Valley group aims to provide resources to transitioning individuals

If you want to transition, are thinking about it, or want to know more about it, where do you start?

One valley group is working on a resource guide to help the transgender community, along with their family and friends.

FOX 10 spoke with two people who are working on the guide, and who made the transition, including a retired Mesa Police Sergeant.

There is a resource guide online that hasn't been updated in years; some of the numbers are out of service, or businesses listed no longer exist.

A group called TransSpectrum is working to gather information on transgender friendly businesses and contacts to update the list.

Both people FOX 10 spoke with are in their 40's, they said when they were younger there weren't a lot of resources or even ways to get information about the transgender community.

They're hoping that the updated guide will help people find what they need, or at least have a starting point.

"A lot of it is outdated so it is really important for us to get good doctors, therapists," said Jesse Nyland.

Nyland is working on updating the TransSpectrum of the Arizona Resource Guide for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals.

"One of the things I'm doing is connecting with doctors, therapists, dentists, pharmacies, and speakers who would like to be on it. We're also seeking employment resources; people open to hiring trans-people, legal resources, information about changing your name, and legal documents," said Nyland.

Nyland said he used the guide when he transitioned to a man in 2012.

"When I came out three years ago I found connections to people on the resource guide, and a support group for therapists," he said.

He and his girlfriend, Stephanie Sherwood are both on the board of TransSpectrum of Arizona. 

"I joined the army, I was in the reserves, I worked for the Mesa Police Department, I was married, had two sons, and now they're adults," said Stephanie Sherwood.

Sherwood said she used the resource guide to find a counselor when she transitioned to a woman while working at the police department.

"The police department accepted it; the chief was very accepting," said Sherwood.

"My work was very accepting, my families have been pretty accepting," said Nyland.

Now wanting to help others, they hope to get the guide updated and out this summer.

"It's nice when you can go and find one place, and find what you're looking for all in one place," he said.

They hope to have a way to review businesses on the list as well. They want to have the list finalized within the next month.

If you have a business that you would like to include on the guide, you can e-mail the group.

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