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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Trans Lifeline marks one-year anniversary
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Vern Hester
2015-12-01

This article shared 2664 times since Tue Dec 1, 2015
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On Nov. 24, The Trans Lifeline held its one-year anniversary celebration at The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., commemorating a watershed period of rapid growth and outreach.

Co-titled "Message In A Bottle," the benefit event featured an informal award ceremony, a dance party, spoken word and musical performances, a full-course dinner, two DJs and a host of personal experiences. The attendance may have been small, but this did not limit the passion and joy of those present.

Co-founded by trans women Greta Gustava Martela and partner Nina Chaubal in San Francisco, Trans Lifeline was created specifically to support trans individuals in crisis.

Over this one year, Martela and Chaubal have seen their grassroots start-up expand, with more than 300 telephone operators in the United States and Canada.

At the start of the performance portion of the event, Martela and Chaubal spoke about their personal experiences but also emphasized the urgent need for Trans Lifeline to continue to grow. Although those 300+ operators responded to more than 8,000 phone calls in the last 12 months, they were unable to answer a like number of calls due to limited resources and staff. The suicide rate for trans individuals is 22 percent higher than any other demographic, with Latina and African-American trans women hit hardest.

One of the factors that made this benefit so dynamic was that this was the first time that many of the operators had met each other in person. With Tony "La Tony" Alverado-Rivera serving as emcee, the night got started with an awards ceremony that was full of surprises. Jessica Jacqueline and Dr. Rylan Testa received awards in absentia, but Chaubal was overwhelmed when she found herself awarded for her unwavering support of the project. ( Chaubal not only provided seed money but also gave up a lucrative career to serve as operations manager for Trans Lifeline. )

Rebecca Kling then performed an improvisational spoken-word piece ( that featured Donald Trump and the website Scruff ) that included audience participation. Martela then strapped on a guitar and was joined by Sergio Munoz on bass for a short set. DJs Ariel Zetina and Jesus [XP] closed out the night with a dance party that had the guests on their feet for the remainder of the evening.

For those interested in supporting Trans Lifeline, staff member Andre Perez encouraged the crowd to volunteer, donate or to organize a fundraiser. The hotline's numbers is 877-565-8860 ( United States ) and 877-330-6366 ( Canada ); for more information, call 415-483-5361.

Windy City Times profiled Trans Lifeline in its Nov. 18 issue; see www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Organization-provides-lifelines-for-trans-individuals/53462.html .


This article shared 2664 times since Tue Dec 1, 2015
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