First comprehensive transgender housing center in the nation opens in Chicago

July 15, 2013

(Shannon Heffernan/WBEZ)
The first housing facility in the country to offer full wrap-around services for transgender people opened on Chicago’s far North Side. Stormie Williams cut the ribbon for the center’s opening.

Reverend Stan Sloan sat in the freshly designed living room of the new TransLife Center.  As CEO of Chicago House he spent years in this home, running it as an  AIDS hospice, “These beautiful wooden floors were covered with linoleum because we had IV drips and blood and everything that came with AIDS in the early days.”

Sloan says thousands of gay men died with dignity in this home. Now he hopes it will help transgender people live with dignity.  The center will provide housing, medical services, legal services, and employment training with many staff coming from the transgender community.

Mara Keisling founded the National Center for Transgender Equality. “It’s such an honor that now it’s going to be dedicated to trans people, helping trans people.”

Lana Wachowski attended the opening. She said she had observed transgender homelessness in her neighborhood. “Often LGBT people, especially the T’s, are in need of family,” she said.  Wachowski said that this center recognizes that family extends beyond just our blood and kin.

Stormie Williams cut the ribbon for the opening. She will be one of the first residents and has already found employment with help from the staff. “I know there are more things to come,” she said.

Shannon Heffernan is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her at @shannon_h

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