Transgender resource fair draws hundreds

The Carbondale event helped community members connected with needed resources.
Community members attend the Southern Illinois Transgender Resource Fair in Carbondale on Aug. 11. Photo provided by RC News

By Benito Goff, RC News

Rainbow Cafe hosted its second Southern Illinois Transgender Resource Fair last month to coincide with the beginning of school – the event was a massive success, with hundreds attending from across the region.

The Transgender Resource Fair (TRF) serves a variety of needs and is completely free and open to anyone -including cisgender people. While many think transgender resources begin and end with transitioning, the fair explores every aspect of what is necessary to lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. Access to hormone replacement therapy, affirmation surgery, and legal name/gender marker changes are important – but so is being employed, having food on the table, being able to vote, and not feeling alone.

This past TRF included organizations and groups from throughout Southern Illinois and beyond – people came from St. Louis, Champaign-Urbana, and Memphis to offer their services to the community. Some of the biggest names include CHOICES, Metro Transgender Umbrella Group, Midwest Access Coalition, and Uniting Pride. Through the fair, Rainbow Cafe and other organizations are able to offer free haircuts, binders, HIV testing, Narcan, Plan B, clothes – all alongside amazing catered food and live music.

The next Southern Illinois Transgender Resource Fair will take place in March 2024, coinciding with International Transgender Day of Visibility. Additional information, including dates, times, and services offered, will be publicized closer to the event date.

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