Stand With Trans Family Picnic in the Park Grows, Draws Hundreds

Eve Kucharski
By | 2019-08-14T06:18:26-04:00 August 13th, 2019|Michigan, News|

Held last Sunday, Aug. 11, at Royal Oak’s Memorial Park, Stand With Trans hosted its fourth annual Family Picnic in the Park. Attendees were invited to bring a dish to share and to come hang out with both transgender and allied members of the LGBTQ community. SWT Founder and Executive Director Roz Keith said that though the event is a casual, unstructured one, it’s hugely important to the community.
“One of the pillars of the organization is social connection,” Keith said. “… So, we want to find ways to bring families together and for youth to be able to connect and to just be together in a very casual, relaxed safe space. And each year at the picnic we’ve had well over 100 people, maybe on average 120 or so, who attend. And we have youth that come by themselves, we have families, we have adult trans folks who stop by and say hi and it’s really a broad spectrum of community who attends.”
Keith said that events like these, particularly early on in a person’s transition, can really help a newly out person feel more comfortable in their own skin. Sometimes, even beyond the social aspect, they can even serve as a networking tool to learn more about helpful resources and generally educate people about the process of transitioning.
“Particularly early on when a family is trying to get educated and trying to find community connections and help their kid find a social outlet, these types of events are really important,” she said. “And for the kids, it’s a good connection point for them because then they feel more comfortable coming to a support group, they feel more comfortable signing up for our empowerment workshop.”
This year, Keith said, many of the youths who attended were teenagers. She said one of her favorite moments of the day was when a small group of teens broke off from the main gathering area to talk.
“And these kids just found each other and moved away from the picnic shelter and sat under a tree for hours just chatting and connecting and laughing and being goofy together. So, I feel like we’ve done our job when we see that,” Keith said. “They managed to gravitate toward each other and made new friends.”
Though there won’t be another SWT Family Picnic until next summer, Keith encourages those who are transitioning to consider going to an SWT support group or one of the upcoming events like the Trans-Advocacy Training event on Saturday, Aug. 17. SWT support groups and events are held regularly each month.
Find out more about the nonprofit organization, future events and how to get involved online at standwithtrans.org.

About the Author:

Eve Kucharski
As news and feature editor at Between The Lines, Eve Kucharski's work has spanned the realms of current events and entertainment. She's chatted with stars like Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho and Tyler Oakley as well as political figures like Gloria Steinem, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Her coverage of the November 2018 elections was also featured in a NowThis News report.