I’m destitute. Haven’t had steady meals in months after losing my job and not one good night sleep after my landlord evicted me. Its getting unbearable outside. It’s ether steaming hot or freezing cold in Portland Maine.
I have to get inside but there’s only a few options for emergency housing and I want none of them.
See, I’m transgender, and haven’t shaved in weeks and skirt is filthy. I got beat up a couple days ago and the last time I looked in the mirror I gasped. My eyes like the dead. I begun transitioning in 07 but some of us just never loose that stubble completely and my mannerisms? Damn, being on the street is all about survival. I know if I walk into the woman’s shelter someones going to say something.
Oh, god they let me stay. They were so nice, just gave me a bed, but the other ladies just stare and whisper. If only I can tonight. I desperately need sleep. But this lady is standing at my bed twirling a cross. She’d not saying anything but a bunch of them just followed me into the bathroom. Talking loud. Outside my stall door. Someones banging on it now.
Oh fuck. They just called me into the front office. Now I’m hearing that that some of the residents said that I’m really a man. They told the office that because I had a 5 o’clock shadow, no make up and dirty clothes and a deeper voice they want me out of the shelter.
This is really happening at the Florance House:
“I am supposed to be there as a woman with other women,” said one of the women, who did not want to be identified for fear of losing her spot at the shelter. She said one of the people in question has stared at her, making her uncomfortable.
But the women who complained said they believe that in at least one case, it was a ruse. They believe one of the people in question is a man who occasionally dresses as a woman to get into the shelter, perhaps for voyeuristic reasons. That person did not have any feminine mannerisms and often dresses in a T-shirt and jeans, sporting a 5 o’clock shadow of male facial hair, they said.
“If they’re really living as a woman, I think they have every right to be there,” said one of the women who complained. “But he wasn’t wearing makeup or wearing eyeliner or anything. Just a man wearing a skirt. It was just odd.”
Thank god that this shelter is a fully welcoming place so as of this post the transgender woman still have options.
But this could have been me. After losing my job after beginning transition and getting kicked out of my home I was saved by a transgender man who saw me at a weekly gender diversity meeting. He just asked me out of the blue “do you need a place to stay?” He allowed me the time to find another job. He saved me from having to go through this hell.
After getting my feet back on the ground I found I needed to pay it forward in 09. It was a arduous, tedious time consuming effort but we got the Dallas homeless shelter “The Bridge” to agree to admit transgender clients. They refused to attend even one meeting but the person who signed their checks from the city supported our efforts so we got a ‘procedural update’ from the shelter. I need to go back to The Bridge in my finest apparel and see if they still are abiding by it. (the Dallas Transgender Advocates is no longer)