A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for five transgender Jamaicans, who claim they “fled” Jamaica for the United States by crossing the border from Mexico, to raise money to assist with their food and living expenses in the North American country.
The crowdfunding campaign, set up by a friend by the name of Vaughan Butler Higgins, is seeking to raise US$25,000 to help with their expenses as they start their lives over in New York City.
One of the transgender person known as Kyym Savage took to Instagram on Tuesday, expressing gratitude to “everyone in advance who is standing with us in solidarity and helping us to get where we are going”.
“As we now plan to settle — and as life has it — I am now in need with my family,” shared Kyym Savage, who goes by the pronouns she, her, they, and them.
In sharing screenshots of the GoFundMe page and its details, the Jamaican asked followers to assist with housing support, legal services, clothes, food, and transportation, among other things.
The campaign had, up to Tuesday afternoon, raised close to US$4,000.
Writing on the GoFundMe page under the title: “Help Trans Jamaican Artists Gain Footing in USA”, Higgins said he was raising funds on behalf of Kyym, Emani, Mx, Donique, and Aedin, “who, after a lifetime of challenges in Jamaica, fled their country for the United States by crossing the border from Mexico — a journey they are lucky to have survived”.
Higgins said: “From recently losing their jobs and being kicked out of multiple homes, to an overall lack of opportunity for Trans people in Jamaica due to discrimination and zero protection laws, they are seeking better, safer lives here in the US.”
According to Higgins, the Jamaicans are currently in a shelter for undocumented immigrants until they are granted refugee status.
He said that as they start their lives over in New York City, the funds will go toward helping them afford their necessities before they are legally allowed to earn money in the country.
“If you are able to help in any way with the items below, please let me know: housing support, legal services, clothes, food, transportation, medication and HRT’s,” he stated.
Despite these current needs, Higgins said the Jamaicans are available for employment and their resumes can be made available upon request.
“They are brilliant artists and professionals, and the most deserving people I’ve ever met. All of them worked as activists, organisers, and artivists in Jamaica, creating space for the rights of Trans, Gender Non-Conforming and Non-Binary folks to not just survive but thrive,” Higgins wrote.
“The work they’ve done has done a lot to change the country, but it clearly still has ways to go,” Higgins added.
“Anything you can offer would be greatly appreciated,” Higgins concluded.