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Annual transgender conference offers resources, community

Southern Comfort Conference

For most of life, Blake Alford was enveloped by solitude.

From the ostracism experienced coming of age in the 1950s and ‘60s – getting beaten up and kicked down the stairs at school for being queer – to more than 30 years on the road driving a truck, Alford was used to feeling alone.

And sharing one’s own company can be particularly isolating when you are at war with yourself, when your body and your mind have dueling definitions of who you are.

“Being behind the wheel of a truck, you don’t see very many libraries, you don’t hear very much about being transgender, especially back during that time, so I didn’t have any information about it,” said Alford, who, at age 56, transitioned from female-to-male almost a decade ago.

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Trans group hosts mixer at My Sister’s Room

T.E.A.M. Atlanta (Transgender Education and Mentoring) will host its first monthly mixer / discussion tonight at My Sister’s Room in East Atlanta from 6 to 9 p.m. The event is open to all transgender persons, families and friends.

The discussion will feature a wide array of topics, including hormone replacement therapy, dating and relationships, name change assistance and more.

A half dozen speakers are scheduled to appear:

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Health & Fitness: Top 10 health concerns you should discuss with your doctor

GAY MEN

HIV/AIDS, Safe Sex That men who have sex with men are at an increased risk of HIV infection is well known, but the effectiveness of safe sex in reducing the rate of HIV infection is one of the gay community’s great success stories. However, the last few years have seen the return of many unsafe sex practices. While effective HIV treatments may be on the horizon, there is no substitute for preventing infection. Safe sex is proven to reduce the risk of receiving or transmitting HIV. All health care professionals should be aware of how to counsel and support maintenance of safe sex practices.

Substance Use Gay men use substances at a higher rate than the general population, and not just in larger communities such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. These include a number of substances ranging from amyl nitrate (“poppers”), to marijuana, Ecstasy, and amphetamines. The long-term effects of many of these substances are unknown; however current wisdom suggests potentially serious consequences as we age.