Creating a welcome environment for the transgender community

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(ABC 6 News) – In Mason City, there’s one group looking to help other Transgender people find a place that they can call home. It’s called Transcend.

"There’s definitely a need for this even if it’s just three or four of us getting together once a month," Strawberry Mendoza, founder of Transcend said.

Transcend started in 2016 when Strawberry Mendoza came out as non-binary Transgender. But, Strawberry was not alone, their parents were there, by their side the whole time.

We had to put Transcend on a halt," Mendoza said.

But unexpectedly, Strawberry’s dad had a stroke, he was one of the original founders of the group. Strawberry took care of him.

"We had a few people asking when was Transcend going to come back," Mendoza said.

So the group restarted in October of 2021. They meet at the First Congregational United Church of Christ once a month. The group has 10 members, and it’s making a difference for them.

"It’s really difficult sometimes to find those friend groups that are super accepting and supportive and to go to those places that you know everybody is going to be friendly and they’re going to understand your story in some kind of way," Mendoza said.

"You know, Strawberry it sounds like your parents were very supportive of you starting this group from the very beginning. How does it feel to know that family support is something you always felt and knowing you can give that back to others?" Devin Martin asked.

"It feels great to know that my family supported me enough to be able to give that love, and give that support to people who may not have it and need it more than anything," Mendoza said.

And this push to make a difference Strawberry says is paying off.

"We are here and we do exist here. It’s important for people to understand that just like everybody else we face those struggles and those obstacles," Mendoza said.

At the church, Transcend has a clothing closet, free for trans people to use to take any clothes they might need to match their gender expression.