Trans Pride Flag, Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office / Flickr
A new center that will serve the transgender community of Los Angeles has opened its doors.
The Trans Wellness Center was funded with a million dollar grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and will house six trans-focused organizations to help the community.
“For the first time in the history of the transgender movement, trans and non-binary individuals finally have a safe, friendly, and non-judgmental area where they can find a wide range of vital services under one roof created by — and for — the community,” said TWC program manager Mariana Marroquin at the opening event.
A project that has been in development for a decade, the member organizations are hoping that the Wellness Center will serve as a flagship for other transgender centers to be developed in more cities.
The center will house the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the TransLatin@ Coalition, Bienstar, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Friends Community Center, and the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team.
The Trans Wellness Center will also be an effective alternative to ensure trans individuals get access to necessary medical care, including hormone treatments. In addition to healthcare, the center will also provide housing, legal and employment assistance.
“The health and well-being of trans and non-binary people goes beyond learning how to use a condom and getting tested,” said Marroquin. “How are you going to get tested if you are hungry? How are you not going to engage in survival sex work if you cannot get a job where you are respected for who you are? How are you going to take medication if you feel your life doesn’t matter? How are you going to leave that abusive relationship if you’re going to end up homeless?”
The Trans Wellness Center will be guided by an eight-member community board featuring by transgender and non-binary members, making sure the center serves the community well.
“I’m excited because we are finally taking back the power from a society that doesn’t really have time for us and sees us a lot of times as third and fourth class citizens,” said Thea Eskey, a member of the board, according to LGBTQ Nation. “This day is saying that we’re no longer accepting crumbs from under a table. We’re making our own.”