This month marks the eighth anniversary of the MN T-Girls, the social/support group that I started for, well, t-girls in Minnesota. Clever, isn’t it? The ironic thing is that it took a loooong time to settle on a name.
Like most new things, the beginning of the group wasn’t without hiccups, and that is also true for even now. At the start I was learning about what the group should be, and what the group needed to be. The very first meeting of the MN T-Girls took place at a cafe in Minneapolis that was owned by a trans woman. It was probably one of the safest places a group like this could begin. I was happy that we had a place to go where a girl like us would be welcomed and at the same time support a LGBTQ+ business. Sadly the cafe is no longer in business. The first meeting was a success and by success I mean that people actually showed up. I remember getting to the coffee shop very early (a tradition that still continues to this day, lol) and wondering if anyone would attend. To my delight several others showed up. That made me happy.
Deliriously happy, I should add. The first meeting actually happened! I was emboldened by the (albeit small) turnout. My imagination and ambition partnered with each other and I started to dream of future events. At this point in my (ugh) journey I was still pretty new to leaving the house so I was also looking forward to new adventures as well. I had visited a few malls by this time but the ultimate mall, the fabled Mall of America, was someplace I had never gone. The Mall of America wasn’t just a mall to a t-girl like myself, it represented going to one of the most visited places in the country. People from all over the world spend time shopping and dining and taking in the attractions. Going to such a visible place was intimidating and thrilling at the same time.
Encouraged by the first meeting (and a LITTLE lost in the Pink Fog) I decided the second outing would be visiting the Mall of America. I was still nervous about going but since the group was designed to provide a safe environment for a girl like us I thought it would be easier to go with friends, to go with others like me. I thought wandering around the mall, decorated for the holiday season, listening to the click of my heels on the polished floor sounded heavenly. I sent an email to the group, like I do each month, announcing the plans for the next event.
To my dismay, no one was able, or felt comfortable enough, to attend. Like myself, many of the girls had reservations about going to such a public place. It was, in a sense, a crushing defeat. The second meeting of my ambitious group, wouldn’t happen.
I had wondered if perhaps the first meeting was a fluke and maybe there wasn’t a need for a group like the MN T-Girls. After all, there were other support groups for the trans community that were more established and held regular meetings in actual meeting places. But I’m stubborn. I was convinced that there was a place, a need for a group that emphasized socializing and going out into the community. At the very least, I needed a group like the T-Girls. I was determined to plan another event and it would take place at the same cafe as the first meeting. Not terribly original but I thought since others felt safe there, then perhaps that’s what the group needed.
Fortunately other girls said they could come and they did! Yay! Over the next several months other events were planned at other LGBTQ+ places such as nightclubs and bars. More girls started to attend and I continued to meet others like myself who were all on their own journey. Some girls have been strutting out of their home for years, some girls were out of the house for the first time EVER. I was happy and proud of every girl that comes to these events. As I got to know other t-girls I would listen to their stories and to what they wanted to do. It was touching how… simple (but HUGE) their dreams were. Yes, there were big adventures they dreamed of such as flying pretty but most of the girls simply wanted to go out for dinner or for a coffee or wander around a mall. Simple, small things that one might do on a daily basis in male mode but en femme it’s a whole new world.
Every new MN T-Girl helps shape future events. A t-girl wants a makeup lesson or a private shopping event? I use those requests to plan the next few adventures. Some members are only comfortable at LGBTQ+ places such as a bar or a nightclubs, others want to go to, well, anywhere. Some girls are somewhere in between. As the group continued and as the members fell into different levels of comfort (and dreams) I was able to start planning a wider variety of events. Some took place in LGBTQ+ safe places, other places were more mainstream. Different girls attended different events. By planning a more mainstream event it gave t-girls a chance to do something that may have been, at one time, a little out of their comfort zone. I know that certainly was the case for me.
The year is winding down and the last event of 2021 is coming up. My attention will soon turn towards the next twelve events which is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. So many different factors go into planning our adventures, whether it is what the group is comfortable with, the weather, my traveling for work plans, and now COVID. 2022 will have our annual events such as Pride, the yearly photo shoot, and the holiday party. It’s been a while since we’ve done a makeup lesson so I would like to organize that, too. I like getting new ideas for our little group so if you have suggestions I’d love to hear them!
Over the last eight years we have had many, many adventures. I am in disbelief that the group has existed for as long as it has. After the planned second event I had no idea how long the group would live and I am thankful for each and every MN T-Girl who comes to the events or dreams of being ready to join us. The group was created for t-girls (no matter where they are in their journey) and I am so happy whenever someone comes, whether it is an old friend or a girl stepping out into the real world for the first time. I recognize and I am humbled by the trust that is put into me. I’m glad I didn’t give up. I believe the group is needed, I think others need it.
I need it, too.