Ashley and Morgan Mayfaire co-founded Transsocial.org last fall after noticing the lack of a one-stop shop for information on transitioning and other helpful sources. In that time, they’ve built an operation that grew from a small website to a full-fledged charitable organization that assists people mainly in both Broward and Miami-Dade county.
“There was some resources, but the real issue was that they weren't all together,” Ashley Mayfaire said. “You could find this resource at this one agency and another at another and there wasn’t any kind of collaboration or cohesiveness within the community, so that's why we originally started the website.”
After the website went from 300 views in November 2016 to over 1,000 views today, Ashley and Morgan, who live in Fort Lauderdale, turned their site into a brick-and-mortar organization so that they can help more people in finding services. The pair offer help with everything from name changes along with healthcare and mental health care treatments to peer mentoring, which partners those who are transitioning with someone who can help guide them through the paperwork and processes.
“Our community has a lot of trauma,” Morgan said. “They’ve dealt with trust issues, and we’re the only organization that takes them red carpet style by the hand and goes with them through each and every step.”
Besides those services, Transsocial also curates a calendar of support group meetups and hosts some for both people in the community and allies.
“They’re meant to be fun, inclusive and a safe space for everyone to get together, get to know each other and network with other members of the community,” Ashley said. “We also do an educational component to talk about current issues within the trans community and ways we can address them.”
To assist people in affording those services and going through the process, Transsocial partners with several local organizations including the Broward Department of Health, Pridelines in Miami, and Pride Fort Lauderdale. But, even with their partnerships, Ashley said coming by funding as a new charity is the biggest hurdle they have yet to clear.
“We have a lot of grants we’re applying for, but it's very competitive and it’s hard as a fledgling non-profit to get your foot in the door,” she said. “It’s a lot about personal connections and we’re just trying to keep our heads above water as we help as many people as possible.”
Most of the grant money that Transsocial applies for goes to helping offset the cost and fees of services like hormone therapy and name changes.
“The name changes process for one person can cost over $1,000, so we’re helping them with the fees as well as accompanying them,” Ashley said.
Besides expanding their services, Transsocial is also looking to unify the transgender community and create more community leaders. Among their accomplishments this past year was getting Pridelines to include more adult transgender programs and working with LGBT political action committee SAVE to learn more about advocating for the transgender community.
“I like to think we’ve build a bit more community and collaboration,” Ashley said. “I feel like the agencies are starting to open up to working together more and we’ve definitely reached more of the trans community in Miami because there [were] fewer resources in Miami than Broward.”
For now, the couple continues to work to give more people in the state access to resources on transgender issues and processes, as they’ve already had people reach out from places like the Keys, Tampa, and Orlando.
“Well we do have some clients in Palm Beach and we try to link them with resources and we’ve been contacted from all over Florida as well,” Ashley said. “We would definitely like to expand though because there are a lot of communities in Florida that don’t have the access to services that our county has.”