November 16, 2019 at 9:12 am PST | by Staff reports
Historic Bridge Housing for trans women as hate crimes increase

Transgender Awareness Week from Nov. 13 to Nov. 19 concludes with  the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Wednesday, Nov. 20 memorializing all victims of transphobic violence, especially recognizing the 23 transwomen murdered so far this year.  Approximately two-thirds of trans individuals killed in previous years were victims of gun violence, according to an FBI report issued Nov. 11.

The FBI noted a significant increase in hate crimes motivated by gender identity bias in 2018 with 184 hate crimes perpetrated by bias against transgender or gender non-conforming people, 157 motivated specifically by anti-transgender bias and 27 motivated by bias against gender non-conforming individuals. In 2017, 118 hate crimes were anti-transgender and 13 were anti-gender non-conforming.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization,  noted the death last month of 29-year old Itali Marlowe, a Black transgender woman who was killed in Houston on Sept. 20.

“These victims are not numbers — they were people with hopes and plans, dreams for the future, loved ones and communities who will miss them every day. There are currently very few explicit legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people,” wrote Elliott Kozuch on Oct. 9. “We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation appearing at the local, state and federal levels because it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color.”

Gains in other areas are being made despite the epidemic of anti-trans bias. In Los Angeles, Special Service for Groups, a non-profit health and human service organization associated with APAIT and HOPICS, announced “Casa de Zulma,” the first-ever publicly funded Enhanced Bridge Housing project for transgender women in LA, during Transgender Awareness Month.

The Enhanced Bridge Housing project will be “a gender-affirming space that not only provides 16 beds for transgender women, but also provides trauma-informed care in the form of behavioral health services (e.g., individual and group psychotherapy, substance use support), as well as intensive case management with the goal of linkage to permanent supportive housing,” according to a press release.

“Casa de Zulma” is named after Zulma Velasquez, an LGBTQ community fixture who hosted the weekly “Cafecito with Zulma,” providing “a safe space for queer and trans community members to have a cup of coffee, build community and discuss the issues they face day-to-day,” according to the release. Velasquez passed away in August 2019.

 “Poverty affects the Trans community disproportionately. We are prone to violence, homelessness, substance abuse and mental illness. We have to build alliances, acquire resources, and create safe affordable spaces to dwell and live in,” said APAIT/SSG Health & Policy Coordinator Jazzmun Crayton.

Photo of LA City ribbon cutting ceremony courtesy the office of City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell via Facebook. 

Out Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell recognizing Transgender Awareness Month video here.



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