TransHaven (incorporated as TransHaven Missouri) came into being on the evening of June 26th, 2009 when a phone call was received from trans woman in Central Missouri who was looking for somewhere to stay, she had fears of violence coming from her neighbors. A group of individuals tried to find her a place to stay, but found there was no known place to suggest given the urgency of the need. From that evening, TransHaven was informally put together, given a long list of issues facing the Trans Community of Missouri. Often taken as an organization working in and for the St Louis area, TransHaven began working it’s advocacy in various manners and projects across Missouri and Southern Illinois.
TransHaven is a Board-only non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Missouri and last fall became a 501(c)3 Non-profit (Pending) organization registered with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), awaiting our final tax-exempt status. While one common belief is that TransHaven is a social services organization, it is in fact not. TransHaven’s Charter and Mission Statement is one of social justice and advocacy. While we understand the need for them, we do not provide support groups, social networking or provide references to legal and medical aid.
Instead, TransHaven works an advocacy to remove barriers, address discrimination and violence towards the Trans Community. TransHaven lobbies to the limit allowed by the IRS, supports other social justice organizations as advisors and occasionally provides lectures and training to Universities, groups and organizations to help educate them of the Trans Community.
So what are we doing? TransHaven began it’s first major step by working with PROMO and Alderman Shane Cohn, to bring Gender Identity/Gender Expression language into St Louis’ Non-Discrimination policy. We are working with the City of St Louis to help develop transitional shelters for all LGBT homeless and we are working with Missouri’s Department of Revenue to bring identity document reform for Trans individuals in Missouri. We are a member organization of the Missouri Safe School’s Coalition in an advisory role, we are lobbyist’s for the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act (MONA) in which we are working to help bring job protections to all that are LGBT in Missouri. Even more recently, we are working to bring about a fair Voter ID Act, which in it’s present form, may take away the right to vote for many trans-identified individuals.
But we aren’t done. When the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) report came out this past February, we requested the specific data for Missouri from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and decided we wanted more from more people. So we developed our own survey based upon that and one done by TransOhio and hope to reach out to the finite corners of Missouri and capture those that did not participate in the NTDS. From our survey and the data from the NTDS, TransHaven will develop our own Policy Priority on helping to remove barriers of the Trans Community in Missouri.
TransHaven – Advocates for Trans Equality