Baltimore's elders are arguably our second most endangered species and our most under utilized natural resource, topped only by our young people of color. In our LGBTQIA communities, the problem is multiplied exponentially. Young transgender and queer-identified people suffer from higher levels of homelessness, discrimination, abuse, violence, and death on our streets than their non-trans or queer counterparts. Transgender and queer elders suffer silently with unreported abuses, stigmatization, and discrimination. Many live in fear of reprisal or loss of housing security if they report the perpetrators. We believe that Bridging the Gap provides a way to address some of the issues that face our youth while providing much needed help for our elders. In July of this year our organization received a grant that allowed us to begin hiring young transgender and queer-identified people as paid interns who in turn work with trans and queer elders in our community whom we've located through community centers, social media, word-of-mouth, whatever means possible to make our service known. The interns provide services such as: escorting elders to appointments, shopping, providing companionship, grooming, and preparing meals if asked. So far, we have provided services for 6 elders and have hired 4 transgender women as interns. Our goal for 2017 is is to employ interns at every level of employment, starting with 12 this year and expanding the number each year. We believe that Bridging the gap will provide the opportunity for our youth to develop marketable skills while under the tutelage of our organization, while providing needed services to our elderly. We also believe that Bridging the Gap is a project that be replicated across all demographics, not just trans and queer communities, but all communities, and not just in Baltimore, but everywhere.
Funded by Baltimore, MD (October 2017)