Current Affairs

Trans community offers aid to federal workers during shutdown

Sofia Lotto Persio January 15, 2019
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Trans Disaster Relief Fund will give assistance to LGBT+ and allied workers during the government shutdown

A marcher has their fingernails painted in the pink and blue transgender community colors at the Los Angeles Pride March, June 11, 2017 in Hollywood, California.

The Transgender Foundation of America (TFA) has opened the Transgender Disaster Relief Fund to applications from LGBT+ and allied federal workers who are not receiving pay due to the partial government shutdown.

As thousands of people missed their first pay of 2019 on Friday (January 11), the Transgender Foundation of America, a 501c3 public charity based in Houston, Texas, issued a statement explaining the process to apply for assistance via their transgender aid fund.

Alexis Melvin, President of Transgender Foundation of America, said: “Many LGBTQI individuals and our allies are affected by the partial government shutdown. The sudden loss of income through no fault of their own can create very difficult situations and will provide whatever support we can to these individuals.”

The record government shutdown, caused by President Donald Trump’s insistence on having US taxpayers pay the sum of $5.7 billion to build a 230-mile long segment of the US-Mexico border wall—which Trump had said Mexico would pay for during his campaign—entered its 25th day on Tuesday (January 15).

“We want the affected community to know that we stand with them in their time of need.”

— Cristan Williams

It is affecting around 800,000 government workers across the US who have been furloughed—staying at home—or working without pay.

Those affected range from air traffic controllers to national park guards to even White House staff—more than half of the Executive Mansion’s 359 full-time employees are not working, the New York Times reported.

What is the Transgender Disaster Relief Fund?

The Transgender Foundation of America first set up the Transgender Disaster Relief Fund in 2017 to assist with the relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey.

“The Transgender Foundation of America created this disaster relief fund because trans, intersex, and genderqueer individuals have historically experienced significant difficulties in natural disaster situations,” a statement released by the group at the time read.

“This fund will be used to help our historically underserved community recover from this catastrophic event,” it added.

The form on the Transgender Disaster Relief Fund website needed to receive assistance during the government shutdown.
Applicants to the Transgender Disaster Relief Fund need to fill in a form on the website (Screenshot/Transgender Disaster Relief Fund)

The size of the fund, which is open for donations, is not known, but a note on their website reads: “Please be aware that donations to the Trans Disaster Relief Fund are absolutely minuscule compared to practically all other funds raised for general disaster recovery efforts. Because the fund is small, TFA must be judicious in its allocation.”

Applicants to the transgender aid fund need to fill in a brief form with their personal details and the kind of assistance required. 

Cristan Williams, a co-founder of the Transgender Disaster Relief Fund, said in a statement: “We’ve made the application extremely simple and straightforward. We want the affected community to know that we stand with them in their time of need.”

More: US, White House

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