Ceyenne Doroshow is a colored trans woman who set out on her own as soon as she reached adulthood after feeling unable to express her true self in her home neighborhood of Park Slope in Brooklyn, New York.
There were no shelter services specific to transgendered people’s needs in the early 90s, so her options were limited to men’s shelters where abuse was very common. From 18 to 25 years old, Doroshow became accustomed to having to adapt for her survival but knew that she wanted to take matters into her own hands and eventually develop safe housing options for her and the LGBTQ+ community.
With this vision in mind, she founded the grassroots organization Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society, or GLITS in 2015 and became one of the most prominent and recognized activists for the Black trans community nationwide.
Currently GLITS are repurposing a 12-unit apartment building in Woodhaven, Queens that she purchased in the fall of 2020. She has plans to offer affordable housing to low-income Black and Brown trans and queer people. Trans and queer individuals are already disproportionately less likely than non-LGBTQ+ individuals to own a home, and poverty is especially prevalent among the Black and Brown trans community.
If people want to stay in the Woodhaven building, they will have to fill out an application and answer typical questions about education and employment. Essay questions about leadership, inspiration, and safety in the community are also part of the application.
The GLITS team hopes to buy a second building in Park Slopes, Doroshow’s home neighbourhood, which they want to transform into a community clinic.