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Home is Thanksgiving with my chosen family

On: Trans
“I am thankful to share Thanksgiving with my chosen family.”– Eva

There is no place like home. Meet Eva Skye. She is a self-proclaimed “65-year-old-trans queer punk mom” who looks forward to celebrating her 7th year of Thanksgiving with her chosen family at Center on Halsted.

Did you know on a daily basis, Eva and an overwhelming number of transgender seniors live in fear of violent acts against them? Eva explains, “Living as a trans queer senior at a Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) was really difficult for me, and even more difficult at Thanksgiving. Center on Halsted has been my oasis, my safe haven every day and the holidays.” She adds, “When I lived at the SRO, my Center on Halsted friends and family always welcomed me with open arms on Thanksgiving. But at the end of the day, I had to go back to the SRO and walk up the five flights of stairs, rather than take the elevator, because of violent threats. I was always in fear of being assaulted.”

According to The Aging and Health Report, transgender people age 50 and older were more than twice as likely to have experienced physical or verbal domestic violence in the past year than were their lesbian, gay, and bisexual peers regardless of age, income and education.¹ During Eva’s dangerous time at the SRO, everyday she traveled to Center on Halsted to receive the services and support she needed. Eva calls the Center a ”bridge to a better life” and shares, “Knowing that I had staff, friends, and volunteers looking out for me gave me courage to continue, love in my heart, and the chance to educate myself, something I did not get as a kid. In my wildest dreams, I never of thought I would be an artist. And look at me now, I have an entire acrylic paint on canvas collection!”

Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy took the yellow brick road and Eva took the rainbow path. Three-years ago, her dream came true as she eased on down the road. Eva proudly became a resident of her Oz, Center on Halsted’s Town Hall Apartments. Eva beams with delight as she reflects, “I am thankful to share Thanksgiving with my chosen family at Center on Halsted. The Center saved my life. There is no place like home.”

Center on Halsted needs you to persist with us to provide transgender seniors lifesaving programs and services in a safe space they call home.

¹ Fredriksen-Goldsen, et al. (2011). The aging and health report: Disparities and resilience among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults: 20.

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Giving Tuesday is November 28, but it’s never too early to give.

Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s largest community center dedicated to advancing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Movement.

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