What has it been like to be a trans person living in Trump’s America? And what will his legacy mean for the trans community even after he leaves office? In “Trans in Trumpland,” Trans filmmaker Tony Zosherafatain traveled to four staunchly red states—Mississippi, Idaho, and battleground states Texas and North Carolina—to see how legislation under the Trump era affects the trans community on a daily basis. There he meets a group of individuals, including a trans woman who is also a Mexican immigrant and a Native American Two-Spirit and former Army veteran, who are each fighting in their own ways—for equal rights, for protection, and for their lives.
The states that Zosherafatain visits have passed laws that not only fail to protect transgender Americans, but deliberately hurt them, from prohibiting the usage of bathrooms that align with gender identity to allowing businesses to deny LGBTQIA+ people services based on their religious beliefs. This harmful legislation has had and continues to have real impact on the lives of the trans community, not just in these four states, but across the country.
Luckily, there are dozens of organizations that exist, all with the common mission of supporting and protecting the trans community. If you are a transgender person living in America, you deserve to be protected, and even more importantly, you are not alone. Below is a non-definitive list of crucial resources that every trans person should know about.
And be sure to watch “Trans in Trumpland” on Topic.
These organizations offer various advocacy programs and initiatives that fight for transgender rights. Some mobilize on behalf of the trans community, some provide legislative, strategic, and financial assistance to other organizations, and all of them create safe communities for trans Americans.
The National Center For Transgender Equality - Advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people.
Gender Proud - Leverages media to elevate justice and equality for the transgender community.
National LGBTQ Task Force - A leader in addressing the needs of the trans community through the expansion of rights in the legislative and policy arenas.
Transgender Freedom Project - National, centralized public education campaign to build public support for transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination protections.
GLAAD Transgender Media Project - Works with the media to fairly and accurately tell the stories of transgender lives.
The Audre Lorde Project - A center for community organizing for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, Two-Spirit, trans, and gender-nonconforming people of color community in the New York City area.
Trans Justice Funding Project - A community-led funding initiative founded in 2012 to support grassroots, trans justice groups run by and for trans people in the United States, including US territories.
CK Life - Aims to provide transgender people with the tools they need to achieve their goals while enjoying a sense of community and kinship.
The rate of suicide attempts among the transgender population, especially trans youth, is alarmingly high. A 2018 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that more than half of transgender male teens who participated in the survey have attempted suicide in their lifetime. It’s absolutely critical that the trans community have people to talk to who can listen and offer support without judgment. The following hotlines provide trained crisis counselors who are just a phone call away.
The Trevor Project - The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
Trans Lifeline - A grassroots hotline and microgrants 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis—for the trans community, by the trans community.
LGBT National Help Center - Provides vital peer support, community connections, and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Thrive Lifeline - A trans-led and -operated crisis text line staffed by certified suicide interventionists working in the STEMM fields from marginalized communities.
LGBT National Youth Talkline - The LGBT National Help Center’s youth line providing a safe space that is anonymous and confidential, where young callers can speak on many different issues and concerns including, but not limited to, coming out issues, gender and/or sexuality identities, relationship concerns, bullying, isolation, anxiety at school, family issues, HIV/AIDS concerns, safer sex information, suicide, and much more.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - A national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Through public education, impact litigation, public policy efforts, and direct legal services, these organizations work tirelessly to help protect transgender individuals and to challenge existing legal systems so they can better serve the trans community.
ACLU - The civil liberties group champions transgender people by fighting discrimination in employment, housing, and public places, helping trans people get access to health care, fighting to protect the rights and safety of transgender people in prison, jail, and detention facilities, helping to protect trans and gender-nonconforming students in school, and working to secure the rights of transgender parents.
Transgender Law Center - Largest national trans-led organization advocating for transgender rights, using legal expertise and a variety of community-driven strategies.
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund - Committed to ending discrimination based upon gender identity and expression and to achieving equality for transgender people through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services, and public policy efforts.
Sylvia Rivera Law Project - Works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence.
Resources For BIPOC
Among the trans population, BIPOC trans individuals face some of the highest levels of discrimination. These organizations recognize the pressing need to address the inequities faced in the BIPOC trans community through advocacy work and providing services like outreach, leadership development, and legal assistance.
Trans People of Color Coalition - Exists to advance justice for all trans people of color by amplifying their stories, supporting their leadership, and challenging issues of racism, transphobia, and transmisogyny.
Trans Women of Color Collective - Uplifting the narratives, lived experiences, and leadership of trans and gender-nonconforming people of color, their families, and comrades.
Black Trans Advocacy Coalition - Only social justice organization led by black trans people to collectively address the inequities faced in the black transgender human experience.
Trans Latina Coalition - Formed in 2009 by a group of transgender, gender-nonconforming, and intersex (TGI) immigrant women in Los Angeles as a grassroots response to address the specific needs of TGI Latin@ immigrants who live in the US.
The Brown Boi Project - Builds the leadership, economic self-sufficiency, and health of LGBTQ people of color, pipelining them into the social justice movement.
National Black Justice Coalition - A civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.
Black Transmen, Inc. - The first national nonprofit social advocacy organization with a specific focus on empowering African-American transgender men by addressing multi-layered issues of injustice faced at the intersections of racial, sexual orientation, and gender identities.
Trans youth are among the most vulnerable groups in America. In a time when there are more outlets than ever for bullying, it’s critical that trans children, teens, and their family members have resources that can help them build better confidence, relationships, and environments.
TransYouth Family Allies - Empowers children and families by partnering with educators, service providers, and communities to develop supportive environments in which gender may be expressed and respected.
Trans Youth Equality Foundation - Provides education, advocacy and support for transgender and gender non-conforming children and youth and their families.
Gender Spectrum - Works to create gender-sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens.
Gender Diversity - Increases the awareness and understanding of the wide range of gender diversity in children, adolescents, and adults by providing family support, building community, increasing societal awareness, and improving the well-being for people of all gender identities and expressions.
In “Trans in Trumpland” we meet Two-Spirit Army veteran Shane Ortega, the first openly trans person to serve in the US Army. Besides serving two duty tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, Ortega is also known for his advocacy work, including championing to repeal Don’t Tell, Don’t Ask, and more recently, speaking out against Trump’s transgender military ban. “This is about who is considered a valid human being, and who is not a valid human being. And who gets to decide. Right now, we’re seeing that Donald Trump gets to decide,” Ortega told Rolling Stone. “These people still chose to take bullets for you.”
Below are two organizations who are fighting for the equality of transgender veterans and active duty service members.
Transgender American Veterans Association - A grassroots organization that advocates for the equality of transgender veterans and active duty service members to receive fair and equal treatment in areas such as healthcare, benefits, and open transgender military service.
SPART*A - A group of transgender people who currently serve or have served in the military and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advocates for actively serving transgender military members, veterans, and their families.
Health and Mental Health Resources
Everybody should have access to affordable health and mental health resources, but for far too many Americans, it is more of a luxury than a basic human right. And that is especially true for trans Americans. That’s why the organizations below make it their mission to help the trans community find access to affordable health and mental health care, including financial assistance for gender confirmation surgeries.
TransHealth - A top online destination for information about transgender health.
MyTransHealth - A free online directory that connects trans and gender non-conforming people with qualified, culturally competent healthcare providers.
Jim Collins Foundation - Provides financial assistance to transgender people for gender-affirming surgeries.
JustUs Health - The mission of JustUs Health is to work for equitable health care access and outcomes for people who experience injustice at the intersection of health status and identity.
Pride Institute - A leading provider of residential and outpatient program treatment for substance use and addiction needs of the LGBTQ+ population.
Point of Pride Annual Transgender Surgery Fund - A scholarship-like program that provides direct financial assistance to trans folks who cannot afford their gender-affirming surgery.
Transformative Freedom Fund - Supporting the authentic selves of transgender Coloradans by removing financial barriers to transition related healthcare
National Alliance on Mental Illness - NAMI provides advocacy, education, support, and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.
The Family Partnership - Provides culturally relevant mental health counseling to members of the transgender community and their families.
SAMHSA - Contributes to developing national data collection protocols and expanding health services for LGBT individuals.
Pride Counseling - Professional online counseling for the LGBTQ community.
Psychology Today - Offers a search engine for finding transgender therapists.
Trans Ally Resources
If you’re a friend, family member, or loved one of a transgender individual, it’s important for you to have resources too. Being a good ally goes beyond accepting your trans loved one; it means being actively anti-transphobic, avoiding certain phrases or questions that could be received as microaggressions, providing a safe environment, and raising awareness for others.
Straight For Equality - A resource and community for people who are not lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ+) to better understand why their voices are critical to achieving equality for all, and provide them with the information and tools to effectively raise their voices.
PFLAG’s Our Trans Loved Ones - An updated resource of information, first-person stories, and expert input geared to those who have a loved one who has come out as trans or gender expansive.
GLAAD’s Tips For Allies - A non-exhaustive list of tips to help anyone become a better ally.
National Center For Gender Equality’s Guide For Allies - A thorough guide for being a better trans ally.
HRC’s Guide For Allies - Human Rights Campaign’s checklist of to-dos for allies, ranging from beginner steps to more advanced issues.