People who are transgender or gender non-conforming experience systemic discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare, and often in our own families and communities. One of the consequences of this discrimination is that trans/GNC people are much more likely than average to participate in street-based economies like sex work (either by choice or to survive) as well as to use drugs (often specifically as a way to cope with gender-based trauma in their lives). Even among other people who use drugs/do sex work, trans/GNC people are especially marginalized and vulnerable – we are more vulnerable to structural violence like incarceration, to interpersonal violence from partners or clients, and more vulnerable to negative health outcomes like accidental overdose, HIV, and viral hepatitis. Among people who use drugs, people who identify as LGBTQ have been shown to be more likely to experience an overdose. Among sex workers, trans people (specifically trans women) are more likely to experience violence – in 2015, 12 of 41 sex workers murdered in the United States were trans women (29% of sex worker homicides), and 11 were trans women of color. For these reasons, NCHRC believes that advocacy for the rights of transgender people should be a core value of harm reduction, and that all harm reduction services should be trans-inclusive.
NCHRC & Trans Health
NCHRC hosts regular harm reduction-based, peer support groups for trans and gender-nonconforming people in Durham and Orange County. NCHRC also facilitates a peer-education network on safer hormone use and provides referrals to trans health care. NCHRC also offers training to medical, housing, treatment, and other providers on how to make their services more accessible to transgender and gender-nonconforming people.