Frequently Asked Questions

Home Calendar FAQ Links & Resources Contact Us

- What is the Southern Tier Trans Network (STTN)?

The mission of the Southern Tier Trans Network will be to provide peer support, companionship, advocacy, social connection, education and resources for the trans* community and its allies in the southern tier of New York State.

We have always been and remain an open and inclusive community, welcoming all gender variant people and their significant others, no matter what part of the trans* umbrella they sit under and no matter what their physical age or sexual orientation may be.

We meet in Jamestown, New York, on the first and third Saturday of every month at 2:00 PM.  A place to change clothes is available if needed.  

The Southern Tier Trans Network regrets to announce that regular support meetings and other activities will be suspended for the time being due to health issues. We will still provide one on one peer support when it is requested. Send requests to or you may contact us on our Facebook page.

If you would like to participate, please contact the STTN to arrange a required interview prior to attending your first meeting.  The meeting location will be given at that time. Confidentiality is always strictly enforced.

- What is Peer Support?

“Peer support occurs when people provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help to each other. It commonly refers to an initiative consisting of trained supporters (although it can be provided by peers without training), and can take a number of forms such as peer mentoring, listening, or counseling. Peer support is also used to refer to initiatives where colleagues, members of self-help organizations and others meet, in person or online, as equals to give each other support on a reciprocal basis.” - Wikipedia

While being trans is absolutely not a mental disorder the effects of growing up trans and living in a cisgender centered culture can and often does create issues that manifest themselves as psychological symptoms. Even when such symptoms are not present, a sex/gender transition parallels the characteristics of recovery processes from addiction and mental health problems closely enough to make a trauma informed, person centered and recovery oriented approach an effective way to manage it. The Southern Tier Trans Network support and practice this approach.

- Who runs the Southern Tier Trans Network (STTN)?

The STTN was established and is run by Chautauqua County trans* people who saw a need for peer support in the southwestern New York community and decided to create it for themselves.  We are assisted by the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County who provide us with valuable resources but who do not in any way influence our activities.  We are a unique and independent group and answer to no one but our members.

Helen C. Walther, Certified Peer Specialist, Provisional*, Executive Director

- What is this “transgender” thing anyway?


Follow this link Susan’s Place Transgender Resources WIKI for a comprehensive “Trans 101” along with more detailed information about transgender issues.


- Who is Helen C. Walther and what is a Certified Peer Specialist?

Helen Walther is a trans woman who started her transition in 2005 and began living as her true self in 2007. She lives with her spouse and an orange cat named Jeeter in Jamestown, NY. There were no available resources for trans people in Jamestown when she started her transition so she had to drive to Buffalo to access a support group, her therapist and endocrinologist. Realizing that many trans people in the southern tier were unable to access these distant resources because of time and financial constraints she and two companions took it upon themselves to start this organization in 2011, holding meetings in Helen’s home until other space was made available to them. She has completed her education and training as a New York Certified Peer Specialist and has been awarded a provisional (becomes full fledged after a second year of experience as a peer) certification.

Helen also works for the trans community as the chat room administrator at Susan’s Place Transgender Resources. You can often catch her there in the evenings (EST). The chat is IRC based.

A Peer Specialist is a person who has progressed in their own recovery from a substance use or mental health condition and is willing to self-identify as a peer and work to assist other individuals recovering from similar conditions. Because of their life experience, such persons have expertise that professional training cannot replicate. Nevertheless, specialized training and education can add greatly to a peer specialist’s effectiveness. Training as a peer specialist in New York State is currently provided online by the Academy of Peer Services. Certification is granted by the New York Peer Specialist Certification Board.