N E W S R E L E A S E
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2018
Trans Talks II Returns to Saratoga May 1 in the Excelsior Springs Ballroom
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, April _, 2018— Saratoga Pride presents Trans Talks II, sponsored by Saratoga Hospital and Cathy Masie, on Tuesday, May 1, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Excelsior Springs Ballroom, 27 Excelsior Avenue, Saratoga Springs. This free event is open to the public and will continue the standing-room-only conversation that began a year ago, addressing the needs of the transgender and gender non-conforming community as well as providing community-education opportunities for the larger Saratoga region.
“The transgender and gender non-conforming communities are a mystery to many people, and the best way to create better understanding is through public educational forums such as Trans Talks II,” said Cindy Swadba, a member of the Trans Talks II planning committee and a volunteer with Saratoga Pride. “The goal of this event is to encourage people to learn more about the issues and challenges of the transgender community; to learn about the language and what the words mean; and to discover how to become an ally.”
Swadba emphasized that allies are greatly needed in the community. “I think we all can be fearful of things we don’t understand, and allies can help bridge that gap and make transgender and other LGBTQI lives richer and safer,” said Swadba. “Saratoga Hospital is one such ally, and I am beyond grateful for the leadership that the hospital has shown to the LGBTQI community, as well as for their support to make Trans Talks II possible.”
Mary Jo LaPosta, Ph.D., RN, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of patient care and organizational excellence at Saratoga Hospital, said, “It’s our pleasure to sponsor such a needed conversation as Trans Talks II. This is more than just about raising awareness. It’s also about creating sensitivity, which we prioritize as an important quality in our hospital culture and in our providers at Saratoga Hospital. We are proud of our commitment to inclusiveness in the healthcare-delivery setting and are happy to do our part to encourage inclusiveness and understanding in the greater Saratoga community.”
Saratoga Hospital has been recognized every year since 2013 by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. The recognition is a result of the HRC Foundations’ Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), an annual survey that encourages equal care for LBGT Americans in healthcare institutions. In line with those findings, Saratoga Hospital provides a healthcare environment committed to quality, compassionate care for all diverse populations. One example is the sensitivity training that is incorporated into new employee orientation and training. Additionally, the hospital provides non-gender-specific restrooms; medical benefits for employee’s life partners; and frequently reviews and updates many other policies to ensure a positive healthcare and employment experience for LGBTQI patients and staff.
“We encourage everyone to attend Trans Talks II,” said David Mastrianni, MD, senior vice president of the Saratoga Hospital Medical Group. “We consistently strive to deliver compassionate care, which is grounded in the ability to build rapport and trust between patients and providers. Learning to understand a patient’s background and needs beyond medicine is a part of that process. We are proud to support Trans Talks II.”
“Saratoga Hospital continues to stand out as an organization committed to educating themselves as to how best to serve the LGBTQI community,” said Trans Talks II planning committee member Trace Ellis. “This is so important because society is opening up; people are curious; they have relatives who are coming out; people are coming out younger and younger; and all of this creates a great need for more community education, support, and work to remove the stigma that sometimes comes along with being transgender.”
Ellis is a volunteer of Pride Unites and he was one of the panelists for the inaugural Trans Talks last year.
“That was a groundbreaking thing in Saratoga,” said Ellis. “We thought 30 or 40 people would show up, but there were about 140 people for that first event. This time we have a bigger venue featuring a speaker with a high level of expertise who can take the conversation to the next level.”
The event will begin with a presentation by guest speaker Acey A. Mercer, LMSW, whose substantive expertise in topic-relevant social work, consulting, clinical training and policy development will be enlightening, followed by a question-and-answer period he will facilitate, then small group discussions as time permits.
Mercer will present on topics such as language and terminology; assumptions and expectations around gender; medical, legal and psycho-social issues experienced by transgender and gender non-conforming individuals; social and medical transition processes available to both youth and older members of the community; and best practices for affirming, responsive service by professionals and organizations.
Ellis believes this event will continue to grow and build positive change and said he is proud that the Saratoga community has shared such an interest in learning about the transgender community. Swadba agrees.
“We are so grateful to our sponsors, Saratoga Hospital and Cathy Masie, and to Saratoga Pride, the planning committee, and everyone who has helped put together an exceptional event this year,” said Swadba. “We are confident of a robust, healthy dialog, so bring a friend and sign up today!”
Pre-registration is encouraged as space is limited for this free public May 1 event at the Excelsior Springs Hotel. Valet parking is provided. For more information and to register, visit www.saratogapride.com or https://www.facebook.com/Saratoga-Pride-558653650848195/.
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About Saratoga Pride:
Saratoga Pride, an affiliate of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, is a welcoming community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in the greater Saratoga Springs area. We invite you to join us for social and informational events and entertainment, and to look to us for LGBTQ resources, networking and advocacy.
Saratoga Pride is a network of LGBTQ community members dedicated to: fostering connections among Saratoga area LGBTQ community members and visitors; enhancing the visibility of the LGBTQ community in Saratoga and the surrounding region; recognizing local businesses and organizations that welcome the LGBTQ community; and increasing awareness of LGBTQ-owned and inclusive businesses and services in the region. Visit us at www.saratogapride.com or https://www.facebook.com/Saratoga-Pride-558653650848195/ and on Twitter at #SaratogaPride.
About Acey Mercer:
Acey A. Mercer, LMSW earned a Master’s in Social Work from the University at Albany School of Social Welfare, after previously pursuing Gender and Sexuality Studies at Radboud Universiteit in the Netherlands. He is currently Practice Manager and Clinician at Choices Counseling and Consulting in Albany, where he works with adults, youth, and their families as they navigate questions and challenges related to gender identity and expression and the social, legal and medical aspects of gender transition. Mercer’s clinical lens is a strong complement to the professional education services he delivers as Senior Consultant of the Training Institute for Gender, Relationships, Identity, and Sexuality (TIGRIS). He also specializes in providing clinical training and policy development as it relates to best serving transgender and nonbinary populations in medical, mental health and educational institutions.
About Saratoga Hospital: Saratoga Hospital is the Saratoga region’s leading healthcare provider and the only acute-care facility in Saratoga County. With a medical staff of more than 450 providers, the hospital offers care in a broad range of medical specialties at more than 20 locations including its Wilton campus and the Saratoga Medical Park at Malta. The Saratoga Hospital Medical Group ensures easy access to services that can have the greatest impact on both individual and community health. In keeping with its emphasis on quality, Saratoga Hospital was the first in the Capital Region to earn Magnet designation for nursing excellence. On Jan. 1, 2017, Saratoga Hospital finalized its affiliation with Albany Medical Center, joining Columbia Memorial Health in creating a regionally integrated, locally governed healthcare system. For more information: www.saratogahospital.org or www.facebook.com/SaratogaHospital.
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