COVID-19: Our Commitment to Trans Communities

March 31, 2020

Today on Trans Day of Visibility, as we celebrate our beautiful trans community and continue to raise awareness about the ongoing discrimination transgender people face, we write as funders, allies, and members of the binary and nonbinary transgender and gender nonconforming communities to reaffirm our commitment to trans communities during this time of uncertainty and upheaval. 

Versión en español aquí.

We are already mourning the loss of community members whose lives have been cut tragically short by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the beloved Lorena Borjas. As funders, we recognize the need to get life saving resources out to our communities as soon as possible. In these unprecedented times, we are dedicated to supporting the most vulnerable in our communities–transgender feminine people of color, Black transgender people, transgender people living in the U.S. South, low-income transgender people, sick and disabled trans people, migrants, sex workers, among others– because we know that those most directly impacted by the multiple intersections of oppression often lead with the most innovative strategies and promising practices to challenge the root causes of oppression impacting everyone. We are keenly aware that those same communities are also the most vulnerable during this time of heightened crisis; that they are likely to suffer greatly from both the COVID-19 pandemic and any potential economic downturn resulting from efforts to contain it. Our communities are already overburdened by society’s failure to guarantee housing, meaningful employment, safety, a living wage, and universal health care access, and the pandemic exacerbates the harm these injustices have already inflicted upon us.

We want you to know that we see you, and we hear you. A number of you have already reached out to us to let us know your concerns and how we can further support you, and we thank you for taking the time to educate us. We want to keep hearing from you, and hope you can continue to reach out to us as this disaster unfolds.

As funders, we want to share with you what we will do to meet these immediate needs: 

  • We will increase our commitments to provide rapid response funding specifically for the transgender, gender nonconforming and nonbinary communities, and will urge other funders to do the same;
  • We will make all efforts to ensure that rapid response funding will be flexible and come with no expectations for reporting;
  • We will work to ensure that there are funding opportunities for groups that do not have 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, even if our individual institutions have restrictions. We will also work with our partners to ensure that resources are reaching individual members of the transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary communities; and 
  • We will coordinate listening sessions and other ways to receive feedback from the community so we can continue to stay informed and responsive to what the community needs in this rapidly evolving time.

In the coming days, we look forward to sharing with you rapid response fund opportunities dedicated to supporting trans communities.

As this pandemic and the resulting economic fallout progresses, we look forward to deepening our partnerships with you, and to supporting our communities’ innovative and bold solutions to help lead all of us out of this difficult time. We want to thank in particular the Transgender Law Center for helping us identify the community’s immediate needs and formulate a response. Throughout history, trans and other oppressed communities have offered the light that can serve as a beacon of hope for everyone, and we are committed to helping that light shine long and bright.

Trans Justice Funding Project
Borealis Philanthropy’s Fund for Trans Generations
Funders for LGBTQ Issues’ Grantmakers United for Trans Communities
Third Wave Fund
Destination Tomorrow / TRANScend Community Impact Fund