When one door closes…
Transgender support services growing in D.C.
By YUSEF NAJAFI
Transgender Health Empowerment’s first supportive house for transgendered and gay people opened this month in Northeast D.C. Organizers say it marks a milestone for the non-profit organization and is long overdue.
They say shelters for D.C. residents who have no place to live are not always welcoming when staff members learn that the client seeking services is transgendered. And if they’re not automatically turned away, they can be told to remove their makeup. Sometimes questions crop up about which bathroom they should use.
“This is a place where transgender people can be themselves,” says Lynda Thomas, board chair for Transgender Health Empowerment, which was formed about a decade ago. “This is a place where they can find empowerment.”