Ts Madison And Dominique Morgan Launch The Ts Madison Starter House

Ts Madison and Dominique Morgan at the 2024 NAESM Conference.

Aaron Thomas

In a steadfast effort to uplift Black trans women in the South who are navigating the complex terrain of survival sex work, media personality, actress, and now philanthropist Ts Madison is launching the Ts Madison Starter House. The announcement was made at the 2024 NAESM conference last week where Madison and Dominique Morgan of Borealis Philanthropy shared the vision, mission, and trajectory of their transformative initiative. The program repurposes Madison’s first home to serve as its foundation. Madison herself transitioned from survival sex work and adult entertainment and overcame formidable challenges to become a pioneering media figure within the trans community through her online series, podcast, and various digital creations. Fast forward, she is now a writer, voice, and creative contributor on Beyoncé’s Renaissance album, a host for the Emmy-winning show RuPaul’s Drag Race, and has made appearances in films such as Bros and Zola. Her inspiring journey serves as a beacon of hope and transformation for those living along the margins.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 15: RuPaul’s Drag Race cast and crew including Tom Campbell, Mandy … [+] Salangsang, Ross Mathews, Ts Madison, Michelle Visage, RuPaul and Carson Kressley attend the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards at Peacock Theater on January 15, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

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Reflecting on her journey, Madison tells Forbes BLK, “When I first came up with the idea to donate my first house to charity, I thought about how I moved to Atlanta homeless, broke, poor, sick from silicone poisoning, and with no sense of direction or place to go. One of my trans sisters took me in and became like a second mother to me. She motivated me and gave me the tools to start over and make it on my own.” Purchasing her first home after reaching notable success opened the flood gates for other opportunities to flow into her life; transforming her into the multi-media mogul she is today. “I’ve created many online shows and viral moments that have reshaped popular culture, including my own television show—making me the first Black trans woman to executive produce and star in her own reality series. There were many firsts that happened in that house, including making my first million. All I needed was a chance.” Madison hopes the home will become a safe haven for people with troubling pasts, yet “limitless futures.”

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – SEPTEMBER 12: Ts Madison attends the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards at the … [+] Prudential Center on September 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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The Ts Madison Starter House is rapidly evolving into a program where they may achieve greatness. Madison’s greatest hope for those receiving services is that they feel the love and healing energy that permeates the home from the moment they walk through the front door. The program not only honors the brilliance and leadership of Black trans women but also cultivates an ecosystem designed to stimulate nationwide change. By empowering these women, the initiative seeks to plant seeds of innovation and leadership that echo throughout the lives of Black trans individuals across the United States.

2024 NAESM Conference closing performance from Rahkel Henry, joined by Flomichelle Battles, Zaria … [+] Newbill, Toi Washington, Dominique Morgan and Ts Madison.

Aaron Thomas

The urgency of this initiative is underscored by the stark realities faced by Black trans women in the deep South. Statistical data paints a sobering picture: Black trans women in this region endure higher rates of violence, discrimination, and economic instability compared to their counterparts elsewhere. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, 47% of Black trans women in the South live below the poverty line, and 41% have experienced homelessness at some point. Additionally, they face disproportionately high rates of HIV infection, with nearly 44% living with the virus. These statistics highlight the critical need for comprehensive support and intervention, which the TS Madison Starter House also aims to provide.

Ts Madison and Dominique Morgan comfort a peer sharing their story.

Aaron Thomas

At its core, the initiative was built on the principle that when Black trans women are healthy, thriving, funded, supported, and safe, the entire Black queer community prospers. Historically, support efforts have often neglected the foundational role of Black trans women. This initiative rectifies that oversight by providing extensive support and acknowledging the interconnectedness of Black queer and trans liberation. The program is powered by a coalition of innovative philanthropic leaders: Borealis Philanthropy’s Fund for Trans Generations, NAESM Inc, and significant support from Gilead Sciences Inc.

In an interview with Forbes BLK, Dominique Morgan, Director of the Fund for Trans Generations at Borealis Philanthropy emphasized the significance of this collaboration: “We envision the partnership with the TS Madison Starter House as a pivotal influence on the broader landscape of support for Black trans women. Our goal is to create a lasting impact that extends beyond immediate relief and fosters long-term empowerment and socio-economic growth within the Black queer community.”

Dominique Morgan on stage at the 2024 NAESM Conference.

Aaron Thomas

Together, the coalition of advocacy groups are creating a robust support system for the program’s participants, aptly named ‘stakeholders.’ Participants in the TS Madison Starter House are referred to as stakeholders to best signify their crucial role in their own success and that of the broader Black queer and trans liberation movement, while striving towards their greatest aspirations.

Dominque Morgan leads private convening leading up to the Ts Madison Starter House launch.

Aaron Thomas

Morgan says she’s committed to doing whatever it takes to see the initiative, its participants, and collaborators thrive. “This project feels as though I’m at a cultural loom, weaving together the most beautiful garments of possibility; blending the experiences and work of our powerhouse partners across the country.” The Ts Madison Starter House is powered and programmed through the following primary providers and partners:

1) NAESM Inc., with over three decades of service in the Atlanta Metropolitan area and throughout Georgia, brings its extensive expertise to the TS Madison Starter House. NAESM’s services encompass free HIV/STI testing, behavioral health counseling, and housing assistance, ensuring comprehensive support for the Stakeholders.

2) Borealis Philanthropy, a social justice philanthropic intermediary founded in 2015, supports grassroots movements for transformative change. Borealis bridges funders and organizers, amplifying collective impact across movements focused on Black-led initiatives, queer and trans liberation, and disability justice.

3) The Fund for Trans Generations (FTG) invests in trans-led organizing to ensure transgender, gender non-conforming, and nonbinary individuals live with freedom, safety, and self-determination. Since its inception in 2016, FTG has distributed over $11 million through 751 grants to 234 trans-led organizations.

4) Inspired by Marsha P. Johnson, the Flower Crown Project is a pivotal initiative within the TS Madison Starter House. Supported by Gilead’s substantial $800,000 grant, this project convenes ten extraordinary Black trans women leaders nationwide, known as the Tenacious Ten, to spearhead change in their communities. Their work encompasses self-awareness, healing, entrepreneurship, community engagement, career mentorship, performance arts, sisterhood, sexual health, and legal support. Also known as ‘ the tenacious ten,’ The Flower Crown Project includes leaders such as Toi Washington-Reynolds of the TWOC Healing Project in Atlanta, Breonna McCree of the Transgender District in San Francisco and Verniss McFarland III of The Mahogany Project in Houston. Other distinguished leaders include Jasmine Tasaki from WeCareTN and Black and Pink National, Zahara Bassett from Life Is Work, Mulan Williams from Divas In Dialogue, Atlantis Narcisse from Saving Our Sisters United, Ciora Thomas from SistersPGH, Iya Dammons from Maryland Safe Haven, and Jaelynn Scott from The Lavender Rights Project.

Ts Madison Starter House and partner logo sheet

Ts Madison Starter House

The TS Madison Starter House stands as a powerful testament to the resilience, creativity, and leadership of Black trans women. Collectively, they are forging a future where their brilliance is acknowledged, supported, and celebrated. Madison and Morgan share that the project is more than just a program; it’s a movement towards liberation and socio-economic justice for all; driven by the stakeholders who embody the dreams of their transcestors and hopes of a thriving future.

To donate to the Ts Madison Starter House, fiscally sponsored by NAESM, click here.

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