December 20, 2014
Dear AIS-DSD Support Group Members and Allies,
Before we celebrate the beginning of a new year and the 20th year anniversary of our organization, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your involvement in all that we’ve accomplished in 2014.
When AIS-DSD Support Group was formed in 1995 (then known as AISSG-USA Support Group for Women and Families), I was recently diagnosed with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome. My parents felt isolated, and I felt scared. I was not told I had CAIS, but by the way my parents were handling the diagnosis, I assumed something was seriously wrong. My parents and I didn’t know about the AIS-DSD Support Group, and I grew up all alone.
In 2008, my world turned around and it felt amazing. I attended my very first AIS-DSD Support Group conference in Chicago, IL, and I was welcomed with open arms into a community that I will forever see as my home. I was also determined, as a young sociology PhD student, to dedicate my professional life to social justice for and from our community.
On January 1, 2014, I began my two year role as President of AIS-DSD Support Group—a privilege I take very seriously and a role I never would have imagined I’d be in when I was first diagnosed.
This past year our organization has grown in unprecedented ways.
- The overwhelming majority of our membership voted to open membership in our organization to any person with an intersex trait/difference of sex development, regardless of gender identity or expression. Our membership clearly wants to make sure that no one has to experience their diagnosis alone, and now our by-laws reflect this commitment.
- As we all know, the AIS-DSD Support Group serves individuals with intersex traits/differences of sex development and their families. Given this, our membership, with overwhelming support, also passed another vote which allows parents to run for any position on the board. Before this monumental vote, parents were able to serve on the board, but not in any of the three officer positions (president, secretary, treasurer).
- This year it became ever so clear that our volunteer board wasn’t able to alone handle all of the obligations and duties to successfully continue to grow our organization. We needed help, and thus membership voted to allow a paid staff to serve the organization. Given budget constraints and considerations for the future of the organization, the 2014 AIS-DSD Support Group Board agreed to hire a part-time paid staff member (a parent from our community who is both experienced and dedicated to our organization).
- We recently also unveiled our redesigned website, which in addition to being more visibly appealing, now offers more information to our current and future members. If you haven’t already, check it out at www.aisdsd.org.
- Last, but certainly not least, we had an extremely successful fundraising year. In 2014, we raised approximately $20,000 from generous donors at the annual conference, sales from 20th anniversary t-shirts, bravelets, and proceeds from the continuing medical education event that preceded our annual conference in San Francisco, among other events and items.
Without each and every one you, our organization would not have had such a successful year!
But our work is not done. We have a lot to do to make sure that no one needs to face their diagnosis alone. Here’s how you can help make 2015 another successful year for our organization:
- Consider volunteering! We have plenty of opportunities. Send me an email with what you’d like to work on. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you up for helping the conference committee? Would you like to write a blog for our website? Would you like to help welcome new members into our organization? We need you!
- Consider printing out our brochure and taking it to your next doctor’s appointment. Better yet, print out a few and encourage your providers to share them with their colleagues. You can access our brochure here: http://aisdsd.org/resources/general/.
- Consider purchasing some AIS-DSD Support Group merchandise. Visit our shop for more information: http://aisdsd.org/shop/.
- Consider making a small monthly contribution to our organization. When I joined our organization’s board, I was surprised to learn that we only had 1 monthly donor (a parent who has been a generous monthly donor for quite some time). I immediately signed up to join him by donating $10.00 a month, and a few others joined me—with some donating $25.00 per month. I know times are financially hard, but perhaps you can join us and sign up to make monthly donations to our organization. $5.00 a month, $10.00 a month, $25.00 a month, or whatever you can afford! You can choose the monthly donation amount, and I promise you every dollar will go a long way. Follow this link to make your monthly donation: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/AISDSDSupportGroup.
From my home to yours, Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year! ! I hope to see you in Cincinnati on July 30th-August 2nd, at our 20th anniversary conference!
Georgiann Davis, PhD
President of AIS-DSD Support Group