How to help queer and trans people in the South right now
Queerness is under attack. These mutual aids have our backs.
The uprisings of 2020 taught us several important lessons and the one that resonates with me is that, in the end, all we’ve got is each other. Thankfully, there are mutual aid groups out there rooted in the political ethos of “solidarity not charity,” providing services and resources to those who need them. These organization seek and build community-based solutions to issues of houselessness, hunger, and medical care.
Living during an especially trans- and queer-phobic climate can be challenging. Lawmakers, especially in the South and Midwest, seem determined to erase not just identities, but critical structures of safety for our communities. Trans and queer youth have been under relentless attack from legislative rollbacks that seem to be snowballing. These trans-led organizations in the South have been a saving grace, centering mutual aid and other types of support. These groups have stepped in to support their folx and become a bridge to services kept at arms length from those in need.
This Atlanta-based, trans-led organization just released their #deeperthanvisibility report that answers questions that much of the country refuses to address. “In DTV, SnapCo shares historical timelines of policing, reformist and abolitionist efforts in Atlanta. We center Black voices, trans voices, and queer voices, and offer policy recommendations for a safer Atlanta," the member-based pledges. Fueled by the brilliance of Toni-Michelle, a canonical organizer and cultural worker, the group has been able to gain legislative and local wins based on their work to build a safer future for trans folks in Atlanta and throughout the south.
My Sistah’s House
This community coalition began with the intention to address the 2016 housing crisis in Memphis, TN — one which was putting the lives of Black trans women, especially, at risk. Their mantra reads: “My Sistah’s House fosters sustainability and security for the most vulnerable of the transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (TLGBQ) communities in Memphis.” The organization provides access to support in name changes, resumé coaching, bail requests, and emergency housing. My Sistah’s House began its latest development project in building 20 tiny homes for trans women in need in 2022 and continues to raise funds to give directly to meet teh ongoing need for housing support throughout Memphis.
Trans Housing Coalition
In 2019, Revon and Jesse Lopez started a GoFundMe to house transwomen in Atlanta. The impetus was an immediate need, but their cause blossomed into the creation of a direct service organization that has housed many from the community since its inception.
The story of their team’s work is centered around a profoundly queer sense of family that is central to the work the organization has been able to develop. “[THC] is driven by the Housing First model, based on the idea that 'nothing in any person’s history or present precludes them from being able to be housed,'” says Lopez. The organization was born and flourished during the pandemic as mutual aid and direct services became critical needs in a time of upheaval.
A trans-led housing fund based out of New Orleans is focused on raising $400,000 to buy proprietary to provide housing to trans and gender non-conforming people in Louisiana. The Tulip House, led by Mariah Moore, is working to help provide long term housing solutions, starting a land trust, and providing resources to their membership to access education on the pathway to homeownership.