My colleague and friend Meike Watzlawik is a doctor of psychology who specializes in GLBT issues. We met in the late 1990s, when I was a youth peer leader at Tobacco Education for GLBT Youth (TEGLY) and she was an intern for that and the affiliated youth health education programs ELITE (tobacco ed for East Boston students and other youth) and Healthy Strong & Proud (sex ed for GLBT youth). A native of Germany, she lives there and travels; I see her maybe once a year when she visits the States.
Last Summer, she came to live in Worcester and work and study at Clark University for a year contract. It’s been good to have her in the same state! She and the other ‘internationals’ live in the same apartment building (a former corset factory – I love corsets!) and have been getting together as a varying group one night a week to eat, share their work and lives, and socialize. They call themselves the Woop Woop Society or Woop Woopers, after the Australian wine they drank at their first gathering. During most of their weekly gatherings they watch a movie recommended by one of their members, then discuss it.
At Meike’s suggestion, the Woop Woopers invited me to be their guest speaker to help them discuss transgender issues. Tonight was the night – despite the snowstorm, I traveled to and from Worcester and the experience was well worth the trip. I gave a brief talk, showed the film “Toilet Training” (the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Tara Mateik’s documentary about transgendered people and others and their restroom and other issues), and led a question and answer and discussion session. Six of the Woop Woopers attended, from Brazil, Germany, Portugal, and Spain. We were also joined by their professor, from Estonia. Everyone asked excellent questions and contributed to the discussion – I especially appreciated their sharing their experiences of GLBT people and issues in their home countries.
Thank you for having me, Meike and fellow WWs! And thank you Keshet for loaning me your DVD.
Meike has another contract, and we hope to work together again – perhaps by co-teaching one of the sessions of a class she hopes to teach.