Camp Rehoboth and PFLAG Form Transgender Youth Support Group - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

CAMP Rehoboth and PFLAG Form Transgender Youth Support GroupAMP

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Camp Rehoboth, an LGBT non-proft (Photo: WBOC) Camp Rehoboth, an LGBT non-proft (Photo: WBOC)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- CAMP Rehoboth, an LGBT non-profit in Rehoboth Beach, hosted a support group meeting Tuesday night to bring parents and allies together to discuss the needs and concerns of transgender and gender fluid children.

The meeting was held in conjunction with PFLAG, or "Parents, Families, Friends and Allies United with LGBT."

More than 25 people attended the meeting to share information about the social, emotional and physical challenges a youth goes through while questioning their gender identity.

Marc Messner, 26, of Rehoboth Beach, was born female, but knew as a child that he was different.

"I always knew I was fairly certain of who I was once I realized I could transition from female to male" he said. "Nobody ever mentioned it, it wasn't talked about."

After years of therapy, including reparative and conversion sessions, Messner finally started taking hormones and had surgery to officially become a man, even amidst fear of how society will treat him.

"So this is the one thing I've done for me, instead of for everybody else," he explained. "You lose a lot of support absolutely, you lose a lot of people but you also have a lot more to gain from it."

Sal Seeley, who is the health and wellness coordinator at CAMP Rehoboth, said the meeting is creating a positive environment to bring people together.

"The biggest thing we want to make sure is parents know that they're not alone," he said. "The issues that you have to deal with with school or other friends or other institutions it becomes overwhelming, so it's important that we get folks together on the same page so they feel as though they're supported so it's not overwhelming."

For Messner, support is the key word.

"It's interesting to see the difference, [because] 10 to 15 years ago, there was none," he added. "Even a couple years ago it was fine if I was going to come out and be gay, everyone would support that but trans-specifically you'd see where your true friends are and especially with the youth and stuff things are changing and acceptance is there."

The group plans to meet again next month as well as create a resource network for others facing similar challenges.



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