There have been numerous resources that I’ve used throughout my transition in order to thrive as best I can. As a transgender womxn, let alone a lesbian, it has been difficult for me to reach out to my community for resources as my surrounding area is quite conservative. This is sadly also true for a large number of LGBTQ+ Americans, but also around the world in many places. Though the world has become increasingly progressive in recent years, there is still significant progress that needs to be made in that respect. As such, I wanted to write this and share just a small number of the organizations that I have either reached out to or have generally been helpful. I won’t go into significant detail in this post, but I will be posting their websites and available phone numbers if appropriate and/or applicable.
Starting off, I want to start off by discussing crisis resources. In America, it has become increasingly difficult to find adequate crisis care. For someone such as myself, who has Borderline Personality Disorder and chronic ideation because of it, a simple phone call for support can turn into an emergency room visit that results in hundreds or even thousands of dollars in medical bills. In some cases, people have been inappropriately hospitalized due to a miscommunication. I myself know this quite well, as I was hospitalized from April of 2020 following a lapse in communication with a well-known hotline. In most cases, emergency services aren’t well-equipped for crisis care. For someone with a mental illness, this can make a terrible situation even worse.
Though through legislative efforts around the country, this is starting to change. Cities and counties have been pouring more funding into crisis intervention, yet it is the hotlines that are the true first responders in most mental health crises. For queer Americans, there aren’t many crisis lines and resources that specialize in working with the LGBTQ+ community. Although two have become more notable in recent times. The Trevor Project and Trans Lifeline are two organizations working to provide crisis support LGBTQ+ Americans, and they understand the unique needs of not only queer individuals, but trans and gender non-conforming people as well. Through working with them in recent years, I have avoided numerous calls to emergency services. These calls are still made, however based on my research they are becoming fewer between them both. If you fall anywhere into the LGBTQ+ community or are trans and/or gender non-conforming, I strongly encourage you to reach out to The Trevor Project at 1-886-488-7386 or Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860 for the US or 1-877-330-6366 for Canada. The Trevor Project also has both text and online capabilities, so I encourage you to check their website for additional resources as both are linked below.
Regardless of efforts, not much progress would have been made for the queer community without our allies. Allies are still sporadic in areas such as mine, but thanks to advocacy efforts and increased awareness that number is increasing. There are two organizations I have worked with and though they do not provide much in the way of a resource in and of itself, one of their goals is to link you to additional providers. GLAAD is notable in this in that they primarily serve as advocates, yet they have a page on their website linking to information and resources for education. As I was figuring things out along my transition, this was helpful for me. I did not even see a transgender woman until I was 16, when I saw Against Me! headline for Green Day. I had never heard of the band, but that was my awakening. From the day I was born until I was 16, I had no exposure to a part of myself I didn’t even acknowledge was there. Until then, I had never even heard the word “transgender.” Sure, I had heard the slurs and the stereotypes. That false perception of powerful, misinformed bigots influenced my own until shortly after my 18th birthday, when I finally came out. Yet I digress, but my point in raising that concern is that I only ever knew of the stigma until then. Not until I was finally exposed to this community I am now a part of. Because of the stigma, I was afraid to explore it. Because I was afraid to explore it, I completely broke down before finally coming out in a hospital bed after I tried to take my own life. GLAAD is working to break the stigma, and their work will surely save the lives of countless LGBTQ+ people. I hope that one day, through increased awareness and education, that no one will have to go through the pain, confusion, and ultimately the heartbreak I had to deal with at the point in my life.
Which is a perfect segway to the last organization I want to highlight. Though some might find this surprising, I want to call attention to the work of Planned Parenthood. I know some people out there will automatically think of abortion and family planning, but I want to clarify that only a small percentage of their services are abortions. In fact, in 2020
1,837,950 reversible contraception clients
584,003 emergency contraception kits
861,664 HIV tests conducted
308,135 STIs diagnosed
75,578 women whose cancer was detected
early or whose abnormalities were identified
More than 200 health centers in
31 states providing hormone therapy
for transgender patients
The majority of their services actually involve education. So, now, let’s actually discuss the services they provide.
After I came out, I started seeing a gender therapist. She informed me soon after that in 31 states, Planned Parenthood provides gender-affirming healthcare to trans and gender non-conforming individuals. Although, your access depends on a number of variables including the laws in your state, funding, proximity, and your ability to pay among other factors. They not only provide gender-affirming healthcare, but they’re also able to provide STI testing and family planning care to same-sex couples. These services are vital to not only the health of an individual, but the health of a couple and the community as a whole. Sadly, I know first-hand that discrimination is rampant in the healthcare industry and various organizations have not been able to provide adequate care for me as a trans person, and I’m hoping one day I will have an opportunity to write about my experiences. However, it is neither the place nor time. Though I digress again. Thanks to the work done by PPIL and Planned Parenthood as a whole, I have received astounding healthcare on a consistent basis that meets my needs in every regard. If you are considering HRT or need sexual health care, I strongly encourage reaching out to your local Planned Parenthood and inquiring about their services. As is the same for all of them, I’ve linked their website below. Prominently displayed near the top of the home page is a search feature. This allows you to find your nearest health centers, and provides you with the contact information needed.
If you felt the need to reach out, thank you for making it this far. I want to finish this off by again posting the number to The Trevor Project, which is 1-886-488-7386 and serves the entirety of the United States. If you are in crisis, please reach out to them or refer to our resources page. Thank you for reading, and please keep yourselves safe.