Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Windy City Times 2023-12-13



Trans women take steps to 'TWIRL' freely
by Melissa Wasserman

This article shared 7438 times since Sun Sep 29, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

From an ambition in a creative mind to real life, three trans women put their troubles and concerns into action, constructing the organization Trans Women in Real Life ( TWIRL ).

Monica Fernandez, Reyna Ortiz and GiGi Boom all began their transitioning process as teenagers and young adults. Which went through the experience with the advantage of having supportive families, they still felt some difficulties in other areas.

"Being young and adding that pressure and complication of being trans on top of that, it made the situation really complicated," said Ortiz. "That's why there is such a need for groups like us because there's all these stresses in life already, but being trans adds to it. It's a really hard issue to deal with when you're a teenager."

Fernandez in particular recalls her experience being difficult, but she was confident in how she wanted to live her life and could not be stopped. With no fear and unconditional love from her mother especially, she describes herself as strong.

As adults, each have gotten involved with various organizations and attended a focus group they felt was not geared enough toward trans woman. About four months ago, feeling like there were no helpful or welcoming resources available for them, they decided to take action and create TWIRL.

"What made us passionate or what made myself passionate is that I live this life every day," said Ortiz. "We are trans women in real life. We are part of society, but yet in some ways we don't feel part of society. We feel like we're outcasts. They make us feel like we're so different from everybody else, but in actuality we're the same. So we felt that there was a need. If we don't stand up for ourselves, nobody is going to stand up for us, not even the gay community."

TWIRL welcomes all walks of life. Regardless of age, race, religion and phase of transition, TWIRL exists to support and educate anyone who identifies as a trans woman. Currently the organization is independent and funded out of the three founders' pockets. Friends in the community assist in providing some of the venues.

"We want it not only to be pro-gay, we want it to be pro-trans," said Fernandez. "There's so many things I want to do differently and I know it's going to take time and I just want to come out of the dark. I want to shine bright like a diamond, like Rihanna said."

Fernandez said she hopes the organization grows and gets funded in the future. She adds there is a need for safe houses for transgender people in every ward of the city. Although they have support in some areas, Fernandez and Ortiz both expressed instances of discrimination as adults. Some discrimination came when finding jobs, finding apartments, police protection and as visitors at hospitals.

Fernandez was violently pushed at an HIV/AIDS fundraiser last year when someone touched her girlfriend and she in turn defended her. In that incident Fernandez felt unprotected because of her being transgender. She said the police did not file a report, brushing the incident under the rug.

"We're human beings and we're treated this way, not only by society, people like the police," said Fernandez. "Their motto is 'to protect and serve.' They don't protect us. Even then, we're doing stuff for people who are HIV positive. It was a good thing we were doing, not a bad thing. Gay men treat us like step children. It's tough to live this way. We're not in 1320. We're in 2013. That's what we need to know."

Ortiz and Fernandez said trans women feel like the stepchildren of the LGBTQ community. Explaining there are events and literature focused on being pro-gay or pro-lesbian, there is a lack of resources for trans women or transsexuals in general. They say they experience significant stereotyping.

"They think they have programs for trans women, but I say otherwise," said Fernandez. "I reached out to other programs like the Chicago House and Howard Brown, different places, Project Vida, they don't even have literature or pamphlets for transgender women. It's all about gays and lesbians and I think it's about time we do have that."

The reason the organization's name centers around trans women specifically, they explained, is because to them trans women are the most oppressed of the LGBTQ community.

"Even trans men have it better than trans women because some of them fit into society so well that it's just not even an issue," said Ortiz. "To transition from a man to a woman is the hardest thing to do. You need the most surgery, you need the most money, the most everything. So, I do think we are the most oppressed group out of the LGBTQ community."

One of TWIRL's main purposes is to provide a sisterhood for young trans women that are having issues. The hope, Ortiz said, is for the group to be national and gain a reputation of being made up of trans women who are here to make a difference, share their voices, and to mostly educate people.

"It's a lack of education," said Ortiz. "People are scared of what they don't know, yet they're so interested in transsexuals because it's so different and I think once people really understood the life of a transsexual and all the things they go through to become a transsexual, they would admire us. They should be admiring us because we made such a sacrifice for us to be the people we want to be."

Several trans women and allies attended the launch meeting of TWIRL Sept. 23 at Efebina's Café, 1640 S. Blue Island in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Their next meeting is Monday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m. at Efebina's, and members plan to attend the March on Springfield the next day.

One surprise guest at the Sept. 23 meeting was U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who was at the restaurant for a benefit. "I think it was a good turn out," said Fernandez. "We did get to meet Luis Gutierrez. He's a supporter and that's what I needed to hear."

"We want to open to everyone that needs help and has issues or they want to transition," said Fernandez. "If you want to transition and you need advice of doing it, we want to help. I want to let the youth know, it's okay to be different. We made it, so they can too. I want everybody to know we're there and we exist. I can't control what happens outside the facility, but I know they're going to be safe with me while I'm there. I can't control the community or society, but I just want to get the closure that I'm here to help if they ever need help."

To learn more about TWIRL, contact: .

This article shared 7438 times since Sun Sep 29, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Federal investigation initiated in Nex Benedict case 2024-03-02
- The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has started an investigation into the Oklahoma school district where Nex Benedict, a transgender 16-year-old sophomore, went to school and was bullied before his death, The Advocate ...

Gay News

Court blocks Texas attorney general's demand for PFLAG data 2024-03-01
- From a press release: AUSTIN, Texas—Travis County District Court Judge Maria CantÀº Hexsel on March 1 blocked the latest effort by the Texas Attorney General's Office to persecute Texas families with transgender youth, temporarily haltin ...

Gay News

Appeals court allows Ind. ban on gender-affirming care for minors 2024-03-01
- On Feb. 27, a federal appeals court in Chicago allowed Indiana's ban on gender-affirming care to go into effect, removing a temporary injunction that U.S. District Court Judge James Patrick Hanlon issued last year, ABC News ...

Gay News

Activists and others urge removal of Oklahoma schools superintendent after Nex Benedict death 2024-02-28
- TULSA, OKLAHOMA—Today more than 350 national, state, and local organizations advocating for equality across the U.S., alongside notable public figures, issued an open letter to Oklahoma legislative leadership urging justice ...

Gay News

APA adopts policy supporting transgender, gender diverse and non-binary individuals 2024-02-28
- From a press release: WASHINGTON—The American Psychological Association (APA) has adopted a landmark policy affirming evidence-based care for transgender, gender diverse and nonbinary children, adolescents and adults, noting that recent ...

Gay News

911 calls, videos show cascade of failures in Nex Benedict's death, GLAAD responds 2024-02-24
- "It is haunting to hear Nex Benedict, in their own words, describe how school and state leaders failed, at every level of leadership, to keep them safe from bullying and harm. Less than 24 hours later, ...

Gay News

Federal jury finds man guilty of killing trans woman in landmark case 2024-02-24
- In a groundbreaking case, a federal jury in Columbia, South Carolina found Daqua Lameek Ritter guilty of killing transgender woman Dime Doe after deliberating for almost four hours, The State reported. It is the first time ...

Gay News

WORLD Caribbean ruling, Pussy Riot, Russian raid, Canadian warning, anti-trans bar 2024-02-23
- The top court in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines dismissed a challenge to colonial-era anti-gay laws, Reuters reported. Javin Johnson and Sean Macleish—two gay men who had pushed to decriminalize ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Chuck Schumer, anti-marriage bill, drag event back on, military doctor 2024-02-23
- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his support for the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA)—and, as a result, several LGBTQ+-advocacy organizations dropped their opposition to it, The Hill ...

Gay News

Oklahoma non-binary student dies after being assaulted 2024-02-21
- Officials acknowledged there are unresolved questions about a 16-year-old non-binary Oklahoma student who died one day after a fight in a high school bathroom, NBC News noted. Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, ...

Gay News

Center on Halsted to host trans youth & family summit 2024-02-19
- Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., has announced that its Trans Youth & Family Summit 2024 will take place March 16. This year marks the sixth annual event, which partners between Youth Services' Pride Youth ...

Gay News

WORLD South Africa murder, lesbian couple, Brianna Ghey, Eurovision 2024-02-16
- In South Africa, LGBTQ+-rights groups condemned the brutal murder of Diego Jacobs, a queer man in Cape Town, The Washington Blade reported. Reports indicate Jacobs, 21, was brutally murdered (reportedly by a former neighbor) on Feb. ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Utah board member, Baths founder dies, Fla. protests, DoJ equity plan 2024-02-16
- Utah's Republican governor and lieutenant governor urged the State Board of Education to take action against a conservative board member whose social-media post questioning the gender of a high school basketball player incited threats against the ...

Gay News

Human Rights Campaign report releases new data on experiences of Black queer youth 2024-02-14
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a report in ...

Gay News

Col. Jennifer Pritzker comments on military museum move 2024-02-13
- Local transgender philanthropist Col. Jennifer Pritzker commented to Windy City Times about the impending move of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library (PMML), which she founded in 2003, to Wisconsin. "At the end of the day, ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.