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Trans Continental Pipeline seeks to help in hate states to LGBTQ+ friendly Colorado

In a landscape marked by uncertainty and increasing threats to LGBTQ+ rights across the United States, there is a grassroots effort to assist people to move away from hostile areas to LGBTQ+-friendly Colorado.

Keira Richards, a trans woman and executive director of the Trans Continental Pipeline, says their mission is to give queer people options regarding relocation, should that be something they are interested in.

“We have a four-step program and can provide logistical, financial, and social support for a move,” Richards explained. “I wanted to make our resources known to those who may need them in Utah, especially given the precarious legal status of trans individuals.”

Originating from humble beginnings on Tinder, TCP has evolved into a support system for queer individuals navigating the challenging terrain of relocation.

The genesis of TCP stemmed from a recognition of the urgent need to assist LGBTQ+ individuals, especially trans and gender-nonconforming people, to escape hostile environments. With the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and a deteriorating cultural climate in states like Texas, Florida, and Utah, many find themselves in dire situations, resorting to hasty moves and uncertain futures.

The founder of TCP, whose identity remains anonymous, recounts the harrowing experiences shared by new arrivals, from purchasing one-way tickets to sleeping in cars upon arrival in Colorado. These stories underscored the imperative for a more organized and expansive support network. Thus, TCP seeks to transition from a grassroots initiative to a formal nonprofit entity.

The urgency of TCP’s mission is underscored by sobering statistics and ongoing threats to LGBTQ+ rights nationwide. With only 13 states considered “safe” for trans individuals and over 400 anti-trans bills presented in state legislatures within the first six weeks of 2024, the need for sanctuary, organizers say, is undeniable. Moreover, the specter of potential federal anti-LGBTQ+ measures looms large, amplifying the sense of insecurity and prompting preemptive migration.

“The interpretation of the 14th amendment that led to Roe v Wade being overturned could be applied to Obergefell v. Hodges, causing the immediate ban of gay marriage in 35 states due to trigger laws in place,” organizers wrote. Utah is among those states that have not removed marriage as solely between “one man and one woman.”

Recognizing the financial barriers inherent in relocation, TCP aims to alleviate the burden through a multifaceted approach. From microgrant programs to logistical assistance with housing and employment, the organization strives to make the journey to Colorado more feasible for those in need. Yet, TCP’s commitment extends beyond physical relocation, encompassing the crucial task of fostering community connections and providing ongoing support.

The TCP project unfolds in four distinct steps, each tailored to address different facets of the relocation process. Beginning with decision-making resources and culminating in community integration initiatives, TCP endeavors to accompany individuals every step of the way. Through partnerships with local organizations and the cultivation of a supportive network, TCP seeks to ensure that no LGBTQ+ individual feels isolated or unsupported in their new environment.

Looking ahead, TCP envisions further expansion and collaboration within Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community, drawing upon the expertise and resources of established organizations and affinity groups. By bridging the gap between newcomers and existing networks, TCP endeavors to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all.

More information on the project can be found at tcpipeline.org.

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