Friendly ear for isolated group – By Danielle Furfaro, Staff writer

Activist works to bring transgendered struggles to the public’s attention

The calls that come into Susan Poe’s transgender help line vary from those complaining about landlords who refuse to rent them apartments to people in fear of being ridiculed when they go out to those who just want to talk.

“A lot of people just want to know where they can find someone else like them,” said Poe, who runs the Transgender Service Center out of her Albany apartment. “A lot of transgendered people feel like they are totally alone.”

For the past few months, Poe, a transsexual who been involved in transgender activism for decades, has been trying to organize the community through her new help line and service center, as well as a new monthly civil rights series to begin Feb. 9 at the Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Center.

The term “transgendered” describes anyone whose personal identification or tendencies differ from his or her biological sex. That ranges from people who have had surgery and taken hormones to change their bodies to weekend cross-dressers and drag queens or kings to those who simply think of themselves differently than the world sees them.