Trans Streamers Lead Fundraiser Ahead of Landmark US Supreme Court Hearing

By Riley MacLeod on at

US-based transgender nonprofit Trans Lifeline is running a streaming fundraiser this month. This week, in tandem with several events relevant to LGBTQ rights, the lineup will consist entirely of trans streamers.

Trans Lifeline runs two programmes: a crisis line serving and staffed by trans people and a programme offering guidance and financial assistance for trans people changing their legal names and genders. The month-long streaming fundraiser, called Trans Heart October, will raise money to support that work. While people of any identity can participate, the roster this week is all trans streamers. The streams will be hosted on Trans Lifeline’s site, where interested viewers can also donate. The lineup of streamers includes Distracted Elf and the Overwatch League’s Florida Mayhem streamer Annie.

Trans streamers are the focus of this week for several reasons, Trans Lifeline says. Today, the US Supreme Court is hearing several cases related to LGBTQ workplace protections under the Civil Rights Act. This includes the case of Aimee Stephens, a trans woman who was fired from her job at a funeral home in the state of Michigan after coming out. The cases have significant legal ramifications for queer employment protections, so many trans people who like having jobs – like me – are keeping a close eye on the proceedings.

Additionally, Friday is National Coming Out Day, an event started in 1988 to encourage queer people and their allies to be vocal about their identities. October was also chosen, the organisation says, because October 17 is Spirit Day, which raises awareness about bullying among queer youth, and the end of the month is Trans Lifeline’s fifth anniversary.

Streaming fundraisers for trans causes have been popular lately. Over the weekend, podcast Chapo Traphouse raised over $15,000 (£12,278) for Trans Lifeline. Earlier this year, streamer Hbomberguy did a star-studded marathon stream that raised nearly $350,000 (£286,475) for the UK trans youth organisation Mermaids. Trans Lifeline Director of Development Bri Barnett told me, “We picked streaming because we are an international organisation with staff and volunteers from across the US and Canada; this makes physical celebrations more limited because they can only engage part of our community. Streaming allows people from across North America to participate as viewers and streamers. Another reason is that digital spaces have always been places where trans people gather to learn about ourselves and see affirming models of how they can turn-out…We think those spaces are important and worth uplifting.”

It’s especially nice for me to see trans streamers raising money for a trans organisation. While streams done by allies have garnered a lot of attention and vital donations, it’s a relief to see a real effort to centre trans people in their own fight. I love to see my community supporting each other, especially during such an important moment for trans and queer rights.

Featured image: Trans Lifeline