As noted on the home page, Pathways started as the New York Metropolitan Area chapter of TriEss.
The Beginning: A Brief History of Chi Delta Mu
Carol Beecroft, the TriEss National Leader, met with some 20 sisters who were interested in forming a group on a steamy Sunday afternoon in New Jersey on August 30, 1981. A lot of talk developed, the central issue being, was the group to be an “Open” one, (admitting all crossdressers-heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, etc.), or a “Closed” one, (limiting membership to those who were heterosexual only). The outcome was the formation of two groups, one affiliated with the GGA, an “Open” group, and Chi Delta Mu, the metropolitan area Tri-Ess Chapter which was, of course, a “Closed” group, (and the only such group in this area).
The first officers were Patricia Gallagher and Mary Jane Moran, as co-leaders. May 1983 saw the formation of GALS (Geographic Area LeaderS). They took the place of regular Officers, and handled chapter matters in their respective areas. November, 1983 heralded in the first regular officers of Chi Delta Mu. They were President – Patricia, Vice-President – Karen, Secretary – Mary Jane, and Treasurer – Lynda.
January 30, 1982, saw the first regular meeting at a member’s house with 5 members present, and 14 on the membership rolls. In June, 1982, meeting dates were standardized to the 2nd Saturday of each month. For many years the meetings rotated between Westchester, NY and Northern New Jersey. The meetings finally settled in a Howard Johnson’s in North Jersey where they stayed until the 1995 season when it moved because of price. The meeting site moved again in 1996, but is still centered in North Jersey. July, 1983 saw the decision to eliminate the July and August meetings because of lack of participation due to the weather and vacations. By January of 1984 we had 56 members.
The first “Out-Reach” was an ad in the personals section of the Feb.22, 1982 issue of the Village Voice Newspaper in New York City. On Oct. 20, 1982 several sisters were to be on the Dr. Judith Kuriansky, PhD show with the topic of Heterosexual Crossdressing. But WABC-AM Radio canceled the show for several weeks because of a ratings period which they thought the subject was too controversial for. The show was rescheduled for Dec. 17th and the station personnel told us that it was one of the most popular shows that they have aired. Few crossdressers called in, but many others did. We were also on Television with Dr. Kuriansky on Nov.29, 1982, on CBS-TV.
On May 14, 1983 a reporter from the Record, North Jersey’s leading newspaper, came to the meeting to interview and take pictures of the members. The article appeared in the paper on June 14th.
We were again featured on television , three times, in the week of August 15th with a spot on “Nine on New Jersey”. The spot was aired again in November and December. An ad in the Village Voice asked for crossdressers who were interested in doing a national television show, “contact Dave”. Contact was made and Dave turned out to be David Susskind! They were very interested in doing a show on us. The show taped on March 24, 1984 and aired on May 13th. Member Eileen and her wife were on the program. She says, “Mr. Susskind informed the participants before the taping began that he has ‘been around the world’ and ‘seen everything’. After the taping session, he told everyone that he was ‘flabbergasted’ , he never knew what crossdressing was all about.” Eileen must have “blew his mind” when she told Mr. Susskind that she and Priscilla had been shopping in Bloomies, dressed, just prior to the show. The Susskind show aired again on October 7th.
The First Annual CDM Prom was held on June 11, 1983. And on May 31st, June 1st & 2nd, 1985, the chapter booked a Pocono resort for the Memorial Day Weekend, with swimming, tennis and great food. In November of 1994 we hosted the “Holiday En Femme”, Tri-Ess’s National Convention, at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City.
In November of 2002 Chi Delta Mu once again hosted “Holiday En Femme”. We had many girls from all over the country attend. Some of the events included: a fashion show, shopping trips to local stores, seminars, Broadway shows, eating out at the “StoneWall Bistro” in downtown Manhattan, and much more that New York has to offer!
A New Chapter – Pathways, a transgender support group
As the needs of our members have evolved, we recognized that the world is a different place than it was in 1981. The acceptance of gender-variant people has made enormous strides. As a result of these and other changes, CDM’s membership had evolved as well. More than half of our members were not members of the National TriEss organization.
In June, 2009, we received a letter from TriEss informing us that we were far out of compliance with TriEss policy and regulations regarding local chapters. A vote was taken among all current dues paying members to decide to either come into compliance, or leave TriEss. The vote was nearly unanimous to leave TriEss.
On September 12, 2009 Chi Delta Mu was renamed Tristate Transgender Support Group at the first meeting of the season. We also held elections for officers, and Laura Sheehan was elected President, Margaret Gundling was elected Vice President, Diana Collins was elected Secretary and Sharla DeLawter carried on as Treasurer. In April, we adopted the name Pathways.
As we move into the new decade with our own, independant identity, we look forward to expanding our membership and now have an open membership policy.
As an open group, we continue to give support to crossdressers in the New York metropolitan area, but now welcome anyone that identifies as Transgender, regardless of birth gender, sexual orientation or identity. As we continue to grow, look for many new and exciting events in the coming years! Help us to continue our history. Please consider joining us.
Our group has seen many faces over the past 29 years. Some have stayed with us a long time, sadly, others we have lost touch with. Whether you are an old member thinking of visiting us once again, or if you are out there confused about your feelings toward gender, please consider contacting us, this is definitely the year to do so. Come help us celebrate 29 years with us all year long! You’ll be glad you did.
Compiled by Mary Jane (1985), Barbra Anne Taylor (1998), Linda Mills (2006) and Diana Collins (2010)