Information for Transgender People on Preparing for a Storm
Updated September 2013
During hurricane season the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) wants transgender people to stay safe—both from Mother Nature and from any unique problems transgender people may face during an evacuation. It is important for transgender people living in coastal regions to be prepared for obstacles both during and after a hurricane hits. NCTE urges everyone to put together a preparedness kit that not only takes into account basic survival needs, but also your specific health and legal needs as a transgender person.
Hurricane season can be a difficult and dangerous time for all residents of coastal states. For transgender people it can be especially difficult to access emergency services and shelters because of discrimination. As you may recall, during the wake of Hurricane Katrina many transgender people were victims of harassment based on their gender identity and/or expression. A few were even arrested and jailed for using gender-appropriate showers in shelter facilities. Some forgot important items, such as hormones and cosmetics.
In light of these negative experiences, and considering the often problematic treatment of transgender people within homeless and other emergency shelters, NCTE encourages community members in hurricane-prone regions to prepare in advance. You can do this by developing a Disaster Plan, building a Hurricane Preparedness Kit, gathering transgender medical, documentation, and any other personal items you need, and making sure important contact information is easily accessible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION FOR TRANS DISCRIMINATION IN RELIEF SHELTERS & SERVICES
Lambda Legal National Help Desks:
Toll free: (866) 542-8336
Dallas: (214) 219-8585
Atlanta: (404) 897-1880
National Center for Transgender Equality: (202) 642-4542, firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEMA Helpline: 1(800)621-3362
FEMA accepts complaints of gender discrimination in federally-funded disaster relief services.
Transitioning Our Shelters: A Guide to Making Homeless Shelters for Transgender People http://www.thetaskforce.org/transitioning-shelters/
National Weather Service: http://www.weather.gov/os/hurricane/index.shtml
EMERGENCY KITS FOR EVERYONE
The National Weather Service recommends that everyone have the following items in an emergency kit:
- Water & food (enough for at least three days)
- Sleeping page or a warm blanket
- Clothing (incl. rain gear, sturdy shoes)
- First aid kit, any prescription medications (such as hormones) or glasses
- Toiletries, hygiene items, moisture wipes
- Flashlight and batteries
- Local maps
- Battery operated radio
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter, or solar charger
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Manual can opener for food
- Toys, book and games
- Important documents (in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag, such as insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.)
- Tools (such as a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities)
- Vehicle fuel tanks (filled)
- Baby care items
- Pet care items
For more information about disaster planning, please visit the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Awareness website at: http://www.weather.gov/os/hurricane/index.shtml
OTHER THINGS YOU MAY NEED
In addition to the standard emergency information, NCTE recommends that transgender people also have the following with them:
- Copes of prescriptions
- Syringes, alcohol swabs, etc. for any injectable medications
- Other medical devices or supplies (such as dilators)
- Phone numbers for Lambda Legal, NCTE, and FEMA helpline
- Court orders for name and/or gender change
- Identification, including passport
- If you don’t have identification matching your gender, a letter from your therapist or doctor
- Binding, Packing Equipment (e.g. ace bandages, gaffs, “packies”)
We strongly recommend that you take this document with you if you evacuate so that you will have all the resource numbers with you in case you encounter a problem.