Justine Ingram

Capacity Building Associate

As a Transwoman of Color, I have experienced first-hand the discrimination, stigma, and the lack of resources due to navigating as my authentic self.

Quite early on in my transition, I struggled with housing insecurities due to the lack of social support that so many Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming people face. I found myself on people’s sofas, floors, and at times sobbing because I felt I had no place to go. I realized early on that in order to move past my current state of homelessness, that I would have to make sacrifices that could inevitably put my life in danger. However, what was I supposed to do?

10 years later the narrative hasn’t changed much, as many Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming people are still struggling to obtain and maintain housing due to systems failing our community the most. Protections that was once put into place to keep us safe are being removed. Yet again, it has become acceptable to turn away an individual for public housing accommodations due to their gender identity. My work has led me to engage with hundreds of Transgender and Gender Non-conforming individuals who are currently seeking some type of housing assistance. Transwomen are being forced to reside in male sleeping quarters, remove all feminine attire, and endure the persistent harassment of other residents and staff. Sadly, many chose to sleep outside, under bridges, and in doorways just to live in their authentic truth. I often ask myself: if policymakers have ever experienced sleeping outside for 24 hours in the sweltering Southern heat, being bit by mosquitoes at 12 AM in the morning with no relief, or being summoned for sexual favors just to eat a meal, would their views change?

Housing is a Human Right, no matter the age, disability, sex, gender identity, or health status! Until every individual is afforded this basic necessity and the resources needed to maintain, we are failing those who need us the most!

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