MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Seeking medical and legal services for the LGBTQ+ community can be costly and risky. The organization OUTMemphis seeks to make those recourses safe and accessible by hosting the first ever "Mid-South Transgender Resource Fair," taking place on Saturday.
Lena Chipman is on the planning committee for the OUTMemphis' new fair.
"Being transgender 'is,' — it's not something that's a choice, it's something that you are," Chipman said. "The choice to transition is a separate thing ... My transition started when I was in my early 40s."
Malachi Allen has been transitioning for the past five years.
"Within the five years when I have [transitioned], everything has become more open and available," Allen said.
Chipman and Allen share an experience with more than a million transgender people in America — a path traveled by many with few places to go.
"The hardest part was figuring out how to do it," Allen said. "The only thing that I had when I started out was YouTube and Google, and I didn't really know many to reach out to."
Many have joined forces through the OUTMemphis and Memphis Trans Love Organizations for the first Mid-South Transgender Recourse Fair.
"All those phone calls we get, all those things people are looking for — if people can come to this, hopefully maybe a little bit of a one-stop shop," Alexander Hauptman said.
Document changes and legal assistance, hair removal shops, a nail salon and even vaccines for COVID-19, monkeypox and the flu were organized for the event.
"We have physicians, regular physicians, surgeons, we have barbers, we have a fitting place that's going to be there doing bra fittings," Jenna Dunn said.
All in an effort to make sure no one else transitions alone.
"It takes you back to that 'it takes a village [saying]'," Allen said. "This is like our village that we're taking them in, to help them the right way."