Monday, August 3, 2015

My first outreach

Yesterday (Tuesday, May 2, 2015), I did my first outreach after being a member of Connecticut Outreach Society (COS) for over 16 years!
What's "outreach?"
According to Wikipedia, "outreach is an effort by an organization or group to connect its ideas or practices to the efforts of other organizations, groups, specific audiences or the general public. Unlike marketing, outreach does not inherently revolve around a product or strategies to increase market share. Typically non-profits, civic groups, and churches engage in outreach.
"Outreach often takes on an educational component (i.e., the dissemination of ideas), but it is increasingly common for organizations to conceive of their outreach strategy as a two-way street. In this case outreach is also framed as engagement, rather than simple dissemination/education."
I outreached at two Human Sexuality classes at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. Besides me, there were D - a pre-op MTF TS, K - a post-op FTM TS, M - a pre-op TS, and C - M's wife. Each of us spent about 5 minutes or so telling our "story" and then the students asked us questions.
I was nervous, but I told my story without any slip-ups and some of my humorous remarks garnered a few laughs, so I guess I did OK despite my uneasiness.
Most of the students' questions were directed at all of us and we each answered in turn. Questions like "Which bathroom do you use?" "How did you choose your name?" "What do you do if people stare at you?" etc.
I forgot the exact question, but D's response was that her transgenderism wasn't about the clothes… that it was about what was inside her head, what she felt. I followed up by saying, "For me, it's ALL about the clothes." That got a very big laugh.
A few questions were directed to specific individual in our group and I got my share, but I don't remember what they were! (Next time I am going to take notes.) I do remember that after one class, a female student came up to me and asked if I had a hard time learning to walk in heels.
Each class had about 20 students. The first class included one FTM and three genetic males. The second class was all female. I thought all the students were cool and treated us with respect.
The classes were 90 minutes long, but the time flew by! After the classes, D, M, C, and I dined at the Tuscany Grill in Middletown. The food was very good, but I wish I had ordered something else.

saved the best for last

We did a lot of walking around the university yesterday. To and from the parking lot, through a couple of classroom buildings, to and from the Student Union, etc., and nobody paid much attention to us. I guess it helped that the weather was rotten and people were probably more anxious to get in from the raw day rather than people-watch.
During one of our treks between classes, there were so many students walking through the halls that they broke up our procession. We were still close enough that we could see each other (so as not to get lost), but there was just enough separation between us so that we looked like individuals walking through the halls rather than a group.
At this point, I noticed three male students checking me out and as I passed by them, I heard one of them say, "Now, I like that!" I guess I passed.

 (Source :


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