The Transgender Visibility & Education Network (TVEN) finds its origins at the end of a conversation with a friend. In April of 2015, our founder, Sarah Fordyce, was having a text messaging conversation with her oldest friend in the world who had just accepted a new position as the head nurse at her local area prison. Knowing that a large number of transgender individuals find themselves passing through jails and prisons around the world, Sarah offered to put together a packet of information for her that might help in the completion of her medical duties. After finishing the conversation Sarah thought to herself: “Why should I put together this information only for this one person, when I can offer that same information to everyone?”
With more than twenty years of researching transgender related issues and topics under her belt, Sarah set out on a quest to develop an information network that could serve as a one-stop-shop for all things transgender. As she began looking for initial resources to include in this master plan, she quickly realized that the internet is littered with sites and resources of all kinds about transgender issues, topics, and individuals.With all of the resources anyone could ever need already on the internet, TVEN almost floundered before it ever even got started. But Sarah was unwilling to let her idea fail.
Failure was not an option!
Sarah continued tracking down leads for good resources and information that people might be interested in learning more about. Within a week she already had a pretty hefty amount of links to offer, but nowhere to offer them from. Then it dawned on her. “What about Facebook?”
From this the Transgender Visibility & Education Network (TVEN) was born.
What is TVEN?
TVEN started out in April of 2015 as a Facebook initiative with the sole purpose of collecting and sharing links to useable and reliable educational and visibility resources on the internet. As our founder intended, TVEN acts as a clearinghouse offering links to articles, educational materials, and visibility resources from around the world which relates to any of the sub-categories that are classified under the transgender umbrella term (e.g., transgender, cross-dresser, drag queen, two-spirit, etc.).
In October of 2016, this website, TransgenderVEN.org, was developed to further the goals of TVEN and Sarah Fordyce. The website operates primarily in the same way that the Facebook page operates in that it is a clearinghouse for information relating to all things transgender. Going beyond the basic operating structure of Facebook, TransgenderVEN.org groups these resources into three primary categories of viewers.
- The transgender individuals themselves.
- Family, Friends, and Allies.
- Legal, Medical, and Business professionals and organizations.
The separation into categories allows visitors to the site to more readily find the information they are looking for, but allows them to investigate additional resources from the other categories at their leisure. Aside from the offering of links found on the internet, TVEN will also offer periodic blog posts from our staff and guest writers about topics and issues within the transgender arena. These blog posts may include, among others, personal stories of transition, or non-transition, as the case may be; public bathroom woes; legal victories and failures; medical triumphs and catastrophes; as well as experiences with suicide, incarceration, and depression and other mental health issues. In addition, the website will also offer the visitor the option of signing up (opting in) to receive a monthly email newsletter titled “From the Founder” which will be a way for Sarah to welcome new visitors and say hello to repeat visitors, discuss upcoming plans for TVEN, and discuss transgender related stories and personalities in the news.
About the Founder:
Sarah Jordyn Fordyce is a transgender woman who has dedicated her life to offering education and visibility about transgender peoples and issues. Despite having lived through many horrendous situations (attempted murder, suicide attempt, bullying, abuse, rape, and others) directly related to her being transgender, she would rather be completely open and honest about who she is as a transgender woman so that others won’t have to struggle through the same nightmares.
Assigned male at birth (AMAB), Sarah discovered at the age of 11 that she was definitely very different from all of the other boys in at her school. She found that while the other boys were having fun with sports and other rough and tough activities, she favored more peaceful pursuits…..and playing dress up, of course. But life for her wasn’t all dresses and makeup. She had a secret, but the world she knew growing up in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s was not ready for her to share it.
After so many nightmares at such a young age (attempted murder, suicide attempt, and intense bullying), Sarah forced herself so deep into the proverbial closet that she found herself locked in there for 30 years. For the first 20 years of her adult life she rarely let herself out of the closet. But during that time she spent countless hours researching transgender hormones and surgeries and fashion and behaviors. She did not, however, limit herself to researching just female-to-male transgender topics. She quickly discovered a love of research regarding all things transgender (umbrella version of the term). Being still too afraid to save any of the documents or write anything down, she committed as much of the information to memory as she possibly could. She had a feeling that she would need it someday.
Aside from the copious amounts of research, Sarah did take small moments whenever she could to dress in clothing that was stereotypically more appropriate for her gender, versus the male drag she was forced to wear every single day. But it wasn’t until she was forcibly separated from the U.S. Air Force in 2009 as part of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy for being transgender (which has since been repealed) that she finally decided that hiding her transgender self was more damaging than the struggle of actually being transgender. Even after making that decision it was still 5 more years before she could bring herself to actually do anything about it publicly.
After graduating from Solano Community College (Fairfield, CA) in 2014 and transferring to UC Davis (Davis, CA), where she graduated from with a BA in English in June of 2016, Sarah finally made the ultimate decision. She decided that her life wasn’t getting any shorter and that her life could only get better if she finally unlocked that closet she had forcibly trapped herself in for nearly 30 years. Scared and alone, she ventured into the world, leaving her old self behind. She embraced her emerging self and declared to the world that Sarah Jordyn Fordyce is here and she is never going away ever again. With the help of numerous friends, some of whom (42 to be exact) became the only family she could rely on and they loved her and supported her and gave her the passion for continuing on. In her blog posts and newsletter you will here her talk about her family a lot and it is these 42 sisters, brothers, and fam (fam is her way relating a siblinghood title to those in her family who cannot be otherwise labeled sister or brother because of their beautiful and unique gender identities) who are her daily inspiration and are her source of never-ending emotional strength.
Between 2014 and 2016 Sarah began her transition into the woman she had always been. She started spironolactone and estrogen in October 2014. In November of 2015 she had her name and gender legal changed. And in May of 2016 she underwent surgery to achieve the first of her two life long surgery dreams and goals; she had breast augmentation surgery. Since 2014 she has dedicated herself to being completely open about herself in relation to being transgender. She is truly one of the rare transgender individuals who honestly welcomes all questions about transgender topics in general and even specifically about herself. If you have any question for her that you can’t find an answer to on this website, she invites you to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can use the form on the Contact page.
Outside of the Transgender Visibility & Education Network, Sarah works full-time as a Marketing Coordinator for a small veterinary / animal behavior single-author publishing company. She serves on the Board of Director for a newly initiated non-profit homeless shelter in San Francisco, CA, called Joan’s House, whose primary clients are homeless transgender individuals and women. She lives with her cisgender girlfriend and hopes for marriage someday. She is a blossoming novelist, short story writer, and published poet. She absolutely loves doing calligraphy (the art of beautiful writing) and every piece she does she gives away (not sells). She is also working on building her finger and arm strength as a novice rock climber. But most of all, she loves spending time with her girlfriend, family, and friends; without whom the Transgender Visibility & Education Network may never have come into existence.