How the Unspoken Treasure Society fights to protect trans lives.
(Valerie Muzondi / Rowdy Magazine Art Director)
Being your true, authentic self is one of the best feelings in the world, but for some this can be a death sentence.
Transgender people have been facing violence at an alarming rate in America. By August, at least 28 trans people had already been murdered, already surpassing the 27 murdered in all of 2019. Although, the true number is unknown since these crimes often go unreported or misreported.
Trans people are more likely to be verbally harassed, physically attacked or denied equal treatment than their cisgender counterparts, specifically Black and Latinx transgender women.
A 2015 report showed that of 28,000 respondents 33% had been mistreated when seeking health care, 46% had been verbally abused and 9% were physically attacked for being trans. One of the most upsetting findings was that 40% of respondents had attempted suicide in their lifetime - nearly nine times the rate of the US population (4.6%).
Access to safe and affordable housing, resources and a community that protects one another is crucial to ensure the safety of the trans and non-binary community. The Unspoken Treasure Society is here to help.
What is the Unspoken Treasure Society?
Founded in 2018 by Natalia Dupree, Unspoken Treasure aims to provide support and resources, as well as unify the trans and non-binary community.
When Dupree returned to Gainesville in 2013 she said she was shocked to find there was no structured group to provide support in her troubled times. She had run into a bit of trouble and was battling a drug addiction, but she wanted to transition into being a pillar of society.
She knew there were others out there like her who needed a support team. So, she decided she needed to form her own group.
In a separate interview in August, Dupree told Rowdy, “Honestly, I don’t have any sense of security. Being a public figure who advocates for the trans community and minorities of color, I always have to watch my back. But before myself, I have to watch out for my trans youth. I would die if it meant I’d be keeping them safe.”
Unspoken Treasure provides health education, HIV testing and PrEP (a medication for those who are at high risk for HIV) and counseling services.
They also provide temporary housing to those in emergency situations. Assessments are done to provide these individuals with a backup plan to help get them back on their feet.
Unspoken Treasure is working to partner with TranQuility and the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida to provide transitional housing to help more trans people gain access to the safety and privacy they deserve.
The ultimate goal is to unify the community. Dupree said she believes there’s no reason to tear one another down — unity is the only thing that will move the community in the right direction.
Want to get involved?
Unspoken Treasure has monthly meetings (both in-person and virtual) that provide a safe space for the trans community to congregate, speak on their feelings and suggest events.
If you’d like to attend any of these meetings you can contact them through their website. They also have meetings that are open to allies.
After a successful Black Trans Lives Matter Inclusive Rally in Gainesville on July 20th (which is also Black Lives Matter and Trans Inclusive Movement Day in Gainesville), Unspoken Treasure has expanded its community and has organized another rally in Duval County on September 29th.
Rachel Kutcher is a Staff Writer for Rowdy Magazine. She loves the rain, candles, drinking wine, collecting jars and New Girl's Nick Miller. Her passions include destigmatizing sex, empowering women and sustainability.