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Diversity Richmond’s Care Package Program Seeks To Make Transitions Less Difficult (UPDATED)

Care packages will help with the million tiny difficulties inherent in gender transitions.

Nidhi Sharma | March 19, 2018

UPDATE, 3/19: Diversity Richmond’s Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Care Package Program has gone live as of late last week. A request form for one of these packages can be found here. A note on the request form states that “these packages are available to anyone who is in need of transition-related items regardless of their gender identity, expression, or sex assigned at birth,” so any transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming people who are in need of assistance with transition are encouraged to fill out the request form to receive basic needs like clothing and first aid equipment.

Original article, dated Dec. 1, 2017, follows:

Anyone undergoing a gender transition is faced with difficulties. Obtaining medical treatment and dealing with social stigmatization are the most obvious, but the little things, from buying a new wardrobe to covering minor medical costs, can just as troublesome for many in the transgender community.

This month, to address this need, Diversity Richmond started the Trans & GNC Care Package Program, dedicated to providing care packages for trans and gender nonconforming individuals in Richmond. The program, founded by VCU student Taylor Davis, offers five different kits for feminine, masculine, menstrual, medical, and postoperative care. Items include gender-specific clothing and undergarments, makeup, ice packs, bandages, toiletries, and more.

“The care packages are built to provide help for both the social side of transitioning, and also the medical and practical side,” Davis said. “They are readily available for anyone who needs them.”

Davis was inspired to start the program after seeing similar projects nationwide. Many of them, however, had very little funding or very long waitlists. “I know some people who have been trying to get through to these programs, and they end up waiting for months and months,” they said. “It was frustrating, because they needed these items sooner rather than later.”

Davis soon realized that with a small community like Richmond, it would be possible to get necessary items out much more quickly than on a national scale. And with that, Diversity Richmond’s care package program was born.

“When you look at the level of costs that come with being a transgender or nonconforming individual, it’s very high.” Davis said. “Insurance often doesn’t cover medical procedures; there is job discrimination, housing discrimination. Many individuals end up not being able to pay for simple things like clothes or tampons, especially if they’re young and might have been disowned by their families.”

According to Davis, the program aims to increase the economic justice in Richmond’s communities and to provide social and financial support to transgender and gender nonconforming people that might not have it otherwise.

“I hope that people who can’t get these items are able to get them through this program,” Davis said. “I’m also hoping to increase awareness about the kind of things that people aren’t able to afford. I want to create understanding within our community. I want people to feel comfortable in their bodies and feel accepted in their gender identity.”

To donate items to the transgender and gender nonconforming care package program, contact Taylor Davis at davistm6@vcu.edu. For a full list of items needed for the care packages, click here.