Central New York, Community, Government, Non-profit, Politics

Support Groups And Events Help Ease Isolationism in LGBTQ Community

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Kim Dill Reacts to Local Government Decisions in the LGBTQ Community

Kim Dill says she is disappointed that Gavin Grimm's court case, regarding a transgender boy in Virginia who wants to use men's bathrooms in school, will not be heard and says the overall bathroom policy is ridiculous.

By Anthony Mazzini SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — One of the biggest concerns within the LGBTQ community is isolationism, and with the new Trump administration, which is composed of many anti-LGBTQ cabinet members and has cracked down on LGBTQ rights, isolationism is something to keep an eye on, said Kim Dill, executive director of SAGE Upstate, an organization that works with older members of the LGBTQ community.

“I think before November 8th people were already isolated in Central New York,” Dill said. “We already had people that were afraid to come out, and now we’re probably going to have more.”

Part of the crackdown from the Trump administration came recently. President Trump rescinded an Obama-era policy that let transgender students use bathrooms of their choice, and on Monday the Supreme Court announced it would not hear the case about a transgender boy who wishes to use men’s bathrooms in school. Transgender activists hoped a hearing would give them some momentum on their front since the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage a constitutional right just two years ago.

In order to try and combat these policies, SAGE offers a full calendar of events each month, including potlucks, art classes, Trans socials, and knitting classes. The goal is to help the local LGBTQ community embrace who they are, Dill said.

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The potluck after the presidential election, which SAGE offers the second Sunday of every month, was one of the most attended because people needed to talk and ease their concerns, said Dill.   (c) 2016 Anthony Mazzini

“We don’t want people to be alone and isolated and we think that the programs we’re offering are giving people the chance to meet other people so they don’t have to be alone,” Dill said.

Dill cited the knitting group, which has been a mainstay for many years, as an example of the type of positive impact support groups and events have on the LGBTQ community.

“That is a prime example of what SAGE can do,” Dill said. “I know they come here to knit but they come here to be together too,” Dill said.

While Dill said there has not been a noticeable spike in attendance at these support groups and events – with the exception being the potluck right after the election – she said people have been more open with discussions about LGBTQ concerns due to President Trump’s policies.