History

Bellingham, The Beginning

The Washington Gender Alliance was founded as the Bellingham Gender Group April 1, 1996 by Barbara Yaple. The Bellingham Open Support Meeting has been held every single week without exception since then, and continues to meet to this day. In June of 2015, we will hold our 1,000th consecutive meeting.

We changed our name to the Washington Gender Alliance in 2001, to reflect our expanded mission to serve the gender community throughout Washington State and we incorporated as a not for profit corporation.

The WGA Grows, First Everett then Shoreline

On the 13th of February 2002, we inaugurated the Everett open support meeting. As with the Bellingham meeting, this takes place each and every week without exception. We will hold our 700th consecutive meeting during the summer of 2015.

The Shoreline group first met on January 7th, 2013. The group was founded by Mary Irons and Paige Butler. It has met at the Center for Human Services building every week since its inception.

Attempts to Begin Other Groups

The WGA always seeks opportunities to welcomes other communities into the organization. We have the organizational structure and a many years of expertise to facilitate the creation and operation of new groups. So, at various times we have engaged in discussions about forming a new group, with varying degrees of success.

For about two years, the organization also included a group in Walla Walla. Its first support meeting was held on December 11th, 2014. The group was founded by Bobbie Stith. On May 31st, 2017 this group withdrew from the WGA, citing distance and "cultural differences" as the main reasons.