Labor of Love: The formalization of care in transgender kinship organizations
Community-based organizations play an important role in the contemporary American welfare state (Grønbjerg and Paarlberg, 2001). In the mid-20th century, state institutions governed, intervened in, and managed poverty through large scale welfare systems (albeit less generously than other Western industrial societies) (Noble, 1997). Over the past 40 years, the American welfare state has been dismantled in favor of “government from a distance,” under which the onus of social reproduction has become privatized, decentralized, and diversified (Rose, 1999). As the state outsources responsibility and funding for social services to third sector nongovernmental actors, these nonprofits come to occupy a liminal status: “relying on [the state] for material survival, legitimacy, and authority. . . [while] on a day-to-day level, they claim autonomy from her and the ability to set their own agendas” (Haney, 2010: 16). These nonprofits take on the role of state provisioning, but may simultaneously adapt to local conditions. Nonprofits shape experiences of poverty and social mobility for marginalized individuals, while simultaneously constituting group identities (Marwell, 2007).
Community-based organizations catalyze new social ties and solidarities. In some cases, individuals form organizations with an explicit commitment to reciprocal self-help (Kalifon, 1991; Katz, 1961; Trojan et al., 1986). Even when peer support is not the organizational objective, routine interactions between nonprofit participants can create social capital by fostering trusting ties and thereby expanding the social networks participants can draw to access care, information, and material goods (Silverman, 2001; Small, 2009; Stoll, 2001). While the literature emphasizes the role of organizations in facilitating new networks of care, we know less about community-based organizations that formalize preexisting relationships of care. Analyzing transgender nonprofits as a strategic case, this article develops the concept of kinship organizations: organizations that incorporate norms, networks, and resources from kinship systems into a formal organization that provides regular social services.
Drawing on 7 months of ethnography and 36 formal interviews with staff and clients, I show how transgender kinship organizations function, develop, and impact broader transgender community. Transgender people have long confronted extreme inequality, including high levels of poverty, housing insecurity, and systemic exclusion from employment and educational institutions (James et al., 2016). In the face of widespread stigma and impoverishment, transgender people have created robust kinship networks to survive (Feinberg, 2006; Stryker, 2008). One consequence of political and cultural gains for transgender people over the past decade has been the increased founding and funding of transgender nonprofits (Trans Justice Funding Project, n.d.). Community-wide responsibilities for mutual aid have thus, in some cases, become the responsibility of formal nonprofit organizations. Transgender nonprofits are a strategic “exceptional case” (Ermakoff, 2014) in which to study this phenomenon. This is because transgender people’s historical reliance on dense kinship ties and the recent rapid rate of transgender nonprofit formation provide an amplified picture of the dynamics of kinship formalization that might be less stark in other cases.
Kinship organizations formalize relations and practices of care previously held within informal community networks. On the one hand, kinship organizations are highly responsive to crisis, are able to leverage personal and organizational resources, and are therefore capable of providing rapid-response care to the most precarious people. On the other hand, subsuming kinship within a nonprofit shifts the social dynamics of trans communities: transforming relationships of mutual care into unidirectional service relationships and relationships of chosen family into relationships of work-based hierarchy. This account of kinship organizations contributes to the theory on organizational development and provides new conceptual tools for analyzing boundaries between organizations and community.
Transgender experiences with organizations and kinship
Research on transgender experiences with organizations explains processes and patterns of exclusion (see Schilt and Lagos, 2017). Data from the 2015 US Transgender Survey, the largest survey of transgender people in the United States (N = 27,715) documents pervasive mistreatment across organizational contexts (James et al., 2016). The transgender population has an unemployment rate of 15%, triple the rate of the general population (James et al., 2016: 5). When transgender people do have jobs, they face restrictive dress codes, gender discrimination, and coworkers or bosses who refuse to acknowledge their preferred name and pronoun (Bender-Baird, 2011). Stigma and discriminatory treatment is pervasive in health care and social service settings as well (Greene, 2019; Nordmarken and Kelly, 2014). For instance, one-third of survey respondents reported discriminatory treatment, such as verbal harassment or refusal of treatment, while seeking health care in the year prior to completing the survey (James et al., 2016: 5). These data corroborate what has been shown in other site-specific studies: in gendered organizational contexts, such as workplaces (Connell, 2010; Schilt, 2010), schools (McGuire et al., 2010; Pampati et al., 2020), and prisons (Jenness and Fenstermaker, 2016), transgender people face harassment, discrimination, and violence.
Given that existing organizations and agencies routinely fail to meet transgender people’s needs, it is unsurprising that some transgender people form their own organizations. As Schrock et al. (2004) document, the early 1990’s marked the rise of transgender support groups focused on addressing individuals’ feelings of shame or isolation, and transgender social movement organizations focused on institutional change. By the early 2000’s, transgender groups began to reflect hybridity, combining therapeutics with collective action against injustice (Schrock et al., 2004: 75–76). Nevertheless, in the early 2000’s, few trans organizations existed and those that did exist were “small and [had] low or nonexistent budgets” (Mananzala and Spade, 2008: 54). Even by the late 2000’s, cisgender (non-transgender) staff in gay and lesbian organizations carried out most paid trans rights work (Mananzala and Spade, 2008: 54).
Based on his analysis of national transgender organizations founded between 1964 and 2005, Nownes (2010) hypothesized in 2010 that “the population of nationally active politically relevant transgender interest groups in the United States is most likely not going to become much larger in the near term” (p. 700). While national transgender organizations may not have grown extensively since 2010, the number of local grassroots transgender organizations has skyrocketed. In 2012, activists founded the Trans Justice Funding Project (TJFP) “to support grassroots, trans justice groups run by and for trans people.” Since their founding, TJFP has distributed more than $1.9 million through 717 grants to organizations with budgets of under $250,000 a year, and to many organizations with far smaller budgets (Trans Justice Funding Project, n.d.) (see Figure 1). As new trans organizations formed, older trans organizations grew in size. By 2019, four of the small trans organizations founded in the early 2000’s had 7–26 paid staff members and annual budgets at or exceeding 1 million dollars.1 The rapid expansion of transgender organizations has meaningful implications for the social life and collective wellbeing of transgender people.
Figure 1. Trans organizations funded by the Trans Justice Funding Project, 2012–2018.a
aTJFP digital map. Retrieved March 14, 2019, from https://www.transjusticefundingproject.org/map/
In this paper, I consider how transgender nonprofits formalize care work previously carried out within transgender kinship networks. I theorize kinship as the “complex patterns of emotional, cognitive, and practical interdependencies among large numbers of family members beyond the nuclear family” (Widmer, 2010: 5). This perspective resonates with the rich literature on fictive kinship relations within the African American community (Chatters et al., 1994; Jarrett et al., 2010; Stack, 1974), in which individuals unrelated by blood or marriage regard each other in kinship terms and share intensified bonds of mutual obligation and reciprocity. Conceptualizing kinship in terms of interdependencies also resonates with the ways gay men and lesbians have created chosen families outside of traditional principles of genealogy and gender (Dunne, 2000; Oswald, 2002; Stacey, 2011; Weeks et al., 2001; Weston, 1991).
There is a long history of transgender women of color establishing robust kinship networks for collective survival (Feinberg, 2006; Hwahng and Nuttbrock, 2007; Stryker, 2008). Trans women use kinship networks to share goods (like hormones and silicone) and referrals to supportive primary physicians (Pinto et al., 2008). Chosen families help trans Latinas achieve stability after migration to the United States, by providing financial support and connections to legal resources (Cerezo et al., 2014: 177). Undocumented trans Latinas improve their health outcomes by sharing health advice and medical supplies through informal social networks (Hwahng et al., 2018). Transgender people of color facing housing insecurity often stay with friends or rely on “a network of housing-related information shared in-person and online (e.g. queer/trans housing groups on Facebook” (Glick et al., 2019: 754). The rapid rise of transgender nonprofits means that a tradition of mutual aid within a transgender kinship system is being transformed. More trans people now receive resources and assistance from formal transgender organizations, and responsibility for providing this support is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few transgender staff members.
Nonprofits and the formalization of care
In recent decades, the United States’ approach to social welfare has shifted from an emphasis on centralized public administration and bureaucratic authority to public-private partnerships (Chaskin and Greenberg, 2015). Observing this shift in the 1980’s, Jennifer Wolch (1990) argued that the widespread transition from direct state welfare provision to contract relationships with a nonprofit sector made the nonprofit sector into a “shadow state,” better resourced but subject to state control and therefore de-radicalized. Processes of devolution—by which responsibility for a public safety net shifts from the federal government to actors at the state and local level—and privatization have only increased since the 1980’s (Salamon, 1995; Smith and Lipsky, 1993). Nonprofits now play a key role in meeting collective social needs (O’Neill, 2002).
In studies of voluntary associations and social movements, the traditional model of organizational development emphasizes two processes: “a transition from depending on volunteers to paid staff and from individual donors to funding by foundations, corporations, and government” (Chambré, 1997: 467). Nonprofit managers tend to view this process as a “gold standard” to aspire toward (Hwang and Powell 2009), but this trajectory creates new challenges. Hiring staff and establishing professional management can generate tension between volunteers and staff over issues of status, authority, job security, and organizational mission (Einarsdóttir and Osia, 2020; Pearce, 1993). Nonprofit organizations may struggle to reconcile financial imperatives with their cultural values (Cooney, 2006; Sanders and McClellan, 2014). Data on activist organizations suggests that formalization, receipt of government funding, and a focus on direct services decreases organizations’ commitment to radical social change and their facilitation of members’ political participation (Cain, 1995; Mosley, 2012), though this is not always the case (Majic, 2014).
To understand the formalization of kinship networks into nonprofit organizations, we can also learn from the formalization of self-help groups. In contrast to professional social service agencies, “self-help groups are intimate and informal in terms of stressing personal presence and participation, and relatively direct, concrete and non-bureaucratic in terms of help and aid” (Katz, 1986: 6). Self-help groups provide concrete services, but value experiential knowledge over professional training or credentialing (Katz, 1986). Self-help organizations begin with solidarization (gathering enough people to begin self-help) and move through five developmental stages, concluding with institutionalization of an activity area, or “the permanent and regular offer of services to the public” (Trojan Halves and Wetendorf, 1986: 263). An expansion of services, and the bureaucratization often required to provide these services, can undermine the shared governance and mutual assistance that characterize self-help groups in their early days (Kalifon, 1991).
This literature on the developmental phases of self-help groups usefully illustrates how processes of formalization can change organizational culture and activity. Yet, in self-help groups, participants usually have no relationship to each other prior to the formation of the initial group; some organizational structure is required to initiate the provision of care. In this study of kinship organizations I add a possible preliminary phase to this developmental process: a preexisting system of informal care and support. This allows me to ask, not only how organizational development occurs, but how organizational development affects the communities out of which these organizations emerge. I contribute to the literature on nonprofits and organizational development by theorizing the formalization of kinship systems of care, using the formalization of transgender kinship networks as a strategic case.
Study design and method
This study used a multiple-site case study methodology (Yin, 2008), examining transgender nonprofits as a strategically unique case. The examination of unique cases can reveal new objects of inquiry, challenge conventional theoretical assumptions or categories, and magnify relations that would otherwise remain tacit or invisible (Ermakoff, 2014). Transgender nonprofits that emerge from kinship systems contravene a theoretical assumption of the literature on self-help groups and formalization: that individuals begin to know and support each other when the self-help group is formed, and formalization unfolds from that point.
I studied two transgender organizations in a major United States city at different stages in the process of formalizing care: the first early in its establishment as a self-help group (Connections)2 and the second well-formalized as a free-standing nonprofit (Transgender Action). The literature on organizational development suggests that selecting organizations at different stages of formalization will result in meaningful differences in organizational structure and culture. My theoretical extension is twofold. First, I ask whether the predicted patterns and dynamics unfold in the same way when organizations develop out of a preexisting kinship system. Second, I ask how organizational development impacts social relationships and support practices within the transgender community.
The data for this article consists of 7 months of ethnographic observation through three immersive trips between May 2015 and August 2016, and 36 formal interviews (16 with transgender staff at transgender organizations and 20 interviews with transgender clients). Observations were concentrated around two organizations: Connections and Transgender Action. Transgender Action was more than a decade old when I began fieldwork in 2015. Throughout the course of my fieldwork, I spent multiple days each week at the organization, observing interactions, talking with staff and clients, and assisting with advocacy. Connections had begun as a self-help group in 2014, but in 2015 a healthcare organization agreed to sponsor the project and provide funding for one group member to take on a paid program manager role. During the summer of 2016 I began attending weekly meetings at Connections. Because these organizations blurred work/life boundaries, I spent considerable time with staff in and outside of organizations, observing how they interacted with members, how they made decisions about the kind of help they would provide, and whether they drew boundaries to distinguish their work life from their personal life. My 36 in-depth interviews with transgender staff and clients provided additional data, with interview questions focused on respondents’ experiences and perceptions of (1) the work the organization did, (2) organizational changes, (3) the strengths and drawbacks of the organization as currently run.
To analyze the data, I used an abductive approach (Timmermans and Tavory, 2012), which “rests on the cultivation of anomalous and surprising empirical findings against a background of multiple existing sociological theories and through systematic methodological analysis” (p. 169). In this instance, existing theories of organizational development and formalization could not explain the emergence of transgender organizations or their unique dynamics. By examining transgender organizations abductively, I sought to modify and extend existing theory in novel and innovative ways.
I began by “open coding” (Charmaz, 2014) my field notes and interview transcripts, which generated major themes, including organization as family, blurred work/life boundaries, and work-based hierarchy. I then used the abductive technique of “revisiting” the phenomena in light of existing theoretical accounts (Timmermans and Tavory, 2012: 176). This meant writing exploratory memos to reconsider my findings based on the expectations provided by the theoretical literature on community-based organizations and organizational development. I used the analytic strategy of alternative casing (Timmermans and Tavory, 2012: 177)—writing memos in which I used different conceptual and theoretical frameworks to understand these unexpected findings—and through conversation with other scholars of organizations. My theory of kinship organizations thus emerged “in abductive analysis through the iterative dialogue (metaphorical and literal) between data and an amalgam of existing and new conceptualizations” (Timmermans and Tavory, 2012: 180).
Kinship organizations: How they worked
Transgender nonprofits illustrate how formal organizations come to mediate the care and identity work previously carried out by kinship networks. These nonprofits served as kinship organizations, by which I mean organizations that incorporate norms, networks, and resources from kinship systems into a formal organization providing regular social services. Transgender kinship organizations took on responsibility for providing reliable aid to the community, but also for maintaining a familial organizational identity, where the organization became understood as a “home” and “chosen family” (Anthony, 2019; “Casa Ruby Is a ‘Chosen Family’ for Trans People Who Need a Home,” 2015; Eger, 2018, 2019).
At Transgender Action and Connections, ties between staff and members were characterized by familial language, a sense of shared fate, and a scope of responsibility that exceeded organizational bounds. The organizations blended a familial organizational identity, evoking safety, nurturing, and mutual obligation (Eger, 2019), with a social movement identity, promoting pride and empowerment through collective action against injustice (Schrock et al., 2004). While transgender kinship organizations resembled self-help groups in their intimacy and valuing of experiential knowledge (Katz, 1986), they sought to extend this system of support to an entire kinship network.
When asked about their work at Transgender Action, staff and volunteers rarely referenced their particular role, instead invoking language of interdependence and community. Thinking back to when she joined the organization as the staff attorney, Louise said:
Louise: Even though the support that Transgender Action does is of course direct services, but it’s more about, it’s really familial. It’s like a family. And bringing people in that way and taking care of each other and reaching out and building networks and community and family. Versus direct services and particular direct legal services.
Louise thought that an overly clinical approach was disempowering and propped up unjust hierarchies. Transgender Action staffer Shay echoed Louise’s analysis, reflecting on the ways the organization extended existing practices of kinship within trans community. Speaking about Transgender Action’s work, they said, “What I think is interesting is that it’s basically what people are doing. So the genesis of it is how trans people support each other in a chosen family structure. And so what we’ve basically done is we keep shaping more and more infrastructure around it.” Another employee stressed the political value of this approach to care provision. Describing the support they provided to a woman immediately after she was released from prison in Pennsylvania, Megan said, “That’s not some like, ‘I went to this place and they provide this some service’, that’s some like, your family’s looking out for you, trans people have other trans people’s backs, just straight up and it’s just a priority.” Staff like Megan saw their scope of responsibility as exceeding that of a professional with a clearly defined relationship toward a fixed group of clients. They conceptualized their domain of responsibility as the entire kinship network they were a part of and, indeed, they were called upon to provide support in this manner.
Both staff and clients thought about their connections as intimate, interdependent, and distinct from the professional provider/client dynamics they observed in more traditional social service bureaucracies. For instance, when I asked Cherise about the differences between her conversations with her state-assigned counselor and her conversations with Maya, a Black trans woman and Executive Director of Transgender Action, she responded, “I think I went into deeper descriptions with Maya, my sister. We always gonna go into deeper descriptions. . . I’ve often given her advice on different things that she may need advice on. And she’s given me advice. We’ve been counselors to each other, the sisterly council.” Kinship organizations also cultivated a sense of shared fate among community members who chose to volunteer. At the time of our interview, Maya regularly relied on Victoria to pick people up from prison upon their release and then house them in her co-op. When I asked why she invested so much of her time and personal resources in the organization, Victoria invoked a logic of collective struggle:
Victoria: Because the jail and prison system suck. . . They set us up for failure. They don’t give us the same rights as other inmates to better themselves, to learn a trade, to go to school, to just be safe. They don’t give us that and they need to. And probably [Transgender Action] is one of the agencies, I would say the major agency that’s gonna change the prison system eventually. Short little hops and steps, but one day someone’s just gonna hit a home run and it’s just gonna flop right over. I really believe that. . . So I think [Transgender Action] is something I volunteer that I want to do. I’m not looking to get paid for [it].
Despite playing a central role Transgender Action’s transportation and housing support, Victoria was not a staff member and she resisted the idea that she should be paid. She understood her care work as connecting her to a broader trans movement against the prison system. Supporting individuals through the organization was meaningful for Victoria because it evoked a sense of trans kinship’s political possibilities. Transgender Action was not just a lone organization providing services: it symbolized and materialized a broad web of transgender people, working together to meet each other’s needs. The ethos of solidarity the organization fostered simultaneously enabled a pragmatic strategy of support and suggested that another, better world was possible.
Because kinship organizations emerged from preexisting social networks and retained a familial organizational identity, staff at transgender kinship organizations were less separated from clients than they might be at a typical social service bureaucracy. Clients’ access to staff support was not necessarily mediated by formal procedures or physical restrictions. In kinship organizations, information and resources flowed through hybrid ties that combined social and organizational networks.
Hybrid ties were useful for relaying time-sensitive information outside of business hours and protocols. Organizational referrals, for instance, could pass through staff members’ social networks rather than a formal admission process. One day staff attorney Louise drove 2 hours to attend a child custody hearing for a transgender man in another city who had never contacted her. His legal crisis had been communicated to Maya through mutual friends. Another day a woman appeared at a Connections meeting, freshly arrived from Missouri. Allie had been homeless in Missouri and was desperate to move. When a “friend of the group” encouraged Allie to send a Facebook message to Connections’ one paid staff member Javon, Javon was across the country herself, reconnecting with family for the first time in 26 years. Nevertheless, she’d corresponded with Allie and encouraged her to come to Connections if she decided to move to the city. Javon relayed this story at Allie’s first Connections meeting, concluding: “I don’t like doing things alone, so didn’t want Allie to show up here and not know anyone. This is your family now.” She then asked the other group members to offer advice, inciting a rush of recommendations and offers to accompany Allie to various other groups later in the week.
The absence of formal intake protocols meant that kinship organizations had a lower threshold to entry: no front-line staff to determine eligibility, no initial paperwork or assessment to determine options, and no benchmarks to be met before provision of care. Allie would have been rejected had she appeared for intake at the larger bureaucracy that housed Connections: the bureaucracy provided HIV/AIDS services and Allie was HIV negative. But Connections was a kinship organization, so formal intake was unnecessary. Hybrid ties from Allie’s trans social network facilitated her cross-country movement into Connections; from there she met local trans women to broker her connections to other social service programs across the city.
Like other social service agencies, kinship organizations provided an array of concrete services to community members in crisis. But like self-help groups, kinship organizations resisted professional domination and promoted a participatory, mutual aid approach (Katz, 1986). Kinship organization staff engaged in creative and unsystematic improvisation to address the dilemmas clients brought to them. They had a low division of labor among staff and high levels of collaborative problem-solving. At Transgender Action, the Development Director, Administrative Director, or Staff Attorney would be equally likely to visit a member in jail or receive a call on their personal cell phone from a client requesting support. Transgender Action operated according to principles of ongoing communication and adaptive strategy in order to tailor responses to situations characterized by high degrees of unpredictability. Rather than predetermining where staff time would go (through drop-in hours) or to whom it would go (through caseloads), kinship organizations operated responsively, directing intense levels of time and energy toward client crises as they were amplified through their networks. In their fluid prioritization of highest-need situations, they resembled a kinship network.
This care approach was highlighted the day Monique appeared in court seeking release from jail. I arrived at the courthouse at 9am. Waiting outside the courtroom stood Maya, legal fellow Jacob, trans community member Missy, and Leah, an attorney for an allied organization. Maya took a seat in the courtroom, alternately extracting information from the public defender, strategizing about another court case with Leah, and pulling business cards out of her pocketbook for various Sheriff’s Department staff whom she directed me to call. When Monique finally appeared, the judge expressed tentative willingness to release her as long as she was processed out of jail and into her transitional housing program. The housing program stopped doing intakes at 5pm, so we were racing against the clock. Thus began a multi-hour relay as Jacob and I literally ran messages between the public defender at court and an expanding array of Sheriff’s Department staff at the jail to ensure all discharge tasks were completed. When Monique was finally released a new set of issues arose. She was going to miss the 5pm intake deadline for her housing program. Maya had left the courthouse at noon, but went to meet Monique with a colleague from another social service organization. Other Transgender Action staff were driving back from a prison visit and they also threw their energies toward the problem. Monique might need a back-up housing plan. Two staff members in separate cars began trying to streamline Monique’s admission to different collective houses where their friends lived. Another staff member called the housing program to advocate for Monique’s admission. At long last, the program confirmed that Monique would be received after the intake deadline. For the evening, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
As this experience illustrates, senior staff at kinship organizations play key direct service roles and have fewer boundaries between themselves and members. Staff utilize the status, resources, and brokerage possibilities that come from their organizational position, but also employ their social ties to address clients’ needs. Kinship organizations receive organizational work through personal ties, but also encourage staff to draw on personal ties to solve organizational problems. At kinship organizations, care provision is not a specialized role for social service staff with professional training; care emerges from a network. Staff are important because they are able to maintain the network and mobilize resources from diverse sites. As a professional at another kinship organization reflected, “It really does take a village, but it takes somebody to coordinate that village.” Transgender Action didn’t own a housing complex and couldn’t guarantee that there would be an available bed in the city’s few trans-friendly housing programs. But such organizational resources were only part of the picture. When needed, staff supplemented organizational referrals with their own social ties, asking friends and friends-of-friends to host people in their personal houses and apartments. This creative mobilization of both organizational and personal ties meant that the most vulnerable transgender people were likelier to get their needs met, and less likely to slip between the cracks.
The toll on staff
Although kinship organizations collectivized responsibility for care and incorporated community members into care work, staff members still occupied a unique and challenging role. Staff at traditional bureaucracies have fixed protocols to delimit care provision: office hours, work phones, standard support protocols, rules around contact outside of work. Kinship organizations intentionally discard these provisions. Endowed with responsibility and expectations as social service staff, but lacking formal bureaucratic boundaries, kinship organization staff often felt overworked and unrecognized. Shay reflected on their never-ending labor at Transgender Action and commented, “It’s tricky, because it is good to have a break from your paid work under capitalism.” Yet, during a conversation a few days prior, they framed their work differently, noting, “It really is a lifestyle. It really isn’t a job. We just breathe it.” This kind of obligation differs significantly from traditional expectations of social service professionals to fulfill formal responsibilities and conduct businesslike interactions with clients (Watkins-Hayes, 2009: 42–43). When I asked Meagan how many hours she worked, she replied:
Megan: All day every day. I don’t rest. Sometimes I’ll make myself stop physically doing work, but I can’t, I haven’t found the way to turn off inside and I need to figure it out ‘cause I’m turning gray and my life, I feel it ticking backwards. Which is fine, ‘cause my ass gets to live longer than my elders do. And we’re fighting so our babies get to live longer than we do. And lives that are more worth living.
Because of their visibility and access to organizational resources, staff at kinship organizations felt personally and politically responsible for keeping their community afloat. They saw care work not just as a professional task, but as a political and moral duty. The familial and social movement frames that shaped their work made it difficult to justify taking a break, and the heavy burden of being expected to provide care to any member of the transgender community meant that opportunities for rest were few and far between.
Community impact: The formalization of kinship care
From informal leadership to paid staff
Kinship organizations transformed social systems of mutual aid into a formal social service system, which changed dynamics of care. This was clear in the case of Connections. Connections started with Angela, a black trans woman in her late 50’s. After years of receiving services at a large HIV/AIDS organization, Angela decided that the organization needed to do something to support transgender women specifically. For 2 years she petitioned staff members to simply provide a space. She laughed at her own persistence when telling me the story: “I ambushed people. I followed people up and down the hallways, in and out the building, stalked ‘em on the elevator. I think one time I even stopped the elevator with somebody.” Her campaign was ultimately successful: the organization agreed to give her a space for a transgender group. For the first year and a half, she paid for food, drinks, and cups out of her own pocket, sometimes supported by other trans women. Angela also facilitated the weekly meetings along with a staff member from the hosting HIV/AIDS agency. The women, mostly Black and Latina, came together at the meetings to laugh, cry, offer advice about addiction, and share grief. As Angela recalled, “We help, they help me and I help them, we all help each other just staying focused on life.” After a year and a half, the agency announced that they were going to fund the project with a staff position. Though people asked Angela if she wanted the job, she said that she didn’t. She was on disability and the payments were enough for her to live comfortably.
Angela: I wouldn’t want to stop my disability and get a job because with my temper and my. . . the way I do things sometime I probably would have got fired. . . And so, you know, it’s about each one teach one and I help my transgender sisters whenever I can. But we hired Javon at Connections and she’s doing a fabulous job. But I’m her go-to person in some situations. But she’s getting her feet wet, this is her first time in a capacity like this and, um, yeah! So, you know, we’re happy with her, leading the pack. But um, no I didn’t want the job, I wouldn’t take the job.
The funding of a program director position for Connections began shifting relationships of chosen family and kinship toward greater hierarchy and social service norms. As the summer of 2016 began, Javon was reaching her 1 year anniversary as Connections’ program director. I arrived at my first Connections meeting to find a racially diverse group of approximately 20 attendees, mostly trans women between 30 and 50 years old. Tension emerged midway through the meeting when Jonathan, a white bisexual man attending his first meeting, challenged Angela on her statement that 75% of men sleeping with trans women would also sleep with their friends. Younger member Sam encouraged trans women of color to respond. Javon became increasing agitated and directed Sam to get up. Then she pivoted to face the room: “I’ll say it in front of everyone. I am the program director of Connections. I am the only one being paid. You are not being paid,” she pointed at Sam. “You are not being paid,” she pointed at Angela. Javon announced that Sam was being suspended and Sam walked out. The door closed and we sat in tense silence. Finally Angela raised her hand and began to speak: “I am the founder of Connections. And I know that doesn’t mean anything. You are the head transgender in charge.” Javon shook her head, protesting that of course that meant something: the group wouldn’t be here without Angela’s vision. But Angela wasn’t appeased. Javon had said Sam was suspended for being disrespectful and Angela wanted to know where there had been disrespect. Javon replied, “You didn’t have to see it. It’s my job to see it.” As Javon gestured toward Jonathan, she said that new people were present. She wanted them to come back and for the group to feel welcoming.
Despite this public conflict, when I returned to Connections 2 weeks later Sam was present. Midway through the meeting, Javon paused. She acknowledged that people had seen her fight with Sam at the previous meeting. Looking at Sam, she declared, “I’m publicly apologizing to you because I embarrassed you in front of the group and I will not do that again.” Javon’s efforts to repair her relationship with Sam and fold them3 back into the group differed from social service bureaucracies where suspensions of transgender clients often carry more significance and are enforced (Greene, 2019). Yet, Javon and Sam were not reconciling as equals. Javon’s magnanimity was a reflection of her institutional authority.
The conflict between Javon and Sam stemmed, at its core, from different structural positions relative to the nonprofitization of their transgender kinship network. Javon felt responsible for running a transgender social service support group that incorporated professional therapeutics and emphasized inclusivity. White, bisexual, cisgender Jonathan would have been an unlikely presence in the informal kinship network trans women of color had previously cultivated. Yet, this institutionalized group was formally open to all and Javon therefore felt responsible for his experience. Her position as program director was the best paid job she’d ever had and she felt acutely aware of how recently she had been struggling with addiction and homelessness. She was proud to now hold a position of leadership, stewarding the group and supporting her community. She also felt anxious. One staff member at Connections’ sponsoring agency had invested in her professional development, teaching her to take notes on her phone and print them out to bring to supervision so she could comply with workplace expectations. After that staff member left, she felt less secure. Other staff didn’t seem invested in seeing her succeed. They wouldn’t give her full information about her budget, though they cited budget cuts when she tried to use the money to take members to a conference. Javon worried that her hold on her job was precarious, but she was doing her best to run Connections based on the rules and expectations of a social service nonprofit.
Sam, on the other hand, thought that Connections should stay close to its original form: a kinship network among trans women of color. When the group formed, Sam had been going through a hard time. As the youngest member of the group, they felt supported and inspired by the older trans women who shared what they had gone through and how they gotten through it. As Sam recalled, “I needed a place where people were coming together to talk about, like, how to move forward, you know. And I loved that it was girl time.” They had considered applying for the program manager position when it opened, but ultimately felt too “unsure of myself.” Now Sam was frustrated that the healthcare agency didn’t fund Connections to have more staff. It didn’t seem fair that Javon was the only one to receive a salary, even though she regularly turned to Sam to facilitate meetings and assist people with housing needs. Sam was doing similar work, but without a salary. Someday Sam thought they might try to become a social worker, but right now, they said “I always say that I feel like a street case manager. An underpaid street case manager.” Sam wanted to support community, but their involvement in Connections left them feeling exploited and undervalued.
From community elders to bosses
Younger trans women of color who did obtain formal employment at transgender nonprofits found that these jobs, while offering a steady paycheck, could actually make them feel less connected to the trans community. Mia, a young black trans woman, had cycled between a number of entry-level positions at transgender social service organizations, but was never promoted. She felt tokenized, underpaid, and trapped in low-wage, high-trauma work. It was difficult to reconcile this feeling of exploitation with the fact that her supervisors were predominantly other trans people. Another young trans woman of color, Risa, left the nonprofit world after quitting her job as Executive Director for a transgender advocacy organization. She explained that the job seemed like a dream until leadership meetings began. Conflict with older trans women board members who held a different vision for the organization was heartbreaking.
Risa: This was the job that I’d wanted forever. And this was going to be not necessarily my baby but, like, where I really put my print in the sand. This was where I can very directly have a positive impact on our community and build something that would help our girls for the next 10, 20, however many years. And to have it be so toxic and so just so difficult. . . I don’t want to be a burnt out ED and I don’t want to be somebody who’s like bitter or having like all these issues with folks in community and folks that I look up to.
Feeling like they had to choose between being trans coworkers with tension or trans community members who liked each other, Mia and Risa ultimately choose neither. When I was last in the city, both women had moved away to start school and build new lives elsewhere.
Kinship organizations sought to provide services and resources to transgender community members in need. Yet, formalizing preexisting kinship networks into a social service nonprofit meant establishing work-based hierarchy among trans women and introducing new forms of inequality into the trans community. Trans community members like Angela and Sam maintained the respect of their peers, but lost decision-making power. Staff members like Javon held power, but also faced pressure for widespread care that far outstripped what any individual is generally expected to provide to family or community. Young trans women like Mia and Risa were frustrated and heartsick as they experienced trans women of color as demanding bosses, rather than nurturing community elders.
Kinship organizations blend aspects of kinship and social service work to meet clients’ needs under conditions of extreme hardship and instability. At their best, transgender kinship organizations mobilize a robust network of supporters, using personal and organizational resources to solve clients’ problems. Yet, this approach to care could drain staff and introduce new tensions into the transgender community. Providing care at a large scale without standardization or traditional professional boundaries is exhausting. Staff seek to provide intimate care, but instead of mutuality, they find themselves operating under expectations of a social service organization’s unidirectional flow of care from staff to clients. Hiring nonprofit staff from within directly impacted communities circumvents the issue of outside professionals assuming authority. Yet, hiring community members also transforms pre-existing care networks within those communities. In the case of Connections, a web of mutual aid became organized under the leadership of the one paid staff person. In other instances, younger trans women of color felt unable to create caring relationships with older trans women of color because these women were their bosses.
Theories of self-help group formalization and nonprofit professionalization (Kalifon, 1991; Katz, 1961) would have predicted that Transgender Action (the older organization) would exhibit a more rigid division of labor, stronger divides between staff and volunteers, and greater variance from their original ideology. Yet, these patterns were more present in Connections. Maya, the Executive Director of Transgender Action, facilitated a horizontal approach to decision-making and care provision. When clients at Transgender Action had a problem, staff generated many unique options at once, often without a clear division of labor amongst themselves. They developed these options by drawing on their personal and professional resources, and by empowering community members to work alongside staff. While Javon also facilitated care through hybrid ties at Connections, she activated more boundaries between herself and non-staff community members. These distinct approaches shaped the experiences of volunteers at the respective organizations. Victoria’s unpaid care work for Transgender Action made her feel meaningfully connected to the ideals and political potential of transgender kinship. Sam’s unpaid care work for Connections made them feel exploited by a social service nonprofit that didn’t see their worth.
These differences can be explained by variation in the organizations’ budget, independence from other organizations, and ideological commitments. Transgender Action had a large enough budget to pay for multiple staff. While theories of organizational development predict that an increased budget and expanded social service offerings lead to the hiring of outside professionals (Kalifon, 1991), Transgender Action stuck close to its valuing of experiential knowledge and hiring of directly impacted community members (Katz, 1986). A larger budget meant that interested community members could at least imagine being hired by the organization and that staff members did not worry about being supplanted. By contrast, Connections’ relative resource scarcity resulted in resentment and competition over a single paid staff position. Furthermore, Transgender Action was an established organization with extensive grassroots funding and relative organizational autonomy. Staff carried out their work without much concern about oversight by funders or governing bodies. Connections, on the other hand, was early in its development and dependent on its host organization for funding, space, and administrative support. This created pressure for Javon to comply with social service norms and practices, and generated conflict between Javon and members who preferred the original model of informal kinship support. Lastly, while both organizations cultivated a familial identity, Transgender Action held explicit social movement commitments as well. These social movement frames shaped how staff and community members understood their collective labor and the broader implications of their work. These frames were less present at Connections, where Sam understood her role through labor frames like exploitation and devaluation.
These data contribute to the theory on organizational development and offer new conceptual tools for analyzing boundaries between organizations and community. The literature on self-help groups outlines a developmental process that first begins with the “solidarization” of an informal group (Trojan et al., 1986). As groups formalize, there is a transition from volunteers to paid staff (Einarsdóttir and Osia, 2020; Katz, 1986; Pearce, 1993), from individual donors to institutional funding (Chambré, 1997), from informal shared leadership to bureaucracy (Katz, 1961), and from a clear social justice mission to a mission in danger of being swayed by financial imperatives (Cooney, 2006; Sanders and McClellan, 2014). The implicit assumption is that individuals have no relationship to each other prior to joining the group or association. Stages of organizational development, not preexisting social ties and norms among attendees, determine internal organizational dynamics. Yet, in the organizations I studied, organizations formed on the foundation of a strong kinship network. Preexisting social ties impacted subsequent processes of organizational development. Processes of organizational development, in turn, affected the densely-interwoven kinship systems from which organizations emerged. This study encourages scholars to consider how voluntary organizations’ development is shaped by and, in turn, shapes dynamics of community care outside their walls.
The literature on HIV/AIDS organizations seems, on the surface, to provide a useful parallel to the emergence of a new ecology of transgender nonprofits. Because AIDS was considered “a disease of society’s disowned and disenfranchised” (Chambré and Fatt, 2002: 507)—gay men, injection drug users, and people of color—for the first decade of the AIDS epidemic, existing organizations and government agencies were largely unwilling to take action (Jellinek, 1991). In the face of societal indifference, community organizations and self-help groups were critical sites for the provision of social services to people with AIDS (Chambré, 1991). Yet, research has shown that people with low social capital did not form and lead their own HIV/AIDS organizations. Susan Chambré (1997) observed that “varied resources and levels of social capital in different communities determine how, when, and why [HIIV/AIDS] organizations are funded and their access to volunteers and private funding sources is obtained” (Chambré, 1997: 468). Organizations founded within the gay community that maintained ties to wealthy, influential gay men had an expanded funding base and engaged volunteers with a range of tasks, including fundraising, support group facilitation, and advocacy. Organizations in low-income communities, on the other hand, were likelier to be founded by professionals and funded by government agencies with stricter contracting requirements, both of which limited the ability of directly impacted community members to shape the organizations’ direction (Chambré, 1997). Chambré’s findings echo work by Curtis Winkle (1991), who has argued that gay men were more successful than intravenous drug users in constructing AIDS service organizations in Chicago, because they entered the epidemic with heightened “economic resources, political skills, preexisting organizational infrastructures, and levels of collective self-consciousness” (p. 320). These analysis of HIV/AIDS organizations suggest that individuals with low social capital struggle to create and lead their own community organizations. The organizations I studied—both founded by low-income Black trans women and with directly impacted community members driving the organization’s direction—contravene these findings, proving that it is possible for marginalized community members to create and lead their own organizations. However, funding sources and organizational autonomy impact how fully community members are able to steer organizational development.
Lastly, this study of transgender kinship organizations speaks to questions about the relationship between social services and social movements. An interdisciplinary literature has critiqued the rise of nongovernmental organizations within the social justice sector, pointing to the ways this mode of organization can direct social movement energy toward limited reforms instead of radical demands, prioritize accountability to founders rather than directly impacted people, and foster cultures of competition and professionalism (Kivel, 2017; Rodríguez, 2017). The tensions and challenges that arise in transgender kinship organizations do not map neatly onto these existing critiques. Transgender kinship organizations avoid many of the pitfalls of their nonprofit predecessors in the gay community (Beam, 2018) and the feminist anti-violence movement (Richie, 2012), emphasizing principles like leadership by those directly impacted, an intersectional anti-oppressive framework, and an organizational culture of connection and care (Sylvia Rivera Law Project, 2013: 4). And yet, as an organizational innovation, kinship organizations also create new tensions and contradictions. Organizations that institutionalize a family model of care do not replicate the downsides of a business-like nonprofit culture, but they can create heightened pressures around care work and active gendered expectations of staff self-sacrifice (Dodson and Zincavage, 2007). Kinship organizations prioritize the leadership of directly impacted people. Yet, transgender women of color doing paid social service work within their own communities face exhaustion and burnout, having fewer boundaries between their work obligations and the rest of their life (Ervin and Greene, 2020). Transgender kinship organizations provide vital services so that transgender people can meet their survival needs, but the model provides less of a panacea than an invitation for ongoing reflection, evaluation, and experimentation with organizational form.
In this paper, I develop a concept of kinship organizations to describe organizations that incorporate norms, networks, and resources from kinship systems into a formal organization providing regular social services to the public. These organizations function in distinctive ways with familial organizational identities and the use of both social and professional ties to facilitate care provision. Kinship organizations create particular challenges for staff who are expected to provide unidirectional social services for a broad kinship network without boundaries to delimit their labor. Furthermore, the formalization of care into these organizations impacts the broader kinship network out of which the organization emerged. As transgender people rely increasingly on nonprofits to support community members in crisis and to engage in collective action, empirical data on transgender kinship organizations may help activists maximize these organizations’ strengths while anticipating and mitigating unintended consequences. This study of transgender nonprofits urges a new stage in transgender organizational studies, looking not only at widespread and systematic organizational exclusion (Bender-Baird, 2011; James et al., 2016; Nordmarken and Kelly, 2014), but at the processes and consequences of transgender people’s organizational creation.
This new concept of kinship organizations could be used to understand the dynamics of nonprofit emergence in other institutionally marginalized communities that practice mutual aid and collective care, such as sex worker communities or undocumented immigrant communities. Comparison across these cases could illustrate how dynamics of kinship organization formation are shaped by the different kinship norms of the respective communities. Comparison could also explain when and why stigmatized groups formalize organizations out of their kinship structures versus seeking inclusion within broader social service agencies. Lastly, comparison could identify which structural forces make the transition from kinship network to nonprofit organization possible. It is beyond the scope of this study to chart the macro-level political and economic shifts that influenced the nonprofit, government, and philanthropic sectors’ expanded support of transgender organizations over the past two decades. Comparative analysis of different communities’ shift from reliance on kinship support to reliance on community-based organizations could assess how changes in groups’ particular social status, and broader political and economic shifts create conditions for the organizational formalization of care.
This paper has been strengthened by insightful feedback and ongoing conversations with Adam Reich, Coral Feigin, Josh Aleksanyan, Josh Whitford, KellyLou Densmore, Kristen Springer, Kyle Neil, Margaret Laffan, Shamus Khan, Tey Meadow, and Woods Ervin.
The author received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Anthony, A. (2019) Trans space as cultural landscape – Transgender women of color in Washington, DC. PhD Thesis, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.
Bender-Baird, K. (2011) Transgender Employment Experiences: Gendered Perceptions and the Law. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Cain, R. (1995) ‘Community-Based AIDS Organizations and the State: Dilemmas of Dependence’, AIDS and Public Policy Journal 10: 83–93.
“Casa Ruby Is a ‘Chosen Family’ for Trans People Who Need a Home” (2015) Morning Edition, May 27. Retrieved April 18, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2015/05/27/409796173/casa-ruby-is-a-chosen-family-for-trans-people-who-need-a-home
Cerezo, A., Quintero, D., Morales, A., et al. (2014) ‘Trans Migrations: Exploring Life at the Intersection of Transgender Identity and Immigration’, Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity 1(2): 170–80.
Google Scholar | Crossref
Chambré, S. M. (1991) ‘The Volunteer Response to the AIDS Epidemic in New York City: Implications for Research on Voluntarism’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 20(3): 267–87.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals
Chambré, S. M. (1997) ‘Civil Society, Differential Resources, and Organizational Development: HIV/AIDS Organizations in New York City, 1982–1992’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 26(4): 466–88.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals
Chambré, S. M., Fatt, N. (2002) ‘Beyond the Liability of Newness: Nonprofit Organizations in an Emerging Policy Domain’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 31(4): 502–24.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals
Charmaz, K. (2014) Constructing Grounded Theory. New York: SAGE.
Chaskin, R. J., Greenberg, D. M. (2015) ‘Between Public and Private Action: Neighborhood Organizations and Local Governance’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 44(2): 248–67.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals
Cooney, K. (2006) ‘The Institutional and Technical Structuring of Nonprofit Ventures: Case Study of a U.S. Hybrid Organization Caught between Two Fields’, Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 17(2): 143–61.
Google Scholar | Crossref
Dunne, G. A. (2000) ‘Opting into Motherhood: Lesbians Blurring the Boundaries and Transforming the Meaning of Parenthood and Kinship’, Gender & Society 14(1): 11–35.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals | ISI
Eger, E. K. (2018) Communicating organizational and transgender intersectional identities: an ethnography of a transgender outreach center. PhD Thesis, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.
Eger, E. K. (2019) ‘Co-Constructing Organizational Identity and Culture with Those We Serve: An Ethnography of a Transgender Nonprofit Organization Communicating Family Identity and Identification’, International Journal of Business Communication. Published online before print December 25, doi: 10.1177/2329488419893738.
Google Scholar | Crossref
Einarsdóttir, A., Osia, S. U. (2020) ‘“That’s My Job”: Tensions between Employees and Volunteers in the Fire Service’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 49(4): 871–89.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals
Ervin, W., Greene, J. (2020) ‘Trans Women and Femmes of Color at Work’, Report. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/drive/u/3/folders/1O9TwhqOq596SyMVgkQibz1fon1xAkFG6
Glick, J. L., Lopez, A., Pollock, M., et al. (2019) ‘“Housing Insecurity Seems to Almost Go Hand in Hand with Being Trans”: Housing Stress among Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Individuals in New Orleans’, Journal of Urban Health 96(5): 751–9.
Google Scholar | Crossref | Medline
Grønbjerg, K. A., Paarlberg, L. (2001) ‘Community Variations in the Size and Scope of the Nonprofit Sector: Theory and Preliminary Findings’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 30(4): 684–706.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals | ISI
Hwahng, S. J., Nuttbrock, L. (2007) ‘Sex Workers, Fem Queens, and Cross-Dressers: Differential Marginalizations and HIV Vulnerabilities Among Three Ethnocultural Male-to-Female Transgender Communities in New York City’, Sexuality Research and Social Policy 4(4): 36–59.
Google Scholar | Crossref
Hwahng, S. J., Allen, B., Zadoretzky, C., et al. (2018) ‘Alternative Kinship Structures, Resilience and Social Support among Immigrant Trans Latinas in the USA,’ Culture, Health & Sexuality: An International Journal for Research, Intervention and Care 21(1): 1–15.
Hwang, H., Powell, W. W. (2009) ‘The Rationalization of Charity: The Influences of Professionalism in the Nonprofit Sector’, Administrative Science Quarterly 54(2): 268–298.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals | ISI
James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., et al. (2016) The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.
Jarrett, R. L., Jefferson, S. R., Kelly, J. N. (2010) ‘Finding Community in Family: Neighborhood Effects and African American Kin Networks’, Journal of Comparative Family Studies 41(3): 299–328.
Google Scholar | Crossref | ISI
Jenness, V., Fenstermaker, S. (2016) ‘Forty Years after Brownmiller: Prisons for Men, Transgender Inmates, and the Rape of the Feminine’, Gender & Society 30(1): 14–29.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals | ISI
Katz, A. H. (1961). Parents of the Handicapped. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Katz, A. H. (1986) ‘Fellowship, Helping and Healing: The Re-Emergence of Self-Help Groups’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 15(2): 4–13.
Kivel, P. (2017) ‘Social Service or Social Change?’, in INCITE! (ed.) The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, 2nd ed, pp. 129–50. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Google Scholar | Crossref
McGuire, J. K., Anderson, C., Toomey, R., et al. (2010) ‘School Climate for Transgender Youth: A Mixed Method Investigation of Student Experiences and School Responses’, Journal of Youth and Adolescence 39(10): 1175–88.
Google Scholar | Crossref | Medline
Mosley, J. E. (2012) ‘Keeping the Lights On: How Government Funding Concerns Drive the Advocacy Agendas of Nonprofit Homeless Service Providers’, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 22(4): 841–66.
Google Scholar | Crossref
Noble, C. (1997) Welfare as We Know It: A Political History of the American Welfare State. New York: Oxford University Press.
Nordmarken, S., Kelly, R. (2014) ‘Limiting Transgender Health: Administrative Violence and Microaggressions in Health Care Systems,’ in Harvey, V. L., Heinz, T. (ed.) Health Care Disparities and the LGBT Population, pp. 143–69. New York: Lexington.
O’Neill, M. (2002) Nonprofit Nation: A New Look at the Third America, 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Pampati, S., Andzejewski, J., Sheremenko, G., et al. (2020) ‘School Climate among Transgender High School Students: An Exploration of School Connectedness, Perceived Safety, Bullying, and Absenteeism’, Journal of School Nursing 36(4): 1–11.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals
Pearce, J. L. (1993) Volunteers: The Organizational Behavior of Unpaid Workers. London: Routledge.
Pinto, R. M., Melendez, R. M., Spector, A. Y. (2008). ‘Male-to-Female Transgender Individuals Building Social Support and Capital from within a Gender-Focused Network,’ Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services 20(3): 203–20.
Google Scholar | Crossref | Medline
Richie, B. E. (2012) Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation. New York: New York University Press.
Rodríguez, D. (2017) ‘The Political Logic of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex’, in INCITE! (ed.) The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, 2nd ed, pp. 21–40. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Google Scholar | Crossref
Salamon, L. M. (1995) Partners in Public Service: Government-Nonprofit Relations in the Modern Welfare State. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Sanders, M. L., McClellan, J. G. (2014) ‘Being Business-Like While Pursuing a Social Mission: Acknowledging the Inherent Tensions in US Nonprofit Organizing’, Organization 21(1): 68–89.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals | ISI
Schrock, D., Holden, D., Reid, L. (2004) ‘Creating Emotional Resonance: Interpersonal Emotion Work and Motivational Framing in a Transgender Community’, Social Problems 51(1): 61–81.
Google Scholar | Crossref | ISI
Silverman, R. M. (2001) ‘CDCs and Charitable Organizations in the Urban South: Mobilizing Social Capital Based on Race and Religion for Neighborhood Revitalization’, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 30: 240–68.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals
Smith, S. R., Lipsky, M. (1993) Nonprofits for Hire: The Welfare State in the Age of Contracting. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Stacey, J. (2011) Unhitched: Love, Marriage, and Family Values from West Hollywood to Western China. New York: New York University Press.
Stack, C. (1974) All Our Kin. New York: Basic Books.
Stryker, S. (2008) Transgender History. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.
Sylvia Rivera Law Project (2013) ‘From the Bottom Up: Strategies and Practices for Membership-Based Organizations’, Report. Retrieved from https://srlp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/SRLP_From_The_Bottom_Up.pdf
Trojan, A., Halves, E., Wetendorf, H. W. (1986) ‘Self-Help Groups and Consumer Participation: A Look at the German Health Care Self-Help Movement’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 15(2): 14–23.
Weston, K. (1991) Families We Choose : Lesbians, Gays, Kinship. New York: Columbia University Press.
Widmer, E. D. (2010) Family Configurations: A Structural Approach to Family Diversity. New York: Routledge.
Winkle, C. R. (1991) ‘Inequity and Power in the Nonprofit Sector: A Comparative Analysis of AIDS-Related Services for Gay Men and Intravenous Drug Users in Chicago’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 20(3): 313–28.
Google Scholar | SAGE Journals
Wolch, J. R. (1990) The Shadow State: Government and Voluntary Sector in Transition. New York: Foundation Center.
Yin, R. K. (2008) Case Study Research: Design and Methods, 4th ed. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.
Joss Greene is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University. His research examines how gender is interpreted, regulated, and transformed in organizations. His work has appeared in Social Problems, Theoretical Criminology, and the Annual Review of Criminology.