Monday, April 22, 2019

I Got Your Back

One of the greatest “At Risk” populations are trans children when they come out to their parents, many of us end up out on the street. Well out in San Francisco they are doing something about it.
A safe space
The nation’s first transitional housing shelter for transgender youths opens in SF, filling an urgent need
San Francisco Chronicle
By Kevin Fagan
April 21, 2019

Kat Blackburn was a decade into the beatings, rejections and hate that rain down upon transgender youths like herself when she walked into a San Francisco church last year to rest her feet. She was homeless. Churches are supposed to be refuges. This one wasn’t.

“They were talking about the LGBT community, and it just got worse as I sat there,” she said. “When they said they viewed us as being possessed by demons, I just went cold. I had to leave. It made me feel, like always, that there’s no safe space for us.”

Now she’s found a place where she doesn’t have to feel that way.

In a nondescript house tucked into a corner of Haight-Ashbury, 21-year-old Blackburn and four other young people are making history. They are residents of the nation’s first long-term transitional living program specifically for transgender homeless young people. It offers them a safe haven from bullying and abuse that they might not find anywhere else.
San Francisco and other cities have had housing or shelter programs for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths for more than a decade. But as one of society’s most marginalized minorities, trans youths have particular needs that those who work with the homeless have wanted urgently to fill.
We are a minority within a minority.
“Unlike their peers in the rest of the LGBTQ community, transgender youths have more medical needs, and they have a whole added extra layer of trauma,” said Christopher Rodriguez, program manager for the trans house. “Many need hormone therapy, surgeries, preparation for surgeries.

“They’re outed more easily than others — a gay man can pass as not gay if he wants to, but generally not someone who’s trans. So they get more attention, and not the good kind. And more violence. That takes a lot of careful work to heal.”
It takes large cities to have a program like this; the population of the Bay Area is more than the population of Connecticut. Some trans youth end up here in Connecticut and DCF is hard-pressed to find foster homes for them, many of the trans youth end up living on the street.

Here in Connecticut trans youth and other LGBTQ+ can find some help at True Colors which works with DCF to cover our backs.

I am heading home after a weekend away. I did a lot of traveling over the long weekend. First to the Cape, then to Maine to be with my brother and sister-in-law for Easter, and then I stopped at a friends' place in Haverhill. All totaled about 600 miles and ten hours driving time/

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