all vulnerable populations become more vulnerable during times like these, trans folks being no exception. if you’re looking for ways to help the trans people in your life (known to you and unknown to you), check out the list below.
1.) send us money. it’s hard out here and we need to pay our bills. send your trans friends money via paypal, venmo, zelle, cashapp — anything that doesn’t require you to come into physical contact with folks not already living with you.
2.) donate to organizations that support us.
- on the transnational scale, you can support trans lifeline, which is a hotline and microgrants non-profit run by and for trans people. trans lifeline is completely open right now because its staff and volunteer crew were already working remortely. they could always use the help and are now dealing with calls about covid-19. you can donate to them here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/trans-lifeline/tl-isn-t-going-anywhere.
- in washington, consider supporting the trans women of color solidarity network. the TWOC solidarity network “upholds the self determination of Two-Spirit, Trans Women and Femmes of color and creates opportunities to exercise collective and community care.” they provide low-barrier grants. you can donate to their gofundme or become a monthly supporter via their patreon.
- in seattle, serving the greater seattle area, ingersoll gender center* and utopia seattle are partnering to create an emergency response fund for trans folks experiencing difficulties during covid-19. donate here: https://ingersollgendercenter.org/transaid/.
*[update 3/16/2021: you might reconsider donations to Ingersoll Gender Center at this time. many current and former staff members have come forward about issues of anti-Blackness, other racism, and abusive behavior perpetrated by leadership at Ingersoll. click here to read and sign on to their letter about the situation.]
all of these organizations directly help trans individuals. if you can’t get your money into trans hands, they can — and will.
3.) check in on trans friends who are stuck in homes with people they aren’t out to or with people who are unaffirming of their identity. hearing or reading your true name and pronouns can be an intensely refreshing and affirming thing, especially when you’re being deadnamed and misgendered. it’s an important reminder that you are both real and valid and that there are people in the world who see you as you. this can be vital, lifesaving.
remember! be sure that you communicate with these folks in a way that’s safe. a phone call can be lovely, but it’s not as discrete as a text. use your best judgement and defer to your friend, who understands their own safety best.
4.) form plans for how to home a trans person whose living situation during this time is/may become unsafe. first, know whether you can provide shelter: do you have a space they could stay? would that be safe for them and for you during this pandemic? it’s okay if the answer is no; it’s important to be honest about your own capacity and about the needs of the other people in your household.
if you can’t house them yourself, work with the person you’re concerned about to know their other potential housing options ahead of time if you can. can you help them with a deposit on their own place? do you need to create a list of trans and non-binary affirming shelters that they can access should they need it? if you can’t create these plans with them for whatever reason, do the research on your own so that you are familiar with the information.
5.) check on trans folks who live alone. it’s a lonely time for many right now and the stress of loneliness can be even greater when you’re already dealing with the stress of cisexism. i’m not going to quote any mental health statistics regarding the trans community here, because they’re tragic and i can’t handle typing the numbers. reach out to your friends. if you need help coming up with ideas about how to connect while socially — which really just means physically — distancing, check out this post.
6.) check in with trans elders about creating an emergency medical plan. according to the national resource center on lgbt aging, the queer community have additional risk factors in facing covid-19. queer folks smoke at higher rates than non-queer folks — a problem when trying to fend off a respiratory disease like covid-19 — and they face additional barriers in accessing healthcare, especially trans folks. members of the queer community are also more likely to be HIV+ (and thus immunocompromised), and with the stigma of being HIV+ somehow still existing, it’s likely that you wouldn’t know that someone you love is HIV+. seniors are also a group at high risk if they contract covid-19. leaving our trans elders out in the cold is not an option.
the national resource center on lgbt aging’s emergency plan guidelines are as follows:
Creating a Plan – Advice from the CDC
The first step in preparing for an emergency is creating a plan. Work with your friends, family, and neighbors to develop a plan that will fit your needs.
Choose a contact person who will check on you during a disaster, and decide how you will communicate with each other (for instance, by telephone, knocking on doors). Consider speaking with your neighbors about developing a check-in system together.
Create a list of contact information for family members and friends. Leave a copy by your phone(s) and include one in your Emergency Supply Kit.
Plan how you will leave and where you will go during an evacuation. If you are living in a retirement or assisted living community, learn what procedures are in place in case of emergencies. Keep a copy of exit routes and meeting places in an easy-to-reach place.
Create a care plan and keep a copy in your Emergency Supply Kit. Try out CDC’s easy-to use care plan templateCdc-pdf.
i don’t want to leave this article without providing some resources for trans folks themselves. i’ve updated my trans resources spreadsheet with a covid-19 tab and will continuously add more resources as i find them. if you know of any resources available to trans folks during this time, please let us know in the comments below!
also, if you’re trans and/or non-binary and feel like i’ve left something off this list of how to help folks right now, please let me know that in the comments, too!
(want to support this project? become a patron at patreon.com/kymagdalene. or toss me money for a thai tea on venmo, @Ky-Magdalene.)