Since its inception in 2018, SafeHouse has been our program providing direct support to TwoSpirit, Trans, and Gender Diverse (2STGD) survivors of gender-based violence and crime in WA State. Combining government funding and mutual-aid funds to flexibly support as many people as possible, SafeHouse has sheltered 189 people and given $125,000 in flexible financial assistance microgrants to support 2STGD survivors accessing safety. Our advocates have also supported countless others with resource navigation, safety planning support, and relocation after the passage of anti-trans laws in outside states.
The name SafeHouse originated as a reference to early gender-based violence (GBV) prevention programs. “Safe houses,” usually in peoples’ home living rooms, were a place for survivors to escape violence and begin the healing process. Similarly, our SafeHouse program began as a physical space, connected to our office in Capitol Hill.
Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, we have closed our physical office location and have been an all-remote organization since 2020, shifting to support survivors accessing physical safety primarily through hotel and Airbnb stays. Three years later, it’s now time that we shift our language to more accurately reflect this new iteration of our work to support survivors.
As an organization and a staff with a background in community organizing, it felt appropriate to return to these roots as we chose a new name for our program. We decided to reclaim the word ‘security,’ harkening back to this guidepost as a long-term goal we’ve worked towards for 2STGD survivors and community over the past 10 years.
Beyond immediate safety, we deserve security: physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
Community security is how we liberate ourselves and one another from financial destitution and reliance on financial institutions. A decentralization of systemic security models in contrast to white supremacist models of policing, community security uplifts community members to take on the responsibility of providers and shapers of security within our own communities.
Hereby known as our Community Security Program (CSP), CSP will continue the work we have always done to support 2STGD survivors of violence and crime through temporary shelter, flexible financial assistance, resource navigation, and safety planning—but now with an increased capacity for supporting survivorship.
Program Director Ganesha Gold Buffalo shares:
“In finding a name that adequately framed the evolution of our programming, it dawned on me that the work I have done in grassroots organizing for my communities—Black Indigenous, Trans, TwoSpirit, Disabled, Youth, Poor—over the years revolved around the intricacies of security and redefining our relationship to it. In this way, Community Security represents the reclamation of protections back from police and the carceral system, as well as moving into understanding more radical and ancestral modalities of by-and-for safety protocols and principles that uphold the autonomy of communities.
“The aforementioned communities have always provided for themselves in this way and we see how capable they are of this through the nonprofit and mutual aid work that has peaked in prominence around the country since the Black Lives Matter uprisings and the onset of the COVID pandemic.
“Simply, we know how to garner resources and distribute them most effectively because of our positionality at the margins of contemporary postcolonial civilization. This is how we have always built financial infrastructure and survivability independently in these communities and will continue to by way of structural innovation, both inside and outside of industrial complexes built to constrain and control our movements.”
For more information and to access services, visit GenderJusticeLeague.org/CSP