Finding resources for some of the most basic questions from transgender and gender-queer people in Utah can be tough. Employers often don’t know how to treat people who are transgender, and doctors often have to guess, said Dallas Ian Carrizales, a member of the TRANStastic social group.
“I’ve been transitioning for about three years, and I couldn’t have done it without TRANStastic,” Carrizales said.
TRANStastic is a social group that meets every second and fourth Friday at Whisper’s Café, 1100 E. 1429 South, in Salt Lake City at 6:30 p.m. The group does not participate actively in political causes, advocacy or any other activities. It is a place to gather with other transgender and gender-queer people to discuss issues unique to them, Carrizales said.
“We like to pick a topic and discuss it each week,” he said. “The topics range from the ever-famous bathroom situation, legal issues and passing.”
Because some of the topics discussed are very specific to the transgender community, the group limits membership to those that identify as trans or gender-queer, and allies are not encouraged to attend, Carrizales said. The group has a regularly scheduled room that is separate to help attendees feel more comfortable and relaxed, he said.
“It’s an extremely valuable resource for me and others that identify as gender-queer,” Carrizales said. “We face difficult issues that others don’t have.”
When Carrizales went to the employment services division of his employer for guidance regarding his transition, there was confusion with how to handle his situation, he said.
“They weren’t offensive, but they didn’t know what to do,” he said. “They told me if I find out anything on my own to take it to them so they can learn from me.”
The group encourages transgender and gender-queer people age 18 and up to attend their meetings, and those that have more experience often share their knowledge with those that might be new to certain issues, he said.
The group is different from other groups for transgender people, such as TransAction, because it focuses solely on socializing and discussion, Carrizales said. There are no advocacy issues or planning events. It’s just a time and a place to mingle, he said.
“We’re all very welcoming and everyone can have a great time,” Carrizales said. “It’s a perfect place to really get to know other people and just relax.”
For more information about the meetings, go to UtahPrideCenter.org.