11 Organizations To Support On Trans Day Of Visibility 2018
As a transgender person, I look forward to Mar. 31 each year. Mar. 31 is the International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), and that often means my trans friends spend the day being out and proud on social media, participating in TDOV events around the country, and, of course, pushing that good old #transagenda — aka, letting people know we're entitled to basic respect and decency. Whether you're trans or an ally, there's plenty you can do to show your solidarity with the trans community, and that includes supporting organizations that work on behalf of transgender people on Trans Day of Visibility — and, of course, the other 364 days of the year.
It's not an exaggeration to say trans people face countless daily challenges. From the constant struggle of just trying to pee in peace to obtaining quality trans-inclusive healthcare, enlisting in the military, and dealing with customer service representatives who put us through extra-rigorous verification procedures because they think our voices don't match our legal names. On Trans Day of Visibility, we celebrate trans activists and one another, but we also call attention to these daily struggles.
And one way to help alleviate these struggles is to be sure organizations dedicated to supporting trans people continue to run full speed ahead. This roundup features organizations with a broad range of programs for a large number of people, small organizations with niche specializations, and organizations somewhere in between, but this is guaranteed: They're all doing the grinding, everyday work of supporting trans people and helping us overcome the societal and legal barriers we face.
1. Trans Lifeline
Trans Lifeline is the only hotline in North America staffed entirely by trans folks, and that makes it a must-have resource for trans people. There are few things more difficult than calling a hotline for help, only to be confronted with someone who may not even understand what being transgender means, or, in worst case scenarios, with someone actively malicious toward us. Trans Lifeline operates 18 hours a day, and is pushing to be operational 24 hours per day. It has a monthly fundraising goal of $50,000, and currently has raised only about $25,000 of that goal for March. You can donate here.
2. Native Youth Sexual Health Network
The Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN) is led by Native folks age 30 and under, and it works with indigenous youth councils to broadly support Native youth, particularly when it comes to sexual and reproductive health.
NYSHN also runs the Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQQIA Mentors, Elders, and Grandparents Support Circle, which is operated as "an effort to increase access to identity-affirming culture and support" for not only trans Native youth, but Native youth across the LGBTQ spectrum, according to the organization's website. You can donate here.
3. Point of Pride
Point of Pride provides a service that frankly, had I known about it, would have made my late teen years leagues better. Through a partnership with binder company gc2b, Point of Pride provides new and gently used binders to people in need, free of charge. Any trans person who can't afford a binder (which generally run between $50 and $100) or can't safely obtain one is welcome to apply to receive one.
Of course, that means Point of Pride needs regular funding to be able to add to its more than 2,500 binders donated so far. You can chip in here by donating money, or by donating one of your own gently used binders.
4. Trans Women of Color Collective
Trans women of color are some of the most vulnerable members of the trans community. They're disproportionately affected by anti-trans violence, and on top of that have to deal with systemic racism and transmisogyny. The Trans Women of Color Collective is led by trans women of color and works to "create opportunities to engage in healing and restorative justice," the collective says on its website.
Staff behind the collective seek justice by working to ensure trans women of color have access to health resources, by offering resources for advocacy and leadership development, and by running a visibility campaign. "By focusing our efforts on building capacity in these key areas, we aim to create opportunities for our communities to thrive unapologetically in their truths." You can donate here.
5. Trans Employment Program
It's no secret trans people are still fighting for our workplace rights. The Trans Employment Program at the SF LGBT Center in San Francisco works to "increase trans visibility in the workplace and inspire employers to create a diverse and inclusive workforce," according to the program's website. Currently folks behind the program are running a #HireTrans campaign, and are inviting any workplaces open to hiring trans folks to contact them with job openings. You can support their efforts here.
6. Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund works broadly to end discrimination for trans folks, "particularly those in our most vulnerable communities," by helping with litigation of "pathbreaking" trans rights cases around "key issues of employment, health care, education, and public accommodations," according to the fund's website. Folks working at the organization offer vital resources like the Name Change Project, which "provides free legal name change services to community members through partnerships with some of nation's premier law firms and corporate law departments." You can donate here.
7. Trans Student Educational Resources
Trans Student Educational Resources is a youth-led organization that works to "[transform] the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment," as the organization's website states. It provides support to trans students who are struggling with restrictive school policies, and also engages in educational efforts of its own, teaching young trans activists how to organize and lead. "Ending oppression is a long-term process that can only be achieved through collaborative action," the organization says on its website. To join that collaborative action, you can donate here.
SPART*A is an organization for LGBTQ people who are currently serving or who have served in the military. Considering the way our current administration has treated transgender servicemembers, supportive groups like SPART*A are invaluable. The organization's mission is "to advocate for our actively serving transgender military members, veterans, and their families," and it does so by coordinating with other LGBTQ organizations to "promote an inclusive military environment that values the contributions of all Americans with the desire to serve," according to the organization's website. You can support them here.
9. The Sylvia Rivera Law Project
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project provides free legal consulting to transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming folks in need, and works to "improve access to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services for our communities." The project operates with a core belief that gender "is inextricably intertwined with racial, social and economic justice," according to its website. "We believe that in order to create meaningful political participation and leadership, we must have access to basic means of survival and safety from violence," the project says on its site. You can donate here.
This one is a bit different, since #transcrowdfund isn't an organization — but it's still a necessary supportive resource for trans folks. #transcrowdfund is a Twitter hashtag where trans people in need can tweet about needing help with funds for things like emergency rent, medical transition, and other everyday needs. If you're looking to give money directly to trans folks who need it right now, #transcrowdfund is an excellent way to do just that.
11. Local Shelters
Last but certainly not least, you can help trans folks in your area, or in areas you know are in need, by searching for local trans-exclusive or trans-accepting homeless and domestic violence shelters. Homelessness and domestic violence massively affect trans people, and we often face discrimination when we seek resources to help alleviate the strain. Donating to local shelters means getting directly involved in helping us obtain safe and affirming resources.
While you can support all of these organizations by donating your money, don't forget you can also donate your time and talents, too. And above all, on this day of trans visibility, make sure you're boosting our voices. Make sure you're listening. And make sure you carry that forward into tomorrow and the next day, and the next, and the next.