The Group has been in existence since 1989, originally called the Swindon Transvestite Forum, the Swindon Transgender Group believes that instead of being isolated transgender individuals that hide shamefully in secluded locations, we should stand up without stigma for our right to express ourselves as we really are.
Despite many changes in Social attitudes and legislation there is still a need for a meeting place where like minded people can gather socially in an air of non-judgemental friendship and tolerance. We have a stringent non-discrimination policy and our current meeting place is wheelchair friendly. People of any gender may attend these meetings, alone or with their partners, family and friends, to discuss any topic they wish over light refreshment.
Our group needs to be self sufficient and so an opportunity to make a small donation (£4) is available at the monthly meetings. (unfortunately increased in 2014 by £1 after 24 years due to hall rental cost increase)
Traditionally there is a democratically elected group organiser who's office runs from October to October (AGM)
Historically our strongest attendance at the various group meetings always occurs in the darker months, but we do possess parking and changing facilities at our discrete Swindon venue for those not preferring to travel 'en-femme'. Our only request is that visitors dress and behave within accepted bounds of common decency.
We try to hold various activities through the year, such as quiz nights, photo/make-up sessions, cheese and wine evenings, and a host of other things to make our evenings enjoyable.
Any suggestions for activities they think the group and its members would benefit from whilst attracting even more people into the group would be appreciated.
Who are we
The Swindon TG Group is a local support group that exists in order to provide information and friendship to those who are either confused about gender identity and/or those who are simply looking for a friendly environment in which to dress. Importantly, we also extend our understanding and non-judgmental meeting place to partners, relatives and friends, hopefully assisting and enabling them to come to a rational understanding of the situation they find themselves in.
Like similar transgender support groups, we consist of people from all aspects of our community and consequently have different experiences and lifestyles within the transgender community and beyond with the common aim to help where we can, improve the understanding of the wider community, but more centrally to be a friendly and lively group where everyone can come along for a good evening.
Although we meet in West Swindon and reflect the diversity Swindon is proud to support as witnessed by the annual Swindon Pride event, we have members and visitors from as wide an area as London, Oxford, Exeter, Gloucester, Bristol and, no less important, smaller local towns and villages.
Currently we are not qualified to give counselling, nor are we a group that professes to know all the answers, but we can provide alternative perspectives based on our wide personal experience and a variety of source material. We also are able to act as signposts to other more formal support groups and agencies where necessary and regularly have partners who can also provide help and information when asked. This alone is a valuable aspect to who we are and we are immensly proud of the help and support provided by them.
Some basic definitions for your perusal:
What is a Transvestite
|Until recently it was erroneously believed to be a person who obtained arousal through the wearing of clothing associated with the opposite sex. The term is now more accurately applied to a person who enjoys the feeling and freedom these clothes provide without the belief that they need to adopt the role of the opposite sex permanently (see Transsexual) although is even more used to describe the period where someone adopts both dress styles and can apply to diagnosed but pre transition TS.
Women have regularly cross-dressed with varying degrees of acceptance for much of history, although earlier times saw them suffer abuse and loathing from a society that saw such behaviour as an afront to nature. It was believed such actions would destroy the very fabric of society. Just who did decide who should wear what and why? Ask yourself, "Does a person become someone else because they wear a hat compared to when they don't, or are we conditioned by our ideologies to believe that they do?"
Transvestites are not :-
Currently this condition is thought to be caused by a birth defect, probably originating from womb hormone changes during very early development, creating an individual who believes with every fibre of their being that they were born into the wrong body. Many are driven to try and correct this 'flaw of nature' by medical and / or role change means, but gender reassignment is not a mandatory route to future gender role acceptance in society.
This individual will be in the greatest turmoil; wracked by guilt; feeling that they are in some way to blame for their situation. There is a high risk of depression and self-harm.
This condition is psychiatrically described as Gender Identity Dysphoria although the term appears now to be used more widely to encompass all aspects of the cross-dressing phenomenon.
Transsexuals are not :-