Sensuous in Satin

Reflections on Transgender life

The world is changing so should we?

Posted by Adrian • Monday, May 1. 2006 • Category: Seahorse NSW
An article I wrote for the Seahorse NSW magazine a LONG time ago!

For seven years now I have been on the Seahorse executive, firstly as Treasurer and more recently as Vice President. With this continuity comes a heightened sensitivity to changes that have occurred in that time both within and outside Seahorse.

I'm sure we would all have been aware of positive trends such as
o The increased use of the internet, both as a source of information for crossdresssers and also as the preferred medium for communication.
o An increased awareness of crossdressing, not least because of frequent articles appearing in women's magazines
o An increase in the proportion of crossdressers who have actively supporting partners

In the last couple of years we have seen a rapid acceleration in these changes. I want to take this opportunity to explain why I think Seahorse needs and deserves to change in response. The opinions expressed in this article are my own, and not those of the Seahorse committee.

Change is a difficult subject to discuss in what is essentially a fairly conservative group. When things are going well people see no need to do things differently, and when things are going less well they are frightened to rock the boat and make things worse.

For several years now our membership has fallen. Whatever the exact number we can always assure ourselves that the society is the right size and that bigger is not necessarily better. But I see this as a trend that could soon have a serious impact on the viability of the Society. We are already finding that the society cannot muster a satisfying response to an organized event be it a Ball, a restaurant night or a quiz.

That this membership trend might be due more to changes external to The Society than within is of even more concern to me.

It is vital that we remain relevant as we move into an era of growing acceptance, less domestic secrecy, and widespread Internet use. I think it is time to critically review the way we relate to society at large, and the services we offer to the transgender community. I accept that this might not be comfortable to some members but ask that we all think of the well being of our society first.

I want to highlight three areas that I feel are clearly no longer aligned to the environment in which we now operate. There are undoubtedly others that could be identified by a more thorough review.

Interviews

Firstly, the interview process we use is discriminatory and as a result many potential members proceed no further than sending in an application form.
We routinely disadvantage country members who are not afforded the same opportunity to come to an interview with the committee. But far worse in my opinion, we discriminate against crossdressers who are not yet ready to come out in public and be interviewed. Instead of reaching out a helping hand to the timid, we deny them membership, magazine and contact.

I believe we should have a more open approach. Thee committee interview is a dated concept that is now hindering the work of the society not helping it .
An alternative could be to “interview" through a sponsoring member on the application form (much like joining a golf club). With enhancements to the “Big Sister" programme and more public open meetings we could easily help new members find a sponsor and clear the interview hurdle.

Meetings

The second area for change could be in the type of meetings we hold. The closed-door monthly social has a valuable role in transitioning crossdressers from the closet to society by providing a safe and supportive environment. But as crossdressing becomes more acceptable in society, we need to look outwards more and consider the image we are projecting. Do we want appear to be a secret society in a world that would accept us?

I believe the society should hold its main regular monthly event in a public venue, open to anyone to attend. The Cooks River Motor Club is one obvious venue but I'm sure others could be suggested. By sponsoring such a regular event for the TG community we would provide a positive image of the society. It would also make it easy to recruit new members, helped along no doubt by a door charge for non-members.

On the other hand I think the Hunters Hill social should be retained and focus on its primary role of providing support rather than entertainment. It should be free, with a low organizational overhead, and only be open to members and their partners. The committee meeting could easily be merged with this event (to provide more flexibility in the organization of the society).

Magazine

Finally, we regularly loose members because they do not expect, or want, to communicate by post. The magazine is a valuable resource, but printing and mailing it out is time consuming and costly. In an age where many people read the daily newspaper on-line, a society that does not offer to communicate electronically (and renew subscriptions on-line) becomes increasingly out of touch.

I believe we should enhance the society website to provide access for members to magazines and membership renewals. It would also be appropriate to follow the Gender Center's example and make printed mailouts available less frequently, or for an increased subscription.

The AGM is coming!

The 2006 AGM will be held on Friday 26th May and your new committee will be elected. This is not an annual formality, particularly not this year, as key positions will be declared vacant.

Clearly I believe there is a significant challenge ahead keeping the society relevant in a changing world. However I did not write this article seeking a mandate for change or for re-election. After 7 years I want to take a break from the formality of being on the executive. Rather I hope to stimulate other members to take an active role in managing the club.

If you share my views that significant change is needed, step forward and help it happen.
If you feel that change would be harmful, step forward and help preserve what you see as worth keeping.

That way we will head into our new year with a vibrant committee, and a healthy discussion about the future.


Amanda (421)


For the record on;y one person voted in favour of change!

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