One of our speakers this year was local transgender activist Kelly Metzgar (seen here with LP Club President Elect Martha Spear), who discussed the health care needs of transgender people.
Each week the Lake Placid Rotary Club hosts a speaker from our extended community.  In the past year, speakers have included a diverse range including Dr. Nina Schoch from Biodiversity Research Institute’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, Susan Mack from BT3 (Birth to Three Alliance), Thomas “Brody” Broderick of Northwood School regarding “Northwood on Main”, Dmitry Feld, Board President, and Jason Hooker, Executive Director, Shipman Youth Center, and Corey Hurwitch, manager of the Adirondack Regional Airport. 
One of our speakers this year was local transgender activist Kelly Metzgar, who discussed the health care needs of transgender people.  This month Rotary decided to lend our column space to Kelly so that she could get her message out.  Here is what Kelly wrote.
Throughout most of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer (LGBTQ) history in our state, the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Communities have been largely left out and ignored.  During the first half of this year a group of activists and advocates hosted Transgender Town Hall gatherings across the state to learn the needs, concerns, hopes and vision of the Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming communities in the cities we visited. Such an event was held in Plattsburgh in June 2016. This list of needs gathered from communities all across this state is extensive ranging from better medical and mental health care, better anti-discrimination practices and better protections on the job and in our schools, better community awareness and education and many more.
Here in the Tri-Lakes needed resources and professional providers are even scarcer. Thanks to the efforts of Adirondack Health, the Adirondack North Country now has a medical provider trained in transgender health care. Adirondack Health remains a leader in this area offering their staff cultural awareness and sensitivity trainings. This puts them far ahead of similar medical facilities in our state.
Qualified mental health care providers trained in Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming issues still remains an issue in the North Country. Many providers remain unfamiliar with the special needs and issues our community faces. Many providers have never counseled a Transgender or Gender Non-Conforming client.
Many urban areas around NYS provide resources and host LGBTQ Pride Centers. Such resources and centers are scarce or non-existent in the Tri-Lakes communities.
In recent months, some Adirondack North Country organizations are realizing these services are needed, yet coordination of efforts remains an issue.
Newly formed this year, the Adirondack North Country Gender Alliance seeks to create and coordinate needed programs and services. Among its stated mission goals are to:
  • Create a safe space and environment for LGBTQI* youth, adults, family members and allies to meet and enjoying being themselves.
  • Provide needed support services pertaining to personal LGBTQI issues or outside referrals to other agencies for support services.
  • Provide outreach, education and advocacy on issues affecting the LGBTQI community.
Adirondack North Country Gender Alliance also seeks to create a Tri-Lakes parent LGBTQI support group.
Through its advocacy and education arm, Adirondack North Country Gender Advocacy and Education, seeks to provide area schools, business and civic organizations education and trainings programs pertaining to Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming issues as well as work on the state level for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming rights including the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).
For more information on Adirondack North Country Gender Alliance visit their Facebook page or email:
* “Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.
The Rotary Club of Lake Placid meets every Thursday morning for breakfast at 7:20 a.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott.  All are welcome.