Community organizing can have a significantly positive impact on transgender youths’ lives both in schools and in the community at large through helping transgender youth gain resources and advocate for policies that protect their authentic identities.
In Philadelphia, there are many community created and run groups that cater to the transgender population—such as TMAN, New Bois Club, and Sisterly L.O.V.E—whereas other organizations address the intersectional identities of transgender folks—such as GALAEI—to address ethnicity, race, gender, and sexual identity. Lastly, other organizations cater to the queer community at large—such as Philly Queer Brunch. All of these community organizations are run by queer and/or transgender individuals with the goal of creating positive change for the queer community at large. Through their advocacy, each group is dedicated to creating a safe space for gender identity and expression while educating themselves and others on transgender issues and available resources. Additionally, many of the organizations state that putting transgender individuals into contact with proper medical health care is key.
Through addressing issues specific to the transgender community, these organizations provide a space for transgender individuals to have community while advocating for themselves. Importantly, these organizations have positively impacted the queer community through providing safe spaces for transgender and queer people to form a community and advocate for themselves. Although there are many obstacles (such as the political climate and difficult nature of changing curriculum in schools) that these organizations face in trying to improve the quality of life of transgender youth, the advocacy work of these groups is vital as it not only creates a strong transgender community but educates others on transgender issues and rights as well. Keep reading to learn more about available resources!
Trans Masculine Advocacy Network (TMAN):
TMAN is a group that works to uplift people of color along the transmasculine spectrum. They are dedicated in their effort to organize as a community and further advocacy for transmasculine people of color in Philadelphia. TMAN addresses the underrepresented and unique educational, vocational, social, legal, familial, behavioral and general health care needs of its members through bi-weekly gatherings, special events, directed activities and referrals.
Sisterly L.O.V.E. (Leading Others Via Education) at the Mazzoni Center:
Sisterly L.O.V.E. is an advocacy group created by and composed of trans women that works to ensure that the Mazzoni Center provides comprehensive services for all transgender and other LGBQ community members. Sisterly L.O.V.E. works to increase awareness and education in the larger Philadelphia community through developing leadership skills and building community among trans women/trans femmes. Sisterly L.O.V.E. organizes and builds power around the self-identified needs of the community, hosts workshops and events, and conducts direct street outreach to connect trans women with resources.
New Bois Club at the Mazzoni Center:
New Bois Club is a drop-in support and resource group for people who identify along the transmasculine spectrum, providing a safe and supportive environment for FTMs, trans men and bois, and individuals assigned female at birth who are exploring masculinity. This group is centered on discussion, resource sharing, and psycho-education on topics such as coming into masculine identities, sexuality, dating, coming out, medically transitioning, legally transitioning, aging, and starting families.
Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative Trans Equity Project (GALAEI):
GALAEI works to cultivate leadership and build collective power in queer Latino/a communities by empowering and teaching skills and tools to individuals so that they can organize and advocate for themselves and fight for social justice. GALEAI’s Trans Equity Project provides individual-level peer-based support for trans individuals, offering health promotion (including sexual health information) and HIV prevention counseling. Additionally, the Trans Equity Project provides mentorship with transitioning, legal advocacy, help with name changes, referrals for housing and food, and opportunities to build community to work towards trans justice.
Philly Queer Brunch:
Philly Queer Brunch is a monthly potluck brunch that doubles as a fundraiser to support a different queer, trans, or otherwise justice-oriented organization or project each month—while enjoying food, company, and conversation about building sustainable queer communities. Queer Brunch builds community and imagines a queer collective future.