Pictured: (left) Lauryn Reeder, Tranzmission Social Justice Director, (right) Marsha Davis, Tranzmission Board of Directors member.
Since 2001, Tranzmission has been dedicated to improving the lives of nonbinary and transgender people in Western North Carolina. In 2018, it received one of Buncombe County’s Tipping Point Grants, a $5,000 investment given to local organizations to assist them in making our community safer and healthier for all. Tranzmission supplies much needed services for Buncombe County’s trans population, including access to support groups (Transformers), youth and family programs, training for everyone from health care providers, educational institutes, religious communities, nonprofits, and businesses, and they also offer many advocacy programs including the Name Change Project.
According to Marsha Davis, a member of the Tranzmission Board of Directors, “It’s a big deal to make sure that folks are not just getting support but access to direct services. For example, the Name Change Project offers assistance through the entire process of a name change, including travel to the DMV.” Davis continued, “[Tranzmission] also trains organizations to be supportive and trans-affirming. The three things we focus on are: education, advocacy, and support, but we also strive to create community leaders through our programs to continue our progress.”
“I think that most of all we just need safe spaces in this town to have community with each other, and with general support groups and trans support groups we are addressing that need slowly but surely,” said Lauryn Reeder, Social Justice Director for Tranzmission. “I think another thing is helping people get access to things like hormones and name changes, and trying to branch out into the state more.”
With the help of the Tipping Point Grant, Tranzmission hopes to expand its services and come up with more ways to make positive changes to our local trans community, especially for women of color. “The average life expectancy for trans women of color is 35 years old – most of that happens because of anti-trans violence – also, shelters are difficult for trans populations and many youths are kicked out of their home when they come out, so homeless is a big issue,” said Davis. “Financially assisting our trans community could mean the difference between a safe space and an unsafe space to live.”
Tipping Point Grants are small grants to help amplify community efforts. The grants are awarded for $5,000 per project. These grants will either fuel what is already happening or allow organizations or groups to develop their own local projects that create pathways to greater resiliency in your community. These are actions that will stack positive factors, such as stronger connection, communication, and development of our community leaders, while offloading negative factors like isolation, hopelessness, and violence. These initiatives help build out a resource grid in our community that enables all of us to be safer and healthier.
To learn more about Tranzmission, you can visit its website or follow on Facebook. Its website offers local resources that are trans-friendly such as medical practices, therapy, legal services, vocal training, and hormone testing. For more information about the Tipping Point Grants, or if you think you have an idea to make your community better, you can learn more and find the application process at the County’s grant website.