On Trans Awareness: Homelessness
December 8, 2021
According to a study done by The National Center for Transgender Equality, 1 in 5 transgender individuals will have experienced homelessness at one point or another.
“Why?” you may ask.
It starts early on in our youth. We come out to our families, putting faith in the comfort and acceptance they have given us, and are promptly let down. They threaten us, tell us if we don’t conform to their idea of our gender that we will no longer have a place to stay under their roof. Some of us do try to hide, but it is impossible for us to change who we are. Impossible to keep the cracking facade of a happy cis girl or boy, when we are crumbling under the dysphoria. So, we are forced onto the streets. We attempt to take residency in shelters. Some shelters deny us. Some pretend to accept us, only to force us into gendered sleeping spaces and gendered facilities each of which are based upon outdated documents. Documents that you as a youth have no means in which to update. Your signature not legal, your finances non-existent. “The documents say (this gender) so you have to be with (that gender)” Then there are the other patrons themselves. They spew slurs, threats, and general misinformation. They harass and physically harm you, and the shelter personnel have placed you so far in the complex that you can’t go to their guards for help. At the end of it all, the shelter can’t even provide you with the resources you need to get help for your situation. In the meantime, you try hard to find a real place to stay. You look at rooms for rent, and fill out their applications using the deadname that twists your stomach. They call back with rejections, whether it be due to complications with previous tenancy (because the only tenants you’ve ever known are the transphobic family that chose to discard you) or because they themselves partake in gender discrimination. You’ll search and search, and maybe you’ll get lucky. Maybe you’ll find a place that accepts you. You’ll enter the room, happy to have a roof, only to realize that this place isn’t liveable. There’s mold, vermin, cracks that line the walls. Or maybe it is livable, but a few months later you receive an eviction notice, and the whole cycle starts again.