Supporting the City: House of Tulip

Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed annually across the world on November 20th. It was started in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans writer and activist, when a Black trans woman named Rita Hester was brutally murdered in 1998. Her case is still unsolved. Today, Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans and gender non-conforming people that have been murdered and draws attention to the violence that trans and gender non-conforming people endure everyday because of global transphobia and patriarchy.

House of Tulip 

In honor of Trangender Day of Remembrance, Online Optimism would like to acknowledge the House of Tulip, a trans and gender-noncomforming collective that is creating housing solutions for trans and gender-noncomforming people in New Orleans, Louisiana. 1 in 3 trans Lousianians will experience houselessness in their lifetimes. House of Tulip is raising money to buy and restore a multi-family home in the city that will house up to 10 TGNC people at a time. They also hope to acquire a space for a community center to provide a safe place for TGNC people to commune, learn, organize, eat, and shower. 

House of Tulip was founded by eight trans or gender-noncomforming people of many different racial and ethnic backgrounds. The co-presidents are two Black transgender women, Milan Sherry and Mariah Moore. The rest of their Founders Circle includes two co-secretaries, Sultana Isham and Camilla Marchena, Dylan Waguespeck as treasurer, as well as Ben Collongues, Toni Jones, and Za’hair Martinez. 

House of Tulip’s vision also extends to making structural changes in New Orleans and across the country. They believe that housing is a human right. They are working to establish more affordable housing safeguards against exclusionary development and gentrification. House of Tulip is not aiming to be a homeless shelter but rather a land trust, where housing will be affordable forever. Their goal is to help TGNC people find a path from “homelessness to homeownership.”

House of Tulip’s transformative work is significant to providing equity and justice for a community that has been disenfranchised in historic and systemic ways. The work of House of Tulip, as well as the work of countless other trans and gender-nonconforming activists, is helping to break patriarchal, misogynistic, and transphobic prejudices that have real life, violent consequences. According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 36 trans or gender non-conforming people have been murdered in 2020, the majority being Black and/or Latinx.

How You Can Support

Online Optimism thanks House of Tulip for their work to defend and support the New Orleans trans and gendering-nonconforming community against systems of capitalism, transphobia, and houselessness. If you would like to donate to House of Tulip in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, check out their donation fund here!