Women are Supporting Our Transgender Sisters

Aug 7, 2020

Stephanie Gottesman is joined by two women with direct experiences around transgender issues. Amanda L Grimes shares her story of growing up transgender in Northeast Indiana and becoming an advocate for the transgender community. She created two support groups at 3Rivers Wellness, and is working on forming a Fort Wayne LGBTQ Resource Center. Jenna Shock, a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner at Cameron Psychiatry, works with transgender clients and is the parent of a transgender teen.

This episode talks about some challenging topics, including transgender discrimination, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. We encourage you to listen with care. 

Women are women. We feel it in our heart and soul even if we were born into bodies that didn’t represent as female at birth. And that can feel like an impossible challenge to overcome for many who were misgendered. Society is beginning to catch up to the idea that we don’t all fit into neat little boxes of gender identity and there are growing resources for transgendered individuals, but there is still a long way to go. Understanding and appreciating the difficulties and joys someone goes through to fully become the person they are can best be found in the stories of people who have actually lived the experience. For this reason, we feel honored and grateful to share these stories in the hopes that we can all come to a place where we can respect and accept people as they are.  

Amanda Grimes is a public speaker, diversity educator, social justice advocate, and writer, and is finishing her bachelor's degree in psychology from Indiana Tech. Her work addresses diversity and inclusion, LGBTQ issues, discrimination, minority stress, healthcare disparities, cultural humility, poverty, and privileged perspectives at schools, universities, businesses, healthcare systems, and organizations in Indiana and Kentucky. Designated male at birth, Amanda spent decades concealing her true gender identity. She lived an entire life – including career successes, marriage, kids, and many battles with suicidal ideation – before coming out and starting her transition in 2013. She has started support groups for both transgender individuals and their parents, and hopes to pursue her Ph.D., expanding the current body of knowledge and understanding regarding gender identity. 

Her current projects include founding the Northeast Indiana LGBTQ Resource Center in Fort Wayne and publishing her autobiography.  The Resource center does not have an online presence at this time, but for anyone interested in volunteering and helping to move this project forward, you can email Amanda at neilgbtqresourcecenter@gmail.com

Amanda serves as the facilitator for two support groups available through 3Rivers Wellness. TRANSupport is available for 18+ members of the transgender, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming community in the Fort Wayne are.  TRANSparent is a support group for parents of transgender, genderqueer, or gender nonconforming individuals. During the COVID-19 crisis, all meetings are being held on Zoom.

We are happy to welcome back Jenna Schock, a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner at Cameron Psychiatry. You may remember Jenna from our most recent episode, where she shared her perspective on the mental health impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. In getting to know Jenna for the last episode, we learned that she works quite a bit with transgender clients. She’s here today to share a therapeutic perspective on the unique struggles faced by the transgender community. Jenna also has a close relationship that has aided in her awareness around LGBTQ issues; she has the heartfelt perspective of a parent discovering that her daughter is transgender. 

During the interview with Jenna, Stephanie mentioned an MRI study showing that the brain patterns of transgender individuals more closely match the brain patterns of their desired gender.  The abstract for this study can be found here and an article done for Global News can be found here.

Mandy Kawa and Rob Parker

Our musician this week comes from Fort Wayne’s LGBTQ community. Funayurei, the darkwave-inspired duo of Mandy Kawa and Rob Parker. Mandy is herself a lesbian, and was excited to be part of this episode. Funayurei makes 80's inspired music with their own twist. They started out as a one-song collaboration just for fun, and followed that up by recording, mixing, and releasing their first record, "Liminal," in 2019. This song, "What Happens Next," was the second song they created and is about being in a tumultuous relationship where communication, energy, and commitment are repeatedly not reciprocated.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at Funayureimusic. We encourage you to check out their music on iTunes, Spotify, and Bandcamp.

Women Are: Fort Wayne is a production of Monstrous Regiment Media and distributed by WBOI in Fort Wayne. Our show is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. This episode was written and produced by Stephanie Gottesman and Traci Henning-Kolberg, and edited by Adam Blackburn. 

We appreciate you subscribing, rating and reviewing the show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can also visit us at womenare.us, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram. New episodes are released every two weeks.