IntraSpectrum Counseling applauds Chicago House for the development of the TransLife Project. According to Chicago House, “The mission of the new TransLife Project is to provide a trans-specific employment support program, fixed and scattered site housing for transgender persons, and linkage to culturally-competent healthcare and social services. In meeting our vision, we will provide direct services and utilize partnerships and collaborations to help transgender persons overcome poverty and reduce their risks of experiencing homelessness, underemployment, violence, health disparities, and HIV infection” (chicagohouse.org/translife.html).
As a result of this program, the December 2012/January 2013 edition of The Advocate reports that Chicago House “offers the nation’s most comprehensive services for trans people.” As Chicago House CEO Stan Sloan told Trudy Ring, Advocate reporter, they “saw how big the gaps in service were for transgender people,” and they are actively working to connect trans people with the most appropriate services for their needs. Unfortunately, due to the prevalent transphobia and resultant stigmatization, trans people often face daunting hardships. Sloan provided Ring with some alarming data: 20% of trans people have “experienced homelessness.” Furthermore, “they are four times as likely than other Americans to live in extreme poverty (on less than $2,000 a year), and an estimated 41% have attempted suicide” (Ring 12). This project hopes to help reduce these numbers.
An additional challenge some trans people face is living with HIV. While Chicago House will work with trans clients regardless of HIV-status, an additional aspect of TransLife Project is to help HIV-positive clients receive proper medical care. By doing so, Chicago House will receive $300,000 annually for the next five years.
The gay and lesbian therapists at Chicago based IntraSpectrum Counseling understand the urgent need for increased support for the trans community. As more programs like the TransLife Project emerge and additional educational initiatives expand to other communities, awareness and understanding of trans issues will improve. In turn, transphobia will decrease, and diversity will be embraced.