Earlier this week we discussed what allies of the Trans community can do to help be good allies, with how Texas is getting progressively more legislatively treacherous for them. This brought up the question that we see online a lot recently, “If you don’t like living there, why don’t you just move?” Most of the time this gets brought up as a thought-terminating cliché, but I wanted to address it seriously as an option – can you just move away from oppression?

Linked here is an excellent map by Erin Reed, who has compiled a list of states by how badly their laws target Trans people: https://www.erininthemorning.com/p/may-anti-trans-legislative-risk-map. The south, to put it mildly, is a danger zone. Texas may not be in as dire a place as Florida, but that’s like saying that summer in Texas isn’t as dire as summer in Death Valley.

Moving states is no simple matter, you’re uprooting your entire life – and the more roots you have, the harder it is. It costs many thousands of dollars to get moving trucks to get your possessions moved to the Pacific Northwest or New England. You’ll need first and last months rent for your new apartment, or a down payment if you want to buy a home. If you have a work-from-home job you may be able to keep your employment, but most folks will need to hunt for a new job in that region. If you don’t have a support structure in the area, you could be leaving behind the only safety net that you have. If you have a family and children that you need to bring with you, multiply that difficulty again and start hunting for good schools or hope that wherever you land is good enough.

You’re not totally on your own in this, there are organizations out there who can help. The Human Rights Campaign resource page (https://www.hrc.org/resources/emergency-funds-for-relocating-families) can get you in touch with non-profits that may have funds you qualify for. Gofundme and similar websites are another good option, you may not get everything you need but even a little bit can help.

That’s a lot of words to say, WOW it is hard to move states. But if you can pull it off, and the circumstances of your life allow for it, moving to a blue state is by far the safest option. The states with strong protections for Trans people also tend towards having populations that are much more LGBT+ friendly in general. Rural areas may still be touchy about it, and you should definitely research the local community you move to in advance, but your odds of living as your true self are much better when the law is on your side.

Most LGBTQ people won’t be able to pack up and move to a safer place. It isn’t just about the money- we have friends and family we can’t leave behind or we want to stay and fight for our rights in the place we call home.

If you stay, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones. Get your documents in order; change your gender marker on your birth certificate, get your will and medical power of attorney updated, and keep yourself informed. 

If you have questions about what protections will help you and your families, reach out for a free short consultation.