“Brochot Haba’im” (‘Welcome’) is an accessibility service of the information about the organization “Maavarim – sustainable change in the trans community.” The service is designed to help the trans community and bridge the gap between that community in Israel and the state institutions and services available to the public.
For months, organization Maavarim has worked on aggregating as much information as possible in order to make this information accessible to everyone who needs it. The organization works regularly with members of the trans community, with rigorous collection of information and data from a variety of the life experiences of each one. “The goal is identifying recurring patterns and difficulties faced by transgenders before, during and after the process of changing sex, gender indecision and anything that we as a center of information can assist or advise about,” says Elisha Alexander, CEO of Maavarim. “Our service ‘Bruchot Haba’im’ gives easy accessibility to the extensive information gathered, so that it is accessible to anyone looking for it.”
In addition, the service provides consulting on a variety of topics (by telephone, through the Internet or in a personal meeting), provides emotional support and assistance to applicants and their families, and serves as an information center to the media, medical staff and other professionals about trans people.
Soon the organization will launch a new and first of its kind website that presents all the information gathered over time as part of the progress to make it even more accessible. Also, during the month of August, the service will undergo a significant upgrade and will start to function in a new and updated format, for which the organization is now recruiting a new set of volunteers.
Or, a volunteer at the service, recalls one of the most special applicants: “I met for a personal conversation with a trans person (FTM) who comes from a conservative family. I remember how moved I was after I saw how a one-hour conversation completely changed the mood of the applicant. He came to me quite depressed and confused, in order to get an explanation about the process of taking hormones and upper-body surgery. Although he said that his environment was generally supportive and accepts him, it was still very difficult for him to obtain information and assistance through the “established channels”. He said that he was ignored by his general practitioner, and was experiencing a closed door every time he tries to explain to medical people that he needs guidance and help. After an hour’s conversation, I felt he was leaving the meeting with all the information he asked for, and with a huge smile on his face. It’s worth it all!”
Why did you volunteer at Maavarim to begin with? What is your connection to the trans community?
“As a cisgender gay man who volunteers for the trans community I’ve been asked this many times before. I remember I really wanted to volunteer in my community, but it was important for me to volunteer where I felt like I was making a real change. When I came to the training seminary, I was really ignorant and my knowledge about the trans community was very small. but I fell in love immediately! I realized how important it is that each of the LGBT community understands the importance of the transgender community’s struggle for visibility, for equal rights and for a supportive and accepting environment. Today, as a veteran volunteer, I feel a tremendous sense of mission and proudly wave the trans flag. The struggle of the LGBT community can’t be a separate struggle of each community sector; we must understand that the transgender struggle is an integral part of our community and that a real LGBT struggle is one which takes into account all the different colors of the flag.”