The mutual-aid organization, For The Gworls, recently launched a new effort to alleviate some of the barriers facing Black Transgender people. What started with a rent party in July 2019 has now turned into a holistic support program that recently expanded into offering gender-affirming wigs and spiritual consultations.
“We understand the importance of expanding our offerings to provide Black trans people with services that help them feel comfortable with their gender expression,” said Asanni Armon, founder of For The Gworls, in a statement. “These new services act as an extension to the work we’re already doing, as physical wellness intimately intertwines with emotional and spiritual health.”
Founded in 2019, For The Gworls has supported more than 300 requests for rental assistance and over 100 requests for medical funds. As of July 2021, the group has redistributed over $1.5 million in aid. Applications for support for affirmative surgery are expected to open in early 2022.
“Our goal is to relieve some of the intrapersonal burdens Black trans people face outside of rent, surgery costs, or medical fees,” Ahmad Saeed, co-founder and resident DJ of For The Gworls, added. “We’re now offering a more holistic approach to wellness in our community. Taking care of financial and physical needs are imperative, but Black trans people deserve emotional and spiritual health, too.”
One of the new affiliate programs, Laced Together, aims to provide new or gently used wigs to Black trans people.
“More important than the euphoria that’s experienced when our gender is affirmed is the safety we feel,” said JB Veras, the founder of Laced Together. “I hope that less and less of our sisters face violence, and more of us can walk confidently into spaces and feel safe and beautiful.”
According to affiliate partner Rapture, providing space for spiritual guidance and counseling gives needed non-monetary support that helps people not only survive but thrive helps the Black trans community navigate overlapping oppressions.
“I intend to help our community gain and use nonmaterial[JW3] resources to thrive through spiritual counseling and guidance,” Rapture said. “Spirituality is a muscle that so many members of our community might feel barred off from exploring and grounding in, and I am over the moon — and a few other stars and planets — to take down the monetary boundary that sways Black trans folks away from getting routine spiritual services done.”
Moreover, bringing together a reaffirming space that provides opportunities for people to show up as their full complete selves is crucial to personal growth and well-being.
“I hope our affiliate offerings help Black trans people feel as comfortable and in love with themselves as possible wherever they are in their transition. How we see ourselves is integral to our mental and emotional alignment.” Armon said. “A deep spiritual understanding of ourselves and our connection to our ancestors is crucial to our transition processes, as well. We hope to provide Black trans people with this.”