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Empowering the trans community: the story of Trans United
June 24, 2021
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Dollars deposited at Amalgamated are directly lent out to businesses and organizations that take corporate social responsibility seriously. The clients we serve are values-aligned organizations that we’re proud to do business with and support their efforts to make the world a better place.

The trans community has long endured discrimination and exclusion from various institutions, policies that protect basic rights, and cultural narratives. In recent years, however, the trans community has made tremendous strides in raising awareness to validate the true identities of transgender and gender expansive people in our society. While more celebrities came out as trans, gender fluid, or with a multitude of other gender identities, this gave way to a slow trickle-down effect of cultural acceptance and new understandings of what gender is and can be.

In tandem to this, when cultural “norms” are fundamentally challenged, this is often met with fear-fueled hatred. While the trans community continues to fight for basic rights and inclusion, this has been countered by a sharp uptick in transphobia and anti-trans legislation.

Trans United, a proud client of Amalgamated Bank, is led by trans and gender-expansive people, with a majority of board members being trans women of color. They are a nonprofit community of leaders who have incubated, provided fiscal leadership, and organizational development to nearly two dozen trans-led grassroots groups over the years. Their aim is to build the collective capacity of the trans community and to improve the lives of transgender people, families, and allies.

Trans United takes an intersectional approach to understanding the various needs, experiences, and journeys of the trans community, which is reflected in their diverse team of leaders.

“Trans and gender expansive leaders have been fighting for our lives - and often for the lives of other oppressed people - for decades,” said Daye Pope, Organizing Director from Trans United. “These efforts have often been led by the very trans and gender expansive people who have been forced to the edges of marginalization - youth, immigrants, women and femmes, genderqueer and gender expansive people, people of color, poor and working-class people, those that hold a multitude of these identities and others.”

Trans United has also trained hundreds of community members on how to run for office, registered hundreds of trans and nonbinary people to vote, and worked with partners to release key policy briefs that are helping elected officials make key changes to public policy that benefit the most marginalized in our communities.

“By centering the most marginalized, staying in constant and genuine relationship with grassroots community members and leaders, and a commitment to remain completely trans and gender-expansive led and focused,” explains Daye, “we bring as many of the experiences, perspectives, and types of brilliance to the work as possible in everything we do.”

Alongside their work to build up other trans leaders, organizations and institutions through fiscal support and educational programming, Trans United’s political arm, the Trans United Fund, has helped to double the number of trans candidates elected in the U.S. and has made dozens of trans candidates for public office competitive as they work to change culture and win seats at decision making tables across the country.

With powerful objectives such as these, it was of utmost importance to find a values-aligned banking partner like Amalgamated Bank.

“To have a banking institution that shares our values, is pro-labor, and is flexible with our needs has been incredible,” said Daye. “We are proud that we are able to do our work knowing that where our money is held is not supporting interests counter to our own, and that we genuinely have allies within our banking institution who can work with us for our unique needs as trans and nonbinary people.”

Much of the work at Trans United includes fund-raising to support their initiatives. Having access to Amalgamated Bank’s financial skills, tools, and accounts has helped both Trans United and many of the groups that they have fiscally sponsored and trained over the years to be able to establish themselves with greater independence, autonomy, and effectiveness.

“Knowing that we have real relationships with bank staff instead of a large and impersonal bureaucracy has helped Trans United and our partners do the work we need to do with the urgency that it requires, while knowing Amalgamated will support us and work with us when there is a quick turnaround or we need extra support and information,” said Daye.

This year in particular has been a very challenging year for the trans community, and Trans United. Many advocates are calling 2021 a record-breaking year for anti-trans legislation, with over 100 bills having been introduced by at least 33 states that aim to curb the rights of transgender people across the country.1 A majority of the bills seem to target transgender youth, a group that according to research is already susceptible to high rates of suicide and depression.The trans community needs to know they are supported, accepted, and loved, now more than ever.

We are proud to support Trans United in their work to empower, strengthen, and protect the entire trans community. If you are interested in supporting their work with us, we encourage you to visit their website for more information and donate to their cause.