Meet Trans Defense Fund LA: A Mutual Aid Group Providing Safety Kits to Trans Folks

Meet Trans Defense Fund LA: A Mutual Aid Group Providing Safety Kits to Trans Folks

Author: Nina Huynh Date:

Trans Defense Fund LA is a mutual aid group that was created in response to the disproportionate violence that trans women face. They provide trans folks living in Los Angeles with safety kits and through donations from individuals in our community, they have been able to supply over 1,000 individuals with safety kits to date! We have pledged to donate $1 for every play of MultitudeByMulti.com to Trans Defense Fund LA and other organizations in support of Trans and BIPOC folks as part of our larger philanthropic initiative, the Feel Good Fund.

We wanna get to know you! Introduce yourself and your position within Trans Defense Fund LA.

Hi, my name is Nikki and I created and run Trans Defense Fund LA.

When was the idea for Trans Defense Fund LA born and what inspired its formation?

2020 was a record year — at the time — for violence and killings against trans people, specifically Black and brown trans women and femmes. When a bunch of cis straight men attacked three Black and brown trans women on Hollywood Blvd. literally right down the street from where I would go to work, it hit a nerve because I knew how busy that street is and how absolutely nobody did anything to help out. When video footage surfaced showing even cop cars stopping but then driving away, leaving these women injured and unprotected, it enraged me and I wanted to take action to arm trans women with some form of self-defense to be able to walk around feeling a bit more secure. We cannot rely on those whose job it is to "protect and serve" because they actually do very little and in most cases cause even more harm and this display of that was the last straw in my eyes.

Running a mutual aid organization is no joke. There’s a lot of moving parts! How do you determine where and how to allocate funds?

It is hard. Majority of the funds go toward purchasing supplies for our self-defense kits that we distribute to BIPOC trans individuals for free. Because donations roll in very randomly and unroutinely, whatever we receive I make sure to priortize kits first. But if there is a lot left over or someone donated a large amount, I will use that to pay Black trans women. Self-defense and protection also includes well being and peace of mind, and Black trans women deserve all the coin because our society has set them up to live with financial burdens. We hear a lot about the wage gap between "men" and "women" only but people don't even realize that it's way deeper than that and that the wage gap between cis women and Black trans women is massive. It's not about hoarding wealth, it's about redistributing it.

What does the future hold for Trans Defense Fund LA?

I always want to improve what goes into our kits and I dream of being able to supply even more items but some are just really expensive. So for now, we're going to continue to provide free kits to folks and create more fun and uplifitng events just focused on celebrating trans people. I love free stuff and I love giving people free stuff so I promise all of our future events will have really good free stuff there. I'd also love to collaborate with more people, brands, and spaces just to spread more awareness and inspire more defense funds everywhere.

Please let us know how folks can help support you! Plug yourself please ☻

Follow @transdefensefundla on Instagram and check out transdefensefundla.org for more information. I'm always open to collaboration so people can also message me @pimbitch!