is changing and we must be flexible,” she said.
PTK South began in September at Bayhealth Sussex Campus in Milford. Meetings are first Wednesdays, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Tara Sheldon, PTK South facilitator, has a master’s degree in social work and is on the board of directors at CAMP Rehoboth. She said the purpose of the group is to provide support to parents of school-aged children who are transgender or gender-fluid.
“Our group supports parents so they can be there for their children during what can be, but does not have to be, a tumultuous time. We hope to provide education for those who do not understand what it means to be transgender and may not know how best to support their children,” Sheldon said.
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