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There's the problem, immediately. In the UK, what I want to do - Buy a house, with a little bit of land, where I and other trans, lesbian, gay or bisexual Gypsies and Travellers can live safely - is basically impossible if you admit that you're a Gypsy or Irish Traveller. So this is a leap of faith - To make it more possible that what I want will happen, I am keeping my face, my exact location, the house that I'm bidding on, my full name - Off this fundraiser for now. Because it's not safe.
Being multiply marginalised - Being disabled, being transsexual, being gay, as well as being a Traveller, makes things exponentially more difficult. I don't have family that I can live with, I don't necessarily feel safe living on a site with near-strangers, and the same applies to many other LGBT Gypsies. Being disabled, actually travelling is incredibly hard - I need a wheelchair sporadically at the moment, and soon I suspect it'll be more of a regular part of my life, and I need regular contact with not just my GP but with the hospital itself - Again, something that's harder to do when you're travelling, and which will get even harder again once all roadside living is criminalised: Disabled Gypsies and Travellers will probably be forced even more than is currently the case to move into settled housing, because there are so few pitches available on Traveller sites of any kind. And I want to make that at least a little safer for a few of us, even if only a tiny few.
Here's what I want - There's a house for sale right now, for in the ballpark of £300,000 pounds. It's in horrible condition, but we can do it up - If there's something that our community isn't short of, it's tradesmen and craftsmen. It's got a little yard with enough room to park a big twin-axle trailer and a pickup truck, or a small trailer with their car on the onstreet-parking and a showman's wagon. It's got a little outbuilding with a kitchen, an outside tap, and a spare room, and a toilet that doesn't open onto any of the other rooms. The house itself has five potential bedrooms. A five-bedroom house could fit ten people, especially if some of them were only passing through, there for a couple of nights whilst they had consultations at the Leeds GIC, or maybe for a couple of weeks recovering from gender confirmation surgeries (Aka "Top surgery" and "Lower surgery") that are performed at Manchester and Hull, which Leeds is right in the middle of, or recovering from any other kind of surgery. The house has a downstairs bedroom and ground-floor full bathroom, which is already partially converted into a wetroom - With a bit of tweaking, it could be a full wetroom up to modern standard, with balance grips and transfer bars to make it accessible to a wheelchair user. That would make the ground floor an ideal place to recover from surgery in.
I've picked Leeds because it's in the North of England (ie, this house is cheap for what it is), it's a city with a gender identity clinic (GIC) in it that a lot of the North is referred to, and it's the approximate midpoint between a couple of the bigger top surgery clinics in the North - Manchester and Hull (Which have an even wider catchment area - People come to Manchester especially from Wales and Scotland). Also, so much trans-centric stuff in the UK is centred on the South, it makes sense to make this, well, the North,
My plan is to, as soon as the house is bought and in a condition that can be lived-in, to start offering space within it to other Travellers who are using the Leeds Gender Identity Clinic, to stay as visitors.
The UK government is making it illegal not only to live in a trailer on the roadside, it's making it a criminal offence to live on your own land without planning permission. This house would be big enough for a couple of families to stay in the house or the outbuilding, in the way that you'd stay on a transit site, but without actually sleeping in their vehicles, making it perfectly legal.
The UK government right now is making it exponentially harder every day to be trans - And we don't know how far it will go, to make it worse. A lot of trans people with familial wealth (which I and most Gypsies don't have), good health (which I don't have) and higher education and transferrable white-collar professions (which I and most Gypsies don't have) are leaving the country, for basically anywhere that will take them... Of course, as well as being trans, being Romani in the rest of Europe isn't a picnic either.
I'm not sure if we're allowed to swear on GoFundMe, so let's just say that, like a dog with a backside at both ends, we're f*cked coming and going.
In my buying it, it would be guaranteeing that this Gypsy is living in a house, settled, in bricks, permanently, and making space for others to do the same - Not pulling into your school field or rugby pitch, or whatever else you demonise us as doing. I would have "done it right" - Moved into bricks, with appropriate planning permission, in a place where I and my family wouldn't bother the neighbours, you'd barely even know we existed. It would be guaranteeing a handful of trans people a safe place to be, to live away from the likelihood of increasing cis violence, from their own families, and a place to stay for short periods in close proximity to the gender identity clinic.
And if this house falls through... If someone else buys it before I hit my goal, if the seller takes it back off the market... I keep looking, there are more houses, nearby, for similar prices. This one is "special" because it's in poor condition, so is very cheap "for what it is" but I'm sure that there'll be more.
For a one-off donation, you get some of us out of your hair, forever.
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