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    The Maitri Affirmation Center Is Part of a Growing Continuum of Care for the Transgender Community

    By Michael Armentrout–

    Eighteen-year-old Oli was in crisis. He’d spent his savings on getting his top surgery and a flight to San Francisco from Alabama. But a few months before his surgery, his team wanted to confirm where he was going to recover afterward. He didn’t know. And if he didn’t confirm that week, his surgery would be postponed.

    Unfortunately, this is the reality many transgender people face with their gender-affirming surgeries. While gender-affirming surgeries have become easier to access and more commonplace for people in need, having a safe place to recover is still a pressing issue. 

    Since 1987, Maitri has provided compassionate care to low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. Many of the 1,600 clients we’ve served over the years have identified as transgender or gender non-conforming—likely many more than we know as language has evolved and people have begun to be better able to express themselves and their identities.

    Maitri staff at the San Francisco Trans March

    It’s because of this care we’ve provided that we at Maitri knew we could make a difference to a community in desperate need.

    As the nature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic has changed, the need for AIDS-specific hospice care has decreased, and the need for short-term care for people living with HIV/AIDS has increased; Maitri has adjusted our care to meet the needs of our community.

    Matri-Compassionate Care, 401 Duboce Ave.

    We continue this with our newest initiative, the Maitri Affirmation Center. At our 15-bed residential care center, we dedicate one of our rooms to serving people like Oli, low-income people undergoing gender-affirming surgeries, to ensure they have the care and support they need to recover safely.

    Clients like Oli have access to the same incredible programming Maitri provides all of our clients: 24-hour nursing care, on-site mental health care, amazing community volunteer support, home-cooked meals, and case management.

    We know that, by providing this care, we’re part of a growing continuum of care for the transgender community. Just as organizations like Maitri, The Shanti Project, PRC, and The San Francisco AIDS Foundation grew to respond to the needs of the gay community at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, we know organizations need to step up and meet the growing needs of our trans community.

    Today, Oli lives his most authentic life in a body that matches his gender identity. And in his own words, “Not a day goes by where I’m not grateful for your care.” Today, Maitri is welcoming another client into our Affirmation Center room so we can help another person just like him because no one should have to suffer, transition, or die alone.

    Michael Armentrout is the Chief Executive Officer of Maitri

    Published on March 21, 2024