Direct Support for Queer & Trans Folk in Edinburgh
MATE (Mutual Aid Trans Edinburgh) was set up during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide direct support by and for trans and queer people in Edinburgh. We are focused on trans- and queer-specific support needs, and also to support people who are isolated from their local communities.
We are a mutual aid network, which means that we ask for support from and provide support to each other without being paid. Anyone can ask for help: you don’t need to be in crisis, and we think everyone deserves to have their needs met. If there’s anything you’re struggling with, however small, please ask.
To get support, email firstname.lastname@example.org or message (+44) 07716768925 with answers to these questions:
- Name and pronouns you’d like us to use:
- How should we contact you? (e.g. email, phonecall, Signal)
- First half of postcode / area of Edinburgh
- What do you need support with? (e.g. groceries, accessing trans healthcare, benefits application)
- When do you need support by?
- Would you prefer support from someone with particular lived experience? (e.g. a trans person, a disabled person)
We will then ask our team of mutual aid supporters for someone who meets your needs, and then send you their name and initial to ask if you’d like to be put in touch. If you say yes, we will put you in touch with each other to arrange the support; if not, we’ll find someone else. Then the supporter will help you out!
We will contact you a few days after the support to check that everything went OK.
If contacting our phone, you can use Signal, WhatsApp or SMS. We prefer Signal where possible, as it gives you the greatest control and security over your messages. See “Security and Safety” below for details.
What We Can Do
Some of the things we can help with are:
- Grocery shopping
- Collecting prescriptions
- Advice and advocacy for accessing trans healthcare
- Help making benefits applications and finding financial support
- Technological advice
- Connecting with mental health support
- Finding queer and trans community
- Finding resources for queer and trans issues
If you need something else, please ask and we will do our best (but see below for what we can’t do).
What We Can’t Do
We can’t meet an urgent critical need. We check our support email once a day and try to find you a supporter as soon as possible, but our response time is days rather than hours.
We can’t provide support to under-18s at the moment. Please check LGBT Youth Scotland’s support services for help and advice.
We can’t pay for your groceries, prescriptions and other financial needs, and will need these to be reimbursed. In future we will look at whether we can provide direct financial support. Here are current crisis funds you can ask for support from:
- SWARM’s sex worker crisis fund
- Queer, Trans and Intersex, Black, Indigenous, People of Color in the UK Hardship Fund
- London Bi Pandas marginalised LGBTQIA+ hardship fund
- London Intersex & Trans Community Healthcare Hub trans healthcare fund
- Small Trans Library Glasgow’s trans grocery and supply fund
We can’t provide crisis mental health support or long-term mental health support. Here are some crisis and mental health services:
- GALOP have an LGBT+ domestic abuse helpline: 0800 999 5428
- GALOP also have a trans advocacy helpline: 0207 704 2040
- Intercom have an LGBT+ helpline: 0800 612 3010
- The LGBT Foundation have an LGBT+ helpline: 0345 3 30 30 30
- LGBT Health and Wellbeing have an LGBT helpline in Scotland: 0300 123 2523
- LGBT Switchboard have phone, email and webchat for support: 0300 330 0630
- Stonewall Housing have an LGBT+ housing support advice line: 020 7359 5767
- Bristol Mind have a trans-specific helpline, Mindline Trans+: 0300 330 5468
Security and Safety
We use a secure encrypted email address and a dedicated phone. Only our small team of volunteers will ever have access to this. We use Signal for all text communication. Any personal information you share will be kept confidential to this dispatch team. We will not keep any personal information about you, and all support requests will be deleted from email and phone seven days after they are fulfilled.
All of our support providers agree to the following statement: “I will centre the needs of the person asking for support without judgement. I won’t ask for money or anything else in return for my support. I will say no if I’m asked for something I can’t provide.”
Beyond this, our support is all based on trust and mutual aid principles. We are not paid, we are not a formal organisation, and we can’t provide managerial oversight. If harm occurs to someone being supported and providing support, we will work with the people involved to try to address that harm.
We will contact you a few days after support has been provided to check that things went OK and whether there is more we can do, or any problems you’d like us to address.
We are affiliated with QueerCare and follow their support safety protocols.
Provide Support and Organise With Us
We are currently looking for more Edinburgh-based queer and trans people who can help organiser this project and also provide direct support. Areas in which we particularly need support are:
- Co-ordinating volunteer dispatch
- Moderating an online community group
- Researching and sharing trans healthcare information
- People who able to leave the house on support errands
We would particularly like to hear from queer and trans people of colour, migrants, and people with languages other than English.
If you would like to be involved, please email email@example.com.
Our wonderful logo and banner were designed by Holly Summerson.