Press Release

San Francisco’s Office of Transgender Initiatives Launches Transgender Health and Wellness Campaign with Community Partners

After four years of setbacks, the trans community sets new priorities and introduces trans wellness campaign to address needs during the COVID pandemic and beyond.

San Francisco, CA (Wednesday, February 10, 2021) Today the San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives, the first and only trans-led city department working to advance equity for transgender, gender nonconforming and LGBTQ communities, along with the SF Bay Area LGBTQ COVID Relief Coalition, launched the Trans Wellness SF campaign. It is a collaborative and multi-phase initiative that aims to improve the health and mental well-being of transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) communities, a crisis-level issue exacerbated by the  COVID-19 pandemic.  

A December 2020 report from the Movement Advancement Project highlighted the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ community. Since the pandemic began, 64 percent of LGBTQ people and their families experienced a job loss or disruption; 38 percent of households were unable to access necessary medical care.

Over the last year, TGNC communities have been severely impacted by the pandemic, and similar to the general population, it has had a greater impact on Latinx and Black trans and gender nonconforming residents. This is due to existing long standing inequities and higher prevalence of underlying health conditions that make TGNC communities much more vulnerable to the virus. Access to wellness programs can be disparate depending on where one lives, and the stigma associated with getting help often becomes a roadblock. 

The 2021 Trans Wellness SF campaign will include a series of community efforts that help address these barriers. Foundational to this campaign will be a national effort to gather more data on the experience of trans people. Policymakers and LGBTQ organizations often lack insight to better understand barriers TGNC communities face when they seek critical services. 

To address this, we are announcing today:    

  • A Regional San Francisco Bay Area Trans  Survey, that will assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the trans community, while identifying barriers  in essential services, including testing, vaccine access and information, medical, and mental health services. The insights will become critical in helping inform new program development, public education efforts, and investment areas. The survey is available here. 

  • An advisory committee of TGNC health and wellness experts will deliver an initial assessment of existing healthcare, wellness and mental health services. This will help identify barriers to care, gaps in services, and support the collaborative building of a series of community recommendations that will be shared with City leadership, departments, and community organizations. Learn more at transwellnesssf.org.   

Through the leadership of Mayor London Breed, the City of San Francisco has also made a historic investment of over $5 million annually to support critical and life-saving trans community services including housing, employment, education, violence prevention, health and wellness programs. Learn more about these investments here.

“The pandemic has been devastating on transgender communities across the country; the impact has compounded existing health disparities and barriers to healthcare, mental health, and essential services,” said Clair Farley, Director of the Office of Transgender Initiatives. “That is why the Trans Wellness SF initiative is needed now more than ever to address barriers and longstanding inequities in both physical and mental health services, as well as assure those most impacted by the pandemic get the resources they need.” 

In March of 2020, when San Francisco Stay Home order went into effect, the office joined with Bay Area trans and LGBTQ organizations working on the front lines of the pandemic to launch the SF Bay Area LGBTQ COVID Relief Coalition to respond to the pandemic, share public health guidance, food relief, financial relief, emergency housing and assure community was getting access to essential services. The coalition has provided emergency food and cash relief to over 500 Bay Area TGNC residents impacted by the pandemic. 

For more information about the services offered by the SF Office of Transgender Initiatives, please visit here. And to learn more about the Trans Wellness 2021 campaign, visit here.