Today is Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), and pop diva Ariana Grande is honoring the event by uplifting trans organizations around the country.
The longtime LGBTQ ally on March 31 announced on Instagram that she had partnered with the donation platform Pledge to raise funds for 17 groups that provide direct support to trans children—including Houston’s own Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT).
“Right now, there are hundreds of disgraceful bills pending in state legislatures that target trans youth and aim to curb their rights,” Grande said, referencing the wave of nationwide attacks on trans children’s access to gender-affirming healthcare. “This will provide critical funds to organizations advocating for the rights of trans youth.”
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Grande said she would be matching the funds raised, up to $1.5 million. All donations will be split evenly between her chosen beneficiaries. In addition to TENT, the groups she has chosen are the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, Equality Florida, Gendernexus, House of Tulip, JASMYN, Lucie’s Place, One Iowa, Our Spot KC, Pride Link, Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, Tennessee Equality Project, The Knights & Orchids Society, Transformation Project Advocacy Network, Transgender Advocates Knowledgable Empowering, Transanta, Transsocial, and the Zebra Coalition.
TENT, the largest trans-led, trans-focused organization in Texas, is dedicated to furthering gender-diverse equality through education and networking in public and private forums.
“We are so excited to be one of the orgs included in Ariana Grande’s fundraising,” said Emmett Schelling, TENT’s executive director. “It’s been an incredible ray of encouragement to have an entirely new level of awareness about the [grassroots] work that TENT has been doing in Texas.”
During the 2021 Texas Legislative Session, TENT worked with activists and other advocacy groups to defeat a record number of bills targeting the trans community. Out of more than a dozen anti-trans bills filed, only a student sports ban was passed into law.
Debates questioning trans children’s rights have continued into 2022, and TENT is leading the fight against these political attacks. In February, Governor Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to conduct child-abuse investigations on families with trans children.
There are currently nine families with trans children being investigated by the State. The ACLU and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of one such family. On March 11, a Travis County district judge ruled that the state would be prohibited from investigating anyone else for gender-affirming care until “the end of any trial.”
In the meantime, TENT and its advocacy partners have been providing parents of trans kids with resources such as informational Zoom meetings and websites explaining what they need to know about Abbott’s directive to DFPS.
TDOV was founded on March 31, 2009, by trans activist Rachel Crandall to celebrate trans people’s contributions to society and to raise awareness about the hardships that the trans community faces.
“TDOV is a chance for us, as trans and nonbinary people, to show the world who we are from an authentic place, [rather than always] having to respond to the ‘newsworthy’ trauma that stigma and bias have reduced our community to,’” Schelling said. “We get a chance to showcase that we are so much more than the narrative thrust upon us—cisgender narratives that have been created about us that are coming externally from our transgender community.”
According to TENT, only 4 cents out of every $100 donated to LGBTQ organizations in the U.S. is donated to trans-led organizations.
“Now—more than ever—we need strong, supported trans-led organizations to meet the moment we all find ourselves in within this state we call home,” Shelling said.