Oregon is a very trans-friendly state not only in what they do to ensure the rights of transgender people but also as far as acceptance and in the availability of social and employment opportunities. Oregon has been at the forefront of initiating legislation and programs which have given its LGBTQ residents the same rights and protections as anyone else, along with improved accessibility to healthcare. There are also advocacy groups such as Basic Rights Oregon which have been instrumental in helping to reduce discrimination and improve the quality of life for transgender people.
Earlier this year the Oregon Health Plan began providing coverage for transition-related care, including reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, and puberty suppression. Oregon was the first state in the nation to cover Trans Youth under Medicaid and only the fifth state to include transition related costs in its Medicaid coverage. This is a huge step forward because the costs associated with transitioning are extremely high and are often the deciding factor in how far someone is able to transition.
The state of Oregon is a wonderful place to live as far as the overall quality of life, but the city of Portland is especially inviting because it has a large LGBTQ community and is very open and accepting of trans people. There is a strong support network in Portland and a great deal of resources which are readily available such as the Q-Center, which is the first place anyone new to Portland should connect with.
The social climate and the people of Portland are friendly and unique. It’s an amazing place to live for anyone, but especially for those in the LGBTQ community because there truly is a sense of community and belonging. That is indeed something special. So, whether you want to take a trip to Rose Gardens or party it up at a club, the people will be friendly and accepting and you’re sure to have a good time!
A final thought; the best resource you have is yourself. Get out, meet people and establish connections. Obviously for some things like healthcare you need to go through official channels, but for things like housing and support there is no substitute for having friends who care about you and are willing to help.
Below are a few online resources for future research and assistance.
The Q-Center is a non-profit organization which provides a safe space to support and celebrate LGBTQ diversity, equity, visibility and community building. They offer multi-generational programs and services in four core areas: Arts & Culture; Education & Training; Health & Wellness and Advocacy, as well as several support groups for trans people. Their website is a great resource for those new to the area.
TransActive Gender Center is an internationally recognized non-profit which offers a comprehensive range of counseling, case management and medical referral services to empower transgender and gender diverse children, youth and their families in living healthy lives, free of discrimination. Their experienced staff includes licensed professional and nationally certified counselors as well as post-graduate level interns.
The Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Resource Center provides a safe, supervised, harassment-free, and alcohol- and drug-free space for sexual & gender minority youth 24 and younger. Youth gather to participate in positive activities like art, music, open mic nights, drag shows, community organizing, youth development, education, peer support, support groups, case management, counseling, and more.
Outside In began in 1968 with the mission is to help homeless youth and other marginalized people move towards improved health and self-sufficiency. They are a Federally Qualified Health Center and licensed Mental Health Agency, and leaders in serving LGBTQ youth.
New Avenues for Youth offers programs and services that empower homeless youth to exit street life. Our mission is to work in partnership with our community to prevent youth homelessness and provide homeless and at-risk young people the resources and skills needed to lead healthy, productive lives. New Avenues believes that every young person should have food, shelter, and access to education and job training and that we believe we must go beyond meeting basic needs and offer programs that heal young lives and foster growth and independence.
Basic Rights Oregon is a non-profit LGBT rights organization and is the largest advocacy, education, and political organization in Oregon working to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Basic Rights Oregon will ensure that all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Oregonians experience equality by building a broad and inclusive politically powerful movement, shifting public opinion, and achieving policy victories. Basic Rights Oregon is a member of the Equality Federation.
The OHSU Transgender Health Program provides comprehensive, affirming health care for the transgender and gender-nonconforming communities. The program includes educational services, referrals, advocacy, as well as clinical consultations.
Current medical services include puberty suppressants, hormone replacement therapy, chest reconstruction (FTM top surgery), breast augmentation, facial feminization surgery, laser hair removal, orchiectomy, and hysterectomy. Surgical services are expected to expand in 2016 to include vaginoplasty, metoidioplasty, vulvoplasty/labiaplasty, phalloplasty, and penectomy.
The GayPDX Directory serves the entire gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual community in the Portland Metropolitan Area. Find the Portland businesses that welcome the LGBTQ community with open arms. Use the site to search for all sorts of organizations, groups and more that can help as well as ones to support!
Trans Lifeline is a non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of transgender people. They run a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people in crisis. Trans Lifeline volunteers are ready to respond to whatever support needs members of the transgender community might have.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-273-8255. No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.
The Trans*Oregon Tumblr page is dedicated to trans culture, resources, and social endeavors in the state of Oregon. Follow them to keep updated on various topics of interest.
The following groups are available on Facebook and are a great source of information and support:
Transgender Oregon Network, Portland LGBTQ Homeless Youth Awareness, Portland Area Transgender and Queer Safer Housing