DC Health conducted a two-part listening session with 15 transgender individuals in the fall of 2019. Individuals were recruited from the DC metropolitan area using a social network approach. The listening sessions were held at two local restaurants, one as a brunch and the other as a dinner.
Participants identified housing and violence as two key issues facing the trans community. Obtaining housing that is safe and private is an ongoing challenge. Some individuals engage in commercial sex work to be able to pay for housing. Transgender individuals experience and hear of violence against them, which creates an ongoing sense of fear of violence, whether experienced or not. Many do not access services out fear of being attacked. The lack of housing and safety has a potential impact on their accessing needed services and overall quality of life.
There is great sense of self and an ability to be authentic and embrace who they are. This often comes with the loss of friends and family who may not understand the trans experience. The trans community shows generosity and empathy; transgender individuals are willing to share and open themselves, being vulnerable to support others who may be struggling as well.
Trans individuals are skilled at supporting each other and communicating with each other as result of having similar lived experiences. Participants said their best experiences in a health care setting were when those serving them looked like them. They believe mentoring and peer programs would be beneficial in supporting their overall health. Such programs would continue to build on the strength of the trans community.