Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Transcend Charlotte Services

Is Transcend Charlotte only for transgender people?

No.  We were inspired by our struggles and unique perspective as transgender people, and we have many resources for you if you are transgender to work on reducing the suicide rate and other poor outcomes we face as trans individuals.  But ultimately, we want to unite people of all backgrounds to improve communication and understanding between diverse groups.  We do not want to exclude cisgender people or those outside of the LGBTQ spectrum.  Instead, we want to open up dialogue between whoever is struggling because of their identity.  Being accepted for who you are, your true authentic self, is a key part of the stress of living on the LGBTQ spectrum, but in many ways, this is a universal struggle for all people to varying degrees.  If you are not LGBTQ and are being discriminated against for another part of your identity or have experienced trauma, we want to help.  Or if you do not think you fall into any of these categories and would simply like to support and learn from those who have, our perspective is that everyone has something to bring to the table.

Who is your support group for?

Our group is for everyone, but we do ask that you are 18 or above.  We can refer anyone under 18 to other resources but want to keep Transcend Charlotte’s group focused on adults.  We do have a lot of transgender individuals in the group currently as well as LGBQ, partners, and friends who are straight and/or cisgender.  We are building the group to be more diverse.  We also have plans to have groups that branch out from our main group.  So for instance, if you want a group that is more focused (e.g. transgender, lesbian, gay, nonbinary, asexual, parents, partners, trauma recovery, etc.), all of these things are possible.  Our group has a lot of interest, and if there’s a group you are interested in building, we have the space to accommodate many groups at once.  We want to build connection, but we also understand the need for private space to talk about issues that are important to individual groups.  We just need good leaders who are on board with our mission.

I’m not from Charlotte, can I still get help?

Absolutely!  We will make every effort to support you no matter where you are from.  We are working on having resources available for people outside of Charlotte.  We are available to talk if you reach out to us, and we will do our best to help you find support where you live.  You can also join our Facebook group to get support from other members of Transcend Charlotte.

Gender and Sexual Orientation

What do transgender and cisgender mean?

Transgender means that your gender identity does not match the sex you were assigned at birth.  You do not have to transition to be transgender.

Cisgender means that your gender identity does match the sex you were assigned at birth.  If you are not transgender, you are typically identified as cisgender.

What’s the difference between sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression?

Sex refers to the gender you were assigned at birth based on your anatomy, usually either male, female or intersex.

Sexual Orientation refers to the nature of your physical and/or emotional attraction to other people.  Your sexual orientation can be towards a particular group, several groups, be all inclusive, or towards no one.  This is not the same thing as gender identity.  Ex: Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Pansexual, Asexual, Bisexual, Demisexual, etc.

Gender Identity is the gender (male, female, non-binary, etc.) you identify with at a deep psychological level.  This goes much deeper than your physical anatomy and may or may not match your assigned sex.  This is not sexual orientation.  Ex:  Male, Female, Transwoman, Transman, Genderqueer, Non-binary, Two-Spirit, etc.

Gender Expression is how you choose to express your gender identity in your dress, behavior, speech, mannerisms, etc.  Every person, whether transgender or not, has a way in which they choose to express themselves.  Some women choose to express themselves in ways that are deemed feminine in our society, such as wearing dresses and makeup.  Other women may never wear dresses or makeup and may be seen as more masculine or as a tomboy.  Some men may choose to wear makeup or clothing typically categorized as feminine.  This is true for both cisgender and transgender individuals.  These gender norms also vary widely in different cultures.  Gender expression can be in line with your gender identity or not.  Many people choose to cross-dress or play with gender roles in various ways.  Gender expression doesn’t define gender identity and should not be used to do so.

I’m confused about my gender, what do I do?

You came to the right place.  It’s perfectly normal and okay to be confused and anxious about what this means.  Almost all of us who have transitioned or had difficulty our gender identity have been where you are.  It’s okay not to know.  It’s okay to take your time.  You don’t have to rush into anything, and there are no rules you have to follow about how to do this.  You may choose to transition or not in any way that feels right for you.  Please reach out to us, and we will be happy to provide support individually, connect you with peers who understand, or you can simply come to our support group.  Also, if you would like, we can refer you to a therapist who is knowledgeable about gender identity and expression.

I want to transition – where do I start?

There are many ways to transition.  No one way is correct.  You can transition by changing your name, taking hormones, having surgeries, or doing all or none of these things.  Your transition is yours.  Depending on what you want to do, we can refer you to the right people.   You may need a therapist to write you a letter for your physician to prescribe you hormones, or there are some physicians that do not require this.  We will have a lot more information about these things on the site later, but for now, please contact us and let us know what you’re thinking, and we can point you in the right direction.  Or if you just need support and want to talk, reach out to us individually or come to our support group.

Trauma Prevention & Recovery

Transcend Charlotte is about identity and authenticity.  What does trauma have to do with this?

Sadly, trauma is a too common among all minorities, and statistically worse for people who are transgender.  Transwomen of color are particularly vulnerable to violence around the world.  Beyond this, most of us have had experiences that were traumatic, whether or not we categorize them that way.  These experiences shape who we are and how we interact with the world.  These can be seemingly minor incidents that went beyond our ability to cope or more obvious traumas like child abuse, war, domestic violence, rape, etc.  As a trauma survivor, part of the difficulty in coping is not being able to share your story because of shame or because it is difficult for others to hear or understand.  Like your identity, your story is yours and should not have to be hidden if you want or need to share it with others.  It is a part of you, and having a safe place to be heard can be the first step towards healing from these physical/mental injuries.   Trauma often makes people feel alone and disconnected not only from others but from who they are.  At Transcend Charlotte, we want to provide you with safe places where you can be supported and heard for all aspects of who you are and your experiences.  We will never push or force you to share, but we want you to know that you can, and there will always be someone to listen.

Religion, Spirituality, and Belief Systems

Is Transcend Charlotte a religious organization?

No.  We are not affiliated with any religion.  Whether you are of a strong religious faith, agnostic, atheist, or believe in something else entirely, we want to support you.  We have believers and nonbelievers on staff as well as people who have backgrounds in studying religion and a passion for this.  Part of what we want to do is bridge the gaps between identity struggles and beliefs.  Whether you are religious or not, most of us have some aspect of belief about our purpose or some greater goal we strive to achieve with our lives.  These can be spiritual, intellectual, or something else.  We recognize that many people have been violated by or forced into religious organizations that did not accept them.  This in itself can be traumatic.  We also recognize that there are many people who are religious that feel limited in being able to discuss their faith in communities that are sometimes antagonistic towards religion because of these violations.  We want to create space for open dialogue to heal these gaps and allow discussion regarding each of our perspectives.  We seek to maintain a diverse staff ranging from those of various faiths to no religious belief.  We are working to maintain resources to be able to support you in the manner that is right for you, and we will never impose any religious or other values onto people who seek our services outside of the reduction of behaviors that do harm to others.

Being LGBTQ is against my beliefs, but I’m afraid I am or someone I love is.  What do I do?

This is a common question and something many of us have faced.  At Transcend Charlotte, we do not discriminate based on whatever your beliefs are.  We are inclusive and want to have open dialogue about this issue no matter what you believe or don’t believe.  There are many people involved with Transcend Charlotte that come from a range of faith perspectives and are dedicated to helping you navigate this conflict.  We will never push a perspective on you, but we can link you with others of your faith and have relationships with various clergy in the community who are willing to talk with you or your loved one openly about your concerns.  We understand that this is a vital part of your identity, and while some people in the community feel that they have to choose between who they are and their faith, this is not the case for all.  Some people do step away from their belief system after facing this, and others find renewed faith.  As always, it is your journey and your right to choose.  No matter how you or your loved one move forward, we want you to be able to find support and acceptance from others who understand.