It takes a complex network of people and resources for transgender, non-binary and gender-non-conforming people to be themselves and feel accepted in society. The Transgender Equality Network’s mission is to help create and empower that network. We accomplish our mission by creating and collating resources, providing in-person support, encouraging inclusive business practices, working with local allies and organizations, uplifting trans-friendly services and healthcare, developing programs, and encouraging others to support our needs through education and advocacy.
TENs foresees a world where transgender people are able to live and thrive as fully accepted members of society. To live in a world free of discrimination and violence, where they can have the freedom to self-actualize their identity. This vision will not become a reality until there is widespread equal opportunity, safety, access to healthcare, and acceptance. TEN exists to help create this future.
TEN was created in 2013, in Fayetteville, Arkansas by a group of young trans people who originally met in a support group. They had a desire to get involved with and advocate for their community but didn't know how to do so. A civil rights ordinance in Fayetteville was gaining traction. The ordinance gave them the opportunity to get involved and give the trans community a voice. During the campaign, members of the community presented before the city council with little more than their own passion and their stuffed rabbit mascot, Opal. It was through these beginnings that they found their voice.
After collaborating on this project, they realized just how much more work needed to be done. The founders began offering trans inclusion workshops, educational events, and support for individuals seeking to be more inclusive, as well as to learn more about transgender issues. They also reached out to local therapists, doctors, and other service providers to compile a list of locally available resources for the trans community. They collected these resources and deem them trans-friendly for the community.
The group needed a name to operate under, and Transgender Equality Network was born. In addition to education and resource networking, TEN spreads awareness of transgender issues by hosting and participating in local events. Since it's inception, TEN has held annual events for the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Transgender Day of Visibility, as well as participating in the NWA Pride Parade.