ORLANDO, Fla. — Some LGBTQ+ organizations in Central Florida said they’re getting creative to help families of transgender youth, and transgender adults impacted by recent state laws banning gender transition health care.
The signing of SB 254 last month means trans youth can no longer access gender-transition care in Florida unless they were already in care. Plus, transgender adults can only seek gender-transition care from doctors now.
LGBTQ+ leaders said because of this, some will have to travel out of state to access that care.
Two funds have been created to fund these needs.
One is the Central Florida Emergency Trans Care fund through Contigo Fund which has almost $50,000 in both individual donations and community partner donations. The money will help people travel out of Florida for treatment, or help them search for treatment within the state.
Another local trans advocacy fund, the Trans Safety Fund by Central Florida Mutual Aid has raised $1,500 to help support the relocation and transportation of transgender individuals who need to access care by moving out of state.
Lamia Moukaddam who goes by the pronouns she/they, lives in Orlando and works as the outreach manager for the LGBT+ Center Orlando. They’re also an organizer of the Central Florida Mutual Aid.
“Home is where your community is, and I’ve been here since I was three years old, this is where my friends are,” said Moukaddam. “There are the folks who have struggled together with me.”
Their job focuses on HIV testing and prevention for the LGBT+ Center Orlando, but overall, they're passionate about helping the LGBTQ+ communities because it comes from what they needed at one point.
Moukaddam said right now, there’s an overwhelming need for funds to help transgender individuals. The center is getting an onslaught of phone calls asking for help.
”When the laws were passed, they were passed very quickly, and there were very few options left, so we have to take things into our own hands, we have to come up with ways outside of the box that we can make sure that our community have access to care,” said Moukaddam.
Moukaddam said they hope there’s a switch in these laws, but feel confident that when the funds are distributed, it will be a win for Central Floridians who identify as transgender.
“We’re going to come out on top, as always,” they said.
Both funds are still working to raise money to fill community needs. Moukaddam said the distribution for the almost $50,000 Central Florida Emergency Trans Care Fund will be based on the decision of a committee comprised of trans and nonbinary individuals.
That committee is putting together a town hall for members of the LGBTQ+ community, and organizations as well as health care providers to meet and have a conversation about the greatest needs in the LGBTQ+ community.
The “Transcare Community Townhall” is happening on July 26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The committee is holding the funds until this town hall happens, to help inform their decision-making.
Organizers are expecting hundreds at the town hall.