July 6th, 2003

do something today

Homeless Transgender Discrimination

I know I posted about the issue of Homeless Transgender Discrimination here, but after ths week I need to re-vent on the issue...

okay. when I wrote that last post on the subject, I was writing from the perspective of watching transgender people get turned away from the shelters... I was frustrated about it last time... this time I'm overly annoyed with the whole thing.

I spent all Thursday afternoon and evening with a boi I met, trying to help him find a safe place to sleep... He had been staying outside for the past week sleeping on the ground with other trans-youth because no shelter wants them (as I wrote about in my other post). The night before he attempted to stay at another local shelter. They let him in. And he had to stay with the women (his state ID lists him as female). The women totally flipped out and he had to leave. The staff told him to come back after 11pm when everyone was supposed to be asleep. He did.... The other women harassed him all night. But being with women was better than sending him to the mens side.... The men would probably have beat him... then he was forced to leave the shelter at 4am before the other women awoke... He couldn't go back. He ended up coming to my day program that day. but they were no help.... they don't often deal with trans-youth. Most of the homeless kids that go are there for drug related problems...

Him and I went out in search of places that would know of a trans-friendly shelter. I called every shelter for miles (believe me there are many). Mens shelters are dangerous for 'trannyboys'... womens shelters don't want boi's either. I took him to a GLBT bookstore hoping they would know of some resources, I called a local Feminist center who has GLBT resources, we went to a health clinic that offers care to GLBT people and they had no ideas- except a youth hostile. The youth hostle would let him in, but it's over $30/night... he had no money... he ran away from a bad situation in the middle of the night.

I remembered a womens shelter I had stayed at a month ago. It's run by old catholic ladies... you need to be 'referred' by a social worker or a shelter you've been staying at in order to stay for the first time... so yeah. Thank God for cellphones! I called the shelter. They had a bed... It's a womens shelter. My friend gave me a female name to use (the shelter won't ID you- the old ladies are so old, that they trust everyone and wouldn't think of IDing their guests! LOL)! Hehee! I got him a bed! It's in a womens shelter so he has to act like he's a 'buutch' instead. So far, no one has realized that he's trans. They just think he's lesbian. LOL!

so yeah, I got him a place for a few nights... but this shelter is only temporary. Tuesday he will need to find a new shelter... I talked to one of the staff where I'm staying. They said they may let him stay there even though it's women, since he has had no surgery yet. But he has to play the bed lottery. playing the lottery is tough... he could get a bed his first try or he might not get a bed there for weeks.... in the meantime, theres no other shelter or resources for him... he will be back outside- simply because he's trans.

It's not fair.

everybody deserves the right to have a safe place to sleep. Shelters should be open to all- regardless of age, sex, ethnic background, religious beliefs, or disability. This is America. No one should be forced to sleep outside.
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