Engaging An Audience Through Online Communities

Using the Internet to engage online communities through social media is a great way to collect quantitative information about topics, develop new angles, and even find new audiences.

The old Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico before it was demolished. (Photo by K. Charles Moore)

The old TGRCNM before it was demolished. (Photo by K. Charles Moore)

Feedback over the Internet is often times negative but if you give an individual a voice with a guise, the truth can become apparent. Many may say this is quite the contrary and that the Internet is full of dishonesty. People become more honest over the Internet and according to Jeff Hancock dishonesty is in human nature, especially in relationships with others. For instance in this TED Talk, The Future of Lying, Hancock references studies based on online resumes, Facebook personalities, online dating, and compared them with the day-to-day lies of an individual. Hancock states that in much more instances online communication is more honest than face-to-face.

This is why it is important to use the Internet to engage and collect feedback from individuals based upon their knowledge or opinions. Throughout this last week, surveys and stories were conducted on transgender awareness. These stories and surveys were shared on the Internet and gained responses.

The Story Intro of Being Gender from Kevin Charles Moore on Vimeo.

A story with a video to the intro of a documentary was shared along with an article about the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico or TGRCNM. This story received eight shares from the site posted and 23 likes, with one reader expressing excitement for the actual story after viewing the intro clip.

Transgender Awareness Survey - Conducted by K. Charles Moore

Transgender Awareness Survey – Conducted by K. Charles Moore

The next week a post to Reddit along with a survey, that was also posted to Twitter and Facebook, requested users to answer three questions about transgender awareness. The first assumption was to post directly to transgender subReddits but this generated one response, that posting in a transgender subReddit would generate bias responses. This led the post to be created under a subReddit for politics and it gained much more responses. Reponses came from transgender individuals and some who might have been unsure about what being transgender means. One such responder asking, “What are transgender rights?”

Reddit Response to Transgender Awareness

Reddit Response to Transgender Awareness

With the initial posts the target audience was the community directly affected, but without engagement other audiences became the focus. Understanding an audience through engagement helps develop a new angle and answers the question, whom should the story really be affecting? In the case of transgender awareness much of the transgender community is already aware of its struggles, it is the other social communities that are unaware.

A Survey Conducted on Transgender Awareness

Transgender rights are becoming the next step in equality for all; some questions about current issues were polled through many different outlets and the results are a reflection of the current climate.

God is Still Speaking. Albuquerque, NM Pride Parade. (Photo by K. Charles Moore)

God is Still Speaking. Albuquerque, NM Pride Parade. (Photo by K. Charles Moore)

A recent poll, and the one published with this article (poll has been removed but can be found here), has many calling for support and equal rights for the transgender community. In three simple questions polltakers were asked to acknowledge if they are or know anyone who identifies as transgender, if they would support a transgender friend or family member, and if they think equality is important for the transgender community. While the questions are simple, often times the answers are not.

According to a report done by the Williams Institute as of 2011 there was a reported nearly 700,000 people in the United States identifying as transgender, this is about 0.3 percent of the population at the time. Less than 20 percent of individuals taking the poll identified as transgender but 50 percent did know someone who identifies as transgender. Over 90 percent of the responders that took the survey feel that transgender equality needs to be advanced. This left a split of a little over 4 percent each, either not sure what transgender means, or thinks that the transgender community already reached equality, and one even skipped the question.

Continuing these numbers are reflected very similar in the final question about supporting a friend or family member. Over 91 percent would support them unconditionally. While it is split with a little over 4 percent each to not supporting that person, and also being upset and/or confused but ultimately supporting a friend or family member who is transgender.

Education helps promote awareness and this survey also reflects that there is a small percentage unaware of what it is to be transgender. The public and supporters will recognize what can be done in the pursuit of equality with the continued guide and education from the transgender community.

The Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico Continues to Serve the Local Transgender Community

For more than two years the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico or TGRCNM has offered dedicated service for New Mexico’s transgender community, this requires the center to assist, educate, and advocate for the transgender populace to achieve equality.

The Story Intro of Being Gender from Kevin Charles Moore on Vimeo.

At the heart of the TGRCNM is Executive Director Adrien Lawyer, who co-founded the center with Zane Stephens. Lawyer is a transgender man, spouse, and father on the forefront of the equality movement for transgender communities not just in New Mexico, but also all over the United States. Lawyer has been a part of the ACLU’s All Families Matter coalition, known now as Why Marriage Matters New Mexico and sits on the board of directors for Equality New Mexico.

New Mexico has had struggles in the past with understanding transgender rights and listening to the voice expressed by that of the transgender individual. Damian Garcia, a transgender teen that identifies as male, also a senior at St. Pius X High School was denied the right to wear the traditional gowns reserved for males. Garcia was given two options: wear the white gown all graduating females wear, or not participate in the commencement. Lawyer, in providing and acting on equality is also a part of groups that have been suggesting policies to Albuquerque schools in support of transgender rights of students and staff.

Being Gender

Being Gender (Photo by K. Charles Moore)

Before getting a physical location, the center primarily existed online as a support and outreach. This made many things the center has now almost impossible, but since then the center has began to offer much more in the form of a non-profit organization. Some of the services offered are a place to rest, someone to talk with, and a safe place to be your true self. Many transgender individuals do not receive acceptance from family and friends or are afraid to come out due to social stigmas about being transgender. TGRCNM offers acceptance, education, help, and referrals. The center also engages in social events around the communities with many partners and organizations throughout New Mexico to promote equality.

To get involved or to learn more about continuing transgender equality around New Mexico, there are many ways to aid TGRCNM, donations and volunteers are always needed.

Transgender Awareness Gains Momentum With Recent Progress

Transgender awareness is growing with more people who identify as transgender sharing the personal struggles they face, while the Obama Administration announces the lift on the Medicare ban for sex reassignment surgery.

Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico's float at the Albuquerque Pride Parade. (Photo by K. Charles Moore)

TGRCNM’s float at the Albuquerque Pride Parade. (Photo by K. Charles Moore)

Transgender awareness is growing with more people who identify as transgender sharing the personal struggles they face, while the Obama Administration announces the lift on the Medicare ban for sex reassignment surgery.

Transgender awareness is growing with more people who identify as transgender sharing the personal struggles they face, while the Obama Administration announces the lift on the Medicare ban for sex reassignment surgery.

Transgender awareness is growing with more people who identify as transgender sharing the personal struggles they face, while the Obama Administration announces the lift on the Medicare ban for sex reassignment surgery.

Transgender awareness is growing with more people who identify as transgender sharing the personal struggles they face, while the Obama Administration announces the lift on the Medicare ban for sex reassignment surgery.

Transgender awareness is growing with more people who identify as transgender sharing the personal struggles they face, while the Obama Administration announces the lift on the Medicare ban for sex reassignment surgery.

For More than a Century Women Continue to Struggle for Equal Rights

The Women’s Rights Movement and the continuing struggle for women to close the wage gap and combat violent acts such as rape and domestic violence in modern society, through awareness and action.

Modern Social Awareness of the Continuing Women’s Rights Struggle from Kevin Charles Moore on Vimeo.

The first women’s rights gathering happened over a hundred years ago in 1848 and women are still struggling to find equality. Through the Women’s Rights Movement momentum was started and helped achieve basic rights for women. Through this momentum voting rights where established, birth control clinics where opened and sexual harassment became discrimination. Also in 1903 the National Women’s Trade Union League was formed to advocate improved work conditions and better wages for women.

While education and experience often play the biggest part to career advancement, women are often overlooked for promotions or raises. Women’s earnings as a percent of men’s earnings have recently been on the decline for most women under 55 years of age. As you can see from the graph represented by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that outlines the annual averages of women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s from 1979 to 2012. In an article from the White House it states that a woman by the age of 65 will have lost $431,000 over her working life to the earnings gap. Continuing on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2012 the largest percentages of job roles maintained by women are dental hygienists, teachers and secretaries.

Sarah Swanson a New Mexico resident who previously worked for law enforcement in Colorado had this to say about women and job roles. “I believe that women are overcoming set roles in different career fields.”

Continuing Swanson said, “I’ve worked in two heavily male-dominated fields; law enforcement and software. In law enforcement, civilian staff is heavily female, but a high majority of law enforcement officers are male.”

YWCA Online Information Fact Sheet. Click to Enhance. (YWCA Fact Releases and Brochure)

YWCA Online Information Fact Sheet. Click to Enhance. (YWCA Fact Releases and Brochure)

With this background in law enforcement Swanson did say, “One other thing I heard a lot of is that women should protect themselves against rape; don’t wear that, don’t drink too much, and so on. A woman should be completely safe naked and passed out in a bush.”

Additionally Swanson went on to say, “Instead of saying she shouldn’t have done something, how about putting the onus on the perpetrator to not rape? Rape is an act of a criminal.”

While women are still struggling to find equality they are also often the targets of violent acts such as rape and domestic violence. A report release by the White House, Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action reveals that one in five women have been raped in their lifetimes and most victims know their assailants. The study also states that women of all races are targeted but some are more vulnerable such as multicultural women and Native American women being in the highest percentages of targeted sexual assault and rape. In New Mexico alone only 7% of suspects were arrested in rapes involving female victims. This comes from the Sex Crimes in New Mexico analysis of the 2012 data involving interpersonal violence. In most cases where victims know their assailants, repeated assaults could continue due to the low rate of suspect arrests.

Swanson with her background in law enforcement stated that, “I definitely have some experience in cases where women were victimized. From the statistics I’ve seen, women are most vulnerable to domestic violence when they’re pregnant.”

She goes on to add, “I would also say that women are often victimized when they don’t have a lot of options; say, when they have children that are being supported by the perpetrator, or the perpetrator is the victim’s supervisor, being two examples.”

Lastly Swanson stated, “Women generally want the same treatment, respect, and opportunities as anyone else does.”

President Barack Obama and his Administration have been taking action to end sexual assault and rape. As part of the national effort President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on January 22nd, 2014 to help combat sexual assault and rape. This is in the hopes of protecting victims of sexual assault and rape by changing the responses and common social outlook upon these acts so every American can feel safe to pursue their dreams.