Since its beginning in Salina, KS on Aug. 14, 2010, Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project has been an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. We have grown and expanded and our 5th regional conference will be in the books by the time this column is out.
Normally, this would signal the wind-down of the K-STEP year and the beginning of plans for TransKansas 6, which, by the way, is going to be in Wichita.
Things are a little bit different this year for K-STEP - we just hired our first paid employee, Chrissie Noriega as executive assistant working part-time through the end of the year.
Chrissie served as Director of Outreach with SpectrumKU, and Director of Educational Outreach with Queers & Allies. She also was a reporter/producer for KJHK 90.7 radio at the University of Kansas.
We are so excited and Chrissie has hit the ground running, already making a difference for K-STEP. With her joining the K-STEP team, we are sure to have a much greater impact on transgender education in Kansas.
In more, also exciting, K-STEP news, we have been awarded two grants totaling $20,000. Our plan is to expand our efforts in areas including racism, immigration, incarceration, reproductive health care, and diversity of programming and leadership.
The other new programming from K-STEP will be a series of full-day workshops in cities like Emporia, Hutchinson, Iola, Clay Center, Colby, Hays, and more. These will be six different speakers giving presentations on six different topics, and then some time for discussion between the presenters and the audience.
K-STEP wants to make sure that over the next year or two, we have covered Kansas with a network of unity, education, and resources available to all transgender and gender non-conforming Kansans, friends, families, and allies.
We know that knowledge and information are the keys to acceptance and understanding; fear and ignorance are the locks. When one person shares, a key is placed in a lock. When one person listens, the key turns and the lock opens, and another human being gets a bright, new, shiny key. Together, one person at a time, we change the world.
We will be handing out K-STEP Keys across the state. I can’t begin to say how proud I am to work with the dedicated leadership, presenters, and volunteers of this organization. And I am also very proud to have the opportunity to work with our very first employee, Chrissie.
If you would like to know more, please visit the K-STEP website at www.k-step.org or check us out on Facebook. l