Trans groups push for urgent government funding to support their communities through the pandemic

Multiple transgender organisations have joined calls for the US government to provide urgent funding to support trans people through the coronavirus pandemic.

The California-based groups have written to governor Gavin Newsom proposing the creation of an Emergency Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund to address the urgent and long-term needs of the trans community.

Trans people are among the most marginalised groups in the country, the open letter explains, and face significant barriers in society which have have only been exacerbated by the coronavirus.

“The structural and institutional change that must occur to counter these barriers means an investment in trans-led organisations and services, those that are tailored to address the specific needs of TGI (transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex) people,” the letter reads.

“Because of a lack of services tailored to serve the trans community, this makes this moment especially isolating and difficult.”

There are approximately 220,000 transgender people in the state of California, many of whom are in “dire economic situations”.

The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 12 percent of adult respondents made less than $10,000 in annual income, compared to 4 percent of the general population in that income bracket.

Add this to the fact that LGBT+ people are more likely to be vulnerable to the coronavirus, and more likely to face difficulties accessing healthcare, the need for tailored financial support during the pandemic is clear.

A Boston restaurant handing out free food to hospital staff battling the coronavirus (Erin Clark/The Boston Globe/Getty)

The groups identify specific disparities that must be addressed, including housing, healthcare, employment, and decarceration.

A specific emergency fund “would help address the immediate needs of TGI people in the midst of COVID-19, but would also help to create long-term services that would prevent the drastic impact on our community in the midst of crisis in the future,” the letter explains.

It was signed by seven groups: TransLatin@, Coalition Unique Women’s Coalition, Transgender Health and Wellness Centre, Gender Justice LA, Transgender Law Centre, El/La Para TransLatinas and the Transgender, Gender Variant, Intersex Justice Project.

They acknowledge that everyone is struggling in the face of the pandemic, but stress the importance of transgender people not being overlooked in relief efforts.

“When we say we are in this together, that obviously includes trans and gender non-conforming people,” Bamby Salcedo, president of The TransLatin@ Coalition told Forbes.

“We as leaders in the community are making sure that we address those needs and issues, and so we invite all of us to really understand the meaning of we are in this together and how we are going to together change the narrative and the landscape of our community.”