Transcend Charlotte and Carolinas Care Partnership announced late last month they have merged, in order to better serve the LGBTQ communities of Charlotte.

Carolinas Care will provide organizational, administrative and fundraising support and Transcend will offer expertise in gender equity and trans-focused programming, while continuing to provide high quality peer support groups, case management, community education and special services like an expression space and name change workshops.

The organization will also support Carolinas Care and their commitment to serve the LGBTQ community, which includes areas such as counseling, case management, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS testing, care and treatment as well as access to healthcare.

With the relocation to the Carolinas Care Partnership facility at 5855 Executive Center Drive, Transcend programs will be easily accessible by car and CATS bus lines.

Transcend’s Executive Director Bethany Corrigan spoke with WJZY’s Queen City News recently about the organization’s new developments since the merger, and more.

“Joining up with Carolinas Care Partnership … enabled us to expand our services, so we provide free and low cost social and mental health services,” Corrigan explained. 

That includes peer support groups and name change workshops offered on a bi-monthly basis and a program called Expression Space, which provides free resources like clothing, shoes and specialty items such as bath and care products, as well.

Transcend Charlotte’s Mission

“[Our] case management helps folks with income, bill pay support and housing and because of our partnership with the Carolinas Care Partnership, the housing resources recently have been expanded. In addition we can offer on the spot HIV testing, again, through our very dear partnership [with] the Carolinas Care Partnership.

“So really … what we’re seeking to do here is show up and stand with and for Trans and non-binary folks in the Charlotte Community.”

The Battle Against Discrimination 

Corrigan also spoke about the availability and need for across the board transcare and advocacy in multiple aspects of life.

“Folks with diverse gender identities face increased discrimination, harassment  and violence. Last year, Charlotte was named the second deadliest city in the United States for Trans people, and that primarily affects trans women of color.

“The system is built to favor folks who are considered to be in the mainstream, so what we’re doing here is trying to address issues of equity [and] we will be here addressing those inequities as long as those inequities exist. In addition, we also work to ensure that policy is created fairly. We’re in that fight, as well.

The Importance of Resources for Trans and Non-Binary Individuals

For many individuals in and out of the trans and non-binary communities, access to and education about the communities themselves doesn’t come easily. Corrigan is proud that Transcend is an available resource for so many of those people.

“It’s incredibly important [and] studies have shown that affirmation — and that means anything from respecting someone’s pronouns to supporting folks exploring their identity, help[s] them reduce depression, anxiety and [thoughts of] suicide. It’s very important for allies as well and so we always tell people if you’re going to do anything today, go forth and be someone in whose presence others can rest as their authentic self.

“We’re trying to be that place, that resource for Trans, Non-Binary folks and allies, as well.”

Defining New Terminology

Since the 1970s we have watched as terms for our community have evolved from Gay, to Lesbian and Gay, to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. Although a finalized acronym continues to remain a bit elusive, it currently ranges anywhere from the frequently used LGBTQ to the 12-character LGBTQQIP2SAA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, Two-Spirit, Androgynous, and Asexual).

It’s not surprising that some of those letters (and numbers) have become confusing for individuals in both the straight and queer community. 

It’s interesting to note the letter ‘n’ is nowhere to be found in either acronym, and significant that Corrigan explained the meaning behind the term Non-Binary to WJZY’s anchor Julian Sadur.

“So non-binary simply means a gender identity that is outside of what you would consider a binary or a two-gender expectation, [like] man, woman [and] male, female,” Corrigan explained. “Non-Binary means gender identity outside of that two gender understanding and that’s something we would encourage allies to explore. You might just learn something about yourself!”

For more information on services available visit Transcend Charlotte and Carolinas Care Partnership. Both organizations also have constantly updated pages on Facebook.

David Aaron Moore

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of Qnotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the senior content editor and a regularly contributing writer for Qnotes. Moore is a native of North...