One local nonprofit will be awarding small, need-based grants to support transgender individuals in South Carolina struggling to keep up with expenses.

According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey conducted in 2009, more than 27 percent of transgender individuals who participated in the study lived on $20,000 a year or less. The survey, which included almost 6,500 transgender residents from all 50 states, also found that more than 15 percent of those who responded reported living on $10,000 or less annually, a rate that is double that of the national average at the time. Faced with the challenge of finding employment, those surveyed were twice as likely to struggle with finding a job. The rates of unemployment among the study group were significantly higher for transgender people of color.

In order to better ensure the general well-being of those in the transgender community, We Are Family, a Charleston-based advocacy group that provides support for LGBTQI youth, is now accepting applications for the organization’s Trans Love Fund. The ultimate goal of the program is to cover the expenses associated with the lives of transgender individuals, such as purchasing new clothing, medical costs, legal fees associated with name changes, and counseling. The Trans Love Fund will only issue checks to vendors, not individual applicants, and the fund is currently unable to go toward the cost of surgeries, revolving debt, or the purchase of a vehicle.

Applications for the Trans Love Fund are due by July 15 and can be found online at wearefamilycharleston.org/tlf/. Those wishing to donate to the fund can do so on the website. For more information, send an email to info@waf.org.

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