Transgender Crisis: How You Can Help

August 7, 2017 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

AN EPIDEMIC OF HATE

In 2015, nineteen transgender people were murdered in the United States. The following year, that number rose to 26, an all-time high. In 2017 there have already been 16 trans people murdered, all of them women of color.

The map below illustrates that these brutal killings occur in every region of the U.S. (23 states + DC). And bear in mind these statistics include only documented murders. Also missing are the countless acts of rape and assault against transgender people.

transgender crisis

Click map to enlarge. Data source: Wikipedia

Yet while the trans community and their allies struggle against unfettered transphobia, those with the most power and influence continue to add fuel to the fire.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

Changing your profile photo or sharing articles on social media are nice gestures, but do very little to aid those being marginalized, erased and killed. Here are some basic (yet productive) actions you can take to help support transgender Americans:

  1. Educate yourself. Whether it’s about these crimes or about trans people in general, the Internet is pretty handy. I’m also glad to help, as are scores of people much more informed than I. Just don’t burden trans people with having to educate you.
  2. Speak up. With your family, friends, neighbors or coworkers, whenever trans people are mocked, misgendered or misunderstood. This is your sphere of influence — use it.
  3. Be an ally. To do the best kind of good you can, give your time, friendship and resources (examples below). Vote. Volunteer. Rally. Expand your circles to include trans people.

REACHING TRANS PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE

Unless you’ve got millions to spare, donating to national organizations can be a tiny drop in an enormous bucket. But by giving directly to smaller charities and individuals, your money is more likely to reach those that need it most.

In an effort to challenge myself to be a better ally, I asked a few friends how I could help them or their immediate community. Below are responses from five trans friends and one parent of a trans child. Whatever the case or the cause, by supporting them you are helping trans people in ways they are asking to be helped.

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transgender crisis

Ruby Corado: Casa Ruby LGBT Community Center

Casa Ruby is a multicultural community center that provides life-saving services for the most vulnerable in the LGBTQ community: transgender, gender queer, and gender non-conforming GLB people. Created and directed by activist Ruby Corado, services include support groups, housing referrals, hot meals, clothing exchange, case management and legal counseling.

DONATE  |  FOLLOW

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transgender crisis

Casey Brown: Camp Aranu’tiq

Camp Aranu’tiq of Harbor Camps is a nonprofit program serving transgender youth and their families. Located in New Hampshire and Southern California, the programs include summer camp for kids age 8-15, family summer camp, and leadership camp for ages 16-18. Also be sure to check out Casey’s amazing parenting blog, Life with Roozle.

DONATE  FOLLOW

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transgender crisis

Emery Grant: Arianna’s Center

“Arianna’s Center is doing important, life-saving work. Founded and run by trans people, the center’s main focus is housing and feeding trans people (particularly trans women of color), helping them to stabilize their lives and gain opportunities.”

DONATE  |  FOLLOW

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transgender crisis

Robbie Samuels: Croissants vs. Bagels

Drawing from his background in social justice and issue advocacy, Robbie now writes and speaks about relationship-building — whether through networking, fundraising, or intercultural communication. Croissants vs. Bagels is this husband and father’s recently published book.

“My book is about inclusive networking; one section addresses how to network with someone who is differently-abled than you and tips to avoid assumptions about gender and sexual orientation.”

BUY THE BOOK  |  FOLLOW

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transgender crisis

Karin (mother of trans son): Trans Lifeline

Trans Lifeline is a nonprofit dedicated to the well-being of transgender people. Their hotline is staffed by trans people, and is there for support, information and crisis counseling.

DONATE  |  FOLLOW

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transgender crisis

Ashlé Blow: Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Since 1979, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have used irreverent drag and sharp wit to reach and support those on the edges of society. They have chapters in 16 states and nine countries.

The Sisters showed me how to serve the community we live in, the entire LGBTQIA community. It’s made me a better activist and showed me that there are still people who care about the forgotten.”

DONATE  |  FOLLOW

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THE BIG PICTURE

Looking at the overall picture can make this all seem insurmountable, unsolvable — which also makes it easier to dismiss. Yet by talking to and supporting individual trans people, the violence and discrimination becomes more personal. It doesn’t make the atrocities any less horrible; if anything, it makes them more so. But it engages our empathy and our humanity, the only things that stand a chance against the inhumane brutality we keep losing our trans family to.

Please don’t limit yourself to this list — it’s merely a staring point. Feel free to post links to other trans-supportive organizations in the comments.

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OTHER RESOURCES
In addition to being worthy recipients of your donations, these organizations are great resources for learning more about the transgender community and where they need the most support.

The Transgender Law Center
National Center for Transgender Equality
Lambda Legal
Family Equality Council

 

All photos courtesy of subjects, except Ruby Corado: by Lexy Swall/GRAIN for NPR

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