DENVER, Colorado — The Transgender Center of the Rockies is considered a safe haven for those who identify as transgender and nonbinary. The center offers counseling, adult therapy groups, therapy and other mental health services.
The center provides service to those who are continually marginalized, often targeted for their gender orientation.
"There is so, so much that the trans community faces," said Elliott Weil, who serves as a Program Coordinator at the center. "A lot of being trans is learning to speak up for yourself and try to navigate doing that in a safe way, unfortunately."
Because of the hateful comments that he receives, Weil said he will change his outer appearance to become less of a target.
"That manifests in when I’m taking a road trip across the country with my partner. If I’m stopping at a gas station, I take my earrings off, I don’t have my nails painted. I just dull myself and that is necessary," Weil said.
Those in the trans community are often faced with violent crimes and actions against them. The Williams Institute, connected to UCLA, found in a 2021 study that transgender people are more than four times more likely than cisgender people to experience victimization. Households with a transgender person had higher rates of property victimization than cisgender households, and one in four transgender women victimized believed the incident was a hate crime.
"Trans people are dealing with a multitude of extra hardships just from lifelong marginalization and lifelong hostility -- issues that the rest of us take for granted and the rest of us don’t have to worry about," center director Dr. April Owen said.
Owen said the rates of violence against trans women of color are even worse when you break down the numbers.
In 2022, so far, 34 transgender people were shot or killed by other violent means. In previous years from data collected, the majority of those who lost their lives were Black and Latinx transgender women of color specifically.
If you would like to access mental health resources through the center, they try not to turn anyone away even if they cannot afford the services. The center accepts Medicaid and has a sliding-scale cost system to make the services more affordable. The community events they hold are often free unless otherwise stated.
As the center continues to support the LGBTQ+ community in the wake of the Club Q shooting, you can support them by donating to their gender-affirming closet. Right now, their needs include larger band bras, new packers, smaller-sized "masculine" shoes, unopened makeup, toiletries, hygiene products, breast forms and dilator sets.
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