The Problem

TGNCIQ people of color face multiple barriers to dignity and safety.

Queer folks in our community — many of whom fled violence in their countries of origin — experience isolation, disproportionate levels of poverty, the threat of homophobic violence, and discrimination on a daily basis.  In a recent survey of New York residents, 17% of respondents reported being denied access to medical care because of their gender expression.

Transgender New Yorkers of color are particularly vulnerable to hate violence and discrimination. There has been an unprecedented number of hate violence directed at transgender latina women in Jackson Heights, Queens over the past two years – there were more than 15 attacks in 2017 alone. Undocumented trans workers face higher rates of workplace violence than any other group. To make matters worse, local police officers target the trans community instead of protecting it. When queer people seek help, they find a number of obstacles – in addition to homophobia and transphobia – including a lack of interpretation and translation services.

See the Solution
The Solution

Standing with TGNCIQ New Yorkers

Make the Road New York is a space of warmth, safety, and support for our TGNCIQ community members. Members gather with peers in a confidential space of mutual  support. Our TGNCIQ program is one of the few in New York City that is led and constituted by low-income TGNCIQ people of color, most of whom are immigrants and young people.

Our deep ties in the translatina community in Queens, and to the larger immigrant organizing community, allows us to address the unique and multifaceted challenges facing immigrant, undocumented, and Latinx trans people. We offer regular political education and skills trainings in topics ranging from public speaking to ending the school-to-prison pipeline. Our staff who include TGNCIQ people of color from the community,  spend up to half their time working one-on-one with members to provide emotional support and coaching in skills development so they can meet their goals.

of TGNCIQ New Yorkers
reported being fired solely because of their gender expression
Fast Facts
  • We provide survivors of TGNCIQ hate violence with emotional and legal support, and express solidarity through marches and rallies joined by hundreds.
  • After a decade-long fight, we won the expansion of Medicaid to cover critical healthcare for trans people.
  • We led the successful campaign to end the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution in New York City, curtailing the police’s ability to unfairly target trans women carrying condoms.
  • After years of organizing with allies, Mayor de Blasio signed an Executive Order that protects the right to use City-owned restrooms that align with one’s gender identity.
U-Visa claim paves path to citizenship for thousands

Our TGNCIQ Justice Project won a victory on behalf of a transgender client who was sexually harassed, bullied, and subsequently fired without cause by her employer. While working to file a discrimination claim on her behalf at Citizens Commission on Human Rights, we discovered that she was not being paid overtime by her employer. We filed an employment-related complaint and subsequently resolved her claims for more than 6 times the amount initially offered.  

We also helped her change her legal name to her preferred name, and secured a U-visa certification from the NYC Commission on Human Rights based on the abuse she suffered. This is one of the first of its kind and an important step in allowing her to apply for a U-Visa, which paves the way for thousands of other trans immigrants.

Support TGNCIQ leaders in in our fight for dignity and safety.

Related Links

Transgender Forum Fact Sheets
Read more
Solutions Out of Struggle and Survival: A Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Policy Brief for NYC
Read more
Policing & Criminal Justice
Read more

Related Press

Buzzfeed News

New York Could Become The First State To Fully Decriminalize Sex Work

New York legislators introduced a bill Monday aimed at placing the state in the vanguard of a growing sex workers’ rights movement. New York could become the first state to decriminalize sex work after a group of progressive legislators introduced a sweeping bill Monday aimed at placing the state in the vanguard of a growing…


This Is How Sex Workers Will Change the Law

More than 100 sex workers, trafficking survivors, and advocates traveled to Albany, New York, on Tuesday to lobby state lawmakers on legislation that could pave the way to the full decriminalization of sex work in the state. After a packed rally on the Capitol’s ornate Million Dollar Staircase, the throng broke up into 18 small…

Queens Daily Eagle

DA Candidates Stake Out Positions on Sex Work Decriminalization

Jennifer Orellana, a transgender woman and former sex worker from Jackson Heights, asked six of the seven announced candidates for Queens District Attorney to clarify their position on the decriminalization of sex work — an increasingly mainstream topic — at a packed forum at CUNY Law School Tuesday night. Candidates’ responses ranged: from a willingness…