Community organizations boost trans resources

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Bebashi’s TransNecessities Closet, courtesy of Bebashi

Providing robust resources for transgender communities is always paramount, but given the war that the Trump administration has waged against the trans community, trans resources have never been more important. Three local LGBTQ+ organizations have updates to the resources that they provide to trans and gender nonbinary individuals. Firstly, Bebashi Transition to Hope launched its TransNecessities Closet on Oct. 3, during the 2020 Virtual National Trans Visibility March. This new addition is a space where trans and gender non-conforming folks can access items that they need to live authentically, including clothes, shoes, wigs and accessories. 

“Bebashi’s mission is centered on empowering individuals to enhance the quality of their lives,” Keisha Gabbidon, Bebashi’s resource navigator and TransNecessities Closet coordinator, said in a press release. “This is something that goes beyond health and includes being able to access all of the resources persons need to lead fulfilling lives and live their truth.”

In addition to clothing and physical items, the TransNecessities Closet provides assistance in securing legal name changes, identification gender marker changes, and other resources that help individuals during their transition process. 

Mazzoni Center just welcomed a new member of staff, Dani Murano-Kinney, who will serve as logistics coordinator for the organization’s Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference (PTWC). Prior to accepting the position at Mazzoni, Murano-Kinney worked in the Public Programs department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and spent over five years working as a trans and intersex sensitivity reader both as a freelancer and at Salt & Sage Books in New York City. Additionally, they worked as a trans and intersex educator running training workshops for students, faculty and staff at multiple institutions, as well as a volunteer patient advocate helping to foster more competent healthcare environments for trans and intersex individuals.

“A priority of mine is to examine the ways the conference content and planning structures have historically failed Black and Brown members of the trans community,” Murano-Kinney said in a press release. “It’s a goal of mine to do more to recognize and honor the often-overlooked roots of PTWC, which was founded and led by Charlene Arcila, a Black trans woman. We will work towards these goals with the continued support of the PTWC’s Interdisciplinary Review Committee, whose contributions to past conferences, and conferences to follow, cannot be understated.”

The next PTWC is set to take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from Aug. 19-21, 2021, though the uncertainty of pandemic-related gathering sizes may mean that the conference will take place partially or entirely virtually. 

Finally, the Arcila-Adams Trans Resource Center, part of the William Way LGBT Community Center is nearing the one-year anniversary of its dedication. The resource center serves “to connect our trans and gender non-conforming community to opportunities, services, resources, and each other to achieve our vision of a stronger, healthier, more equitable world for trans identified people ans their allies.” Through the trans resource center, members of the trans community can receive help to obtain health insurance, access food pantries, carry out name changes and get healthcare referrals, among other resources. 

William Way held an event the weekend of Oct. 9 to raise money for its trans resource center – four performances by singer-songwriter and gay rights activist Tom Wilson Weinberg. Weinberg performed his favorite songs from his cabarets, revues and musicals to a smaller, socially-distanced audience.

The funds from the event, which came to $2,500, will go toward making the Arcila-Adams resources available in a virtual format, said Chris Bartlett, executive director of William Way. TransWay, the center’s trans support group, has been taking place virtually since the start of the pandemic. 

In raising funds for the trans resource center, the William Way team is concerned with converting trans-oriented services online in a unified place as well as providing free Chromebooks to those in need. 

Fundraising efforts for the trans resource center, which include grant fundraising, are “one of our major focuses at the moment,” Bartlett said.