Feature Friday: Dagan VanDemark of T-FFED: Trans Folx Fighting Eating Disorders
It’s Feature Friday at BALANCE which means celebrating another person in our community making a big difference! With today being June 1st and the beginning of Pride Month, we are thrilled to feature Dagan VanDemark, the Director & Founder of T-FFED: Trans Folx Fighting Eating Disorders!
T-FFED was founded in April of 2014 and is the first grassroots recovery initiative for trans and gender-diverse communities affected by eating disorders. T-FFED is based out of Los Angeles and is a collective of trans/gender diverse folx and allies who believe eating disorders in marginalized communities are social justice issues. Today, their work has reached and changed lives by providing trainings, support and creating awareness on both the prevalence of eating disorders in trans folx and how to best support this community.
Dagan, a genderqueer trans boi, battled bulimia/EDNOS for fifteen years. T-FFED arose after doing their senior thesis research. As a trans/genderqueer person, they had long suspected that their experience struggling with both gender identity and an eating disorder was far from rare. After looking for data and resources on the interplay of body dysphoria and dysmorphia, they were confronted with a lack of information. To assess the gender literacy/trans cultural competency levels of eating disorder providers, VanDemark called different therapists and facilities on behalf of a hypothetical trans woman friend. After being unable to find even one intake professional equipped to handle this information in an appropriate manner, they were inspired to take action.
By finding T-FFED, VanDemark was on a mission to provide accessible, gender-literate community-led healing spaces for trans and gender non-conforming folx, to amplify marginalized voices and experiences, and to develop a standard for trans cultural competency in the ED recovery field. Today, T-FFED works to make visible, interrupt and undermine the disproportionately high incidence of eating disorders in trans and gender-diverse communities through radical community healing and recovery institution reform.
T-FFED works with local trans communities in LA by holding recovery spaces for trans youth like support groups and Healing Intensives; day-long hybrid conference retreats featuring workbooks, toolkit building, support groups, a community meal, and facilitated discussions. To initiate real change in the eating disorder field, T-FFED also offers eating disorder healthcare professionals resources and trainings on the specific needs and obstacles of the community. You can learn more about their professional training options here.
Although the organization is currently on hiatus, we want to applaud Dagan and T-FFED today for their important work and look forward to seeing them back in action soon!
You can learn more or support T-FFED: Trans Folx Fighting Eating Disorders by visiting their website here.