Each month, Pride Center of Vermont will feature a different program or group. These spotlights were created by communications intern, Lee Peet, of Keene State College, in collaboration with Pride Center staff.

Gustavo Mercado Muñiz is the transgender program coordinator here at the Pride Center, and this month’s spotlight is outlining the transgender program and trans groups we provide. These groups include Transpire, Trans Social Hour, Non-binary Social Group, and Trans/GNC Support Group. Trans/GNC Support Group is for anyone who identifies under the trans umbrella– which includes anyone who identifies as a gender other than or in addition to what they were assigned at birth– and who would like to connect with the community and share their deeper understandings of their own identities, and Trans Social Hour is for anyone who identifies under the trans umbrella who wants to hang out and have silly conversations, and share the positives that are going on in their lives. Trans/GNC Support Group meets on the first and third Wednesday of every month, and Trans Social Hour meets the second Friday of each month from 3 to 4pm and the fourth Monday of each month from 6 to 7pm.

When thinking about why these programs are important to them, Gustavo said it was impossible to say. They said, “I can’t see them as not important because they are programs that work to ensure that folks who share my identities and who also have intersections of identities that I’m not familiar with but somewhat overlap with mine and in my work. All of those groups help to ensure that folks are connected socially but also are receiving support and building community, and just having a space where they can feel cared for.” For Gustavo, getting to be part of these groups benefits them and helps influence their work, allowing them to reflect on what connects them to those groups, as well as giving space to hear feedback from the community about the Pride Center’s programs.

Some of Gustavo’s favorite parts of the transgender program are the Trans/GNC Support Group, because it allows for a wide range of people under the trans umbrella to connect and feel empowered. Trans people of many different ages can come together as part of the community through the Support Group, and the Pride Center can be there to provide resources and support to those who need it. Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience is also one of their favorite days because they believe it is important to remember and honor the trans folks whose lives have been lost to violence in the past year.

Gustavo wants our community to know that if they feel there is something missing from Pride Center programming, please reach out to the team so we can collaborate to create an event or group that helps our community feel included. They said, “We’re here to meet the needs of the community, and if folks want to see something that’s not there, they’re welcome to help us create it.”