T ransgender A merican
V eterans A ssociation

National Center for Transgender Equality
Media Adisory

For Immediate Release
September 9, 2005
Contact:  Mara Keisling
Phone:  (202) 639-6331

Guidelines for Evacuation Shelters is Released
Making Shelters Safe for Transgender Evacuees aims to assist shelters in serving transgender evacuees

Washington, DC, September 9, 2005 -- The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) has released a one-page document with guidelines for shelters, entitled Making Shelters Safe for Transgender Evacuees.   The document was a joint project of Lambda Legal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and NCTE.  The organizations hope this document provides useful information for shelters around the country who are housing transgender people impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

Every effort will be made to ensure that the publication will reach shelters, LGBT community centers and transgender support groups in effected areas.  Topics covered include respecting an evacuee’s stated name and gender, maintaining privacy around a person’s transgender status, and safe and dignified access to bathrooms and shower facilities.  NCTE is asking activists and allies in the states housing evacuees to ensure the local shelter has this document by hand delivering copies to shelters.

According to NCTE Executive Director, Mara Keisling, this document is urgently needed.   “Unfortunately, we already know of at least two transgender women who have faced intolerable circumstances in shelters in Texas.  In the case of one of the women, she was arrested and held on $6,000 bail in isolation in jail for six days for taking a shower.  No one should have to face that,” she said.

The document refers readers seeking additional assistance and referrals to Lambda Legal’s National Help Desks in Dallas at (214) 219-8585 or in Atlanta at (404) 897-1880.   Lambda can help with legal issues, provide information about local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community centers that can help LGBT evacuees, and provide information relating to hormones and other prescription drugs including HIV/AIDS medication.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (The Task Force) contributed to the document using their expertise in making homeless shelters safe for transgender people.  The 2004 manual, Transitioning Our Shelters:   A Guide to Making Homeless Shelters Safe for Transgender People produced by the Task Force and the National Coalition for the Homeless has helped innumerable homeless shelters learn to house transgender people more humanely.

Transgender people or others who are facing difficulties with evacuation shelters may contact NCTE at 202-639-6332 or ncte@nctequality.org .

Making Shelters Safe for Transgender Evacuees is attached as a pdf and available for download on NCTE’s website at http://www.nctequality.org .

For The Task Force’s publication devoted to making all shelters safe for transgender people, see Transitioning Our Shelters:  A Guide to Making Homeless Shelters Safe for Transgender People at http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/TransHomeless.pdf .

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The National Center for Transgender Equality is a social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people.  By empowering transgender people and out allies to educate and influence policymakers and others, NCTE facilitates a strong and clear voice for transgender equality in our nation’s capital and around the country.

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