We have been under severe attack from some vicious trolls recently.
We have to be rather widely accepting in how passengers contact us. They are ordinary trans* folk, in danger, often under a parent’s thumb (yes, this is normal for a 26 year old in some countries). They may have limited contact options. So people come to us over social media, email, and the other normal ways of contact in an internet world.
But the trolls have been making such contacts very expensive. They create “sock puppets” — artificial accounts claiming to be trans folks in danger or volunteers. Sorting out ‘real’ approaches from the fakes is consuming huge amounts of effort.
Beyond that, and more importantly, we may make mistakes. If we, a few volunteers, get overwhelmed and decide an account is a sock incorrectly, some poor soul in Sudan or Egypt loses their lifeline.
And moving someone invariably involves discussing how to do it with them. Which leaks operational secrets.
We have to continue our work or passengers die. We have folks holed up in secret places inside repressive theocracies. If the police catch up they die. We are sending them money and keeping them on the move.
So, as a temporary measure, we are, sadly, taking some defensive measures. Any resulting deaths will be on the hands of the trolls.
First, we are only talking with people we know and trust. If we don’t know you, you’ll be directed to this page.
For new passengers, this cuts off help.
We had ‘closed intake’ a while back. It’s more humane to say ‘we’re full’ than to consume the trapped passenger’s time and possibly endanger them only to put them on a long backlog.
But people do come anyway, and we explain we have a backlog, and sometimes their problem is simple. So we take folks in when it’s realistic for us to help them in a reasonable time frame.
As of today, that stops. If we don’t know you we won’t talk with you. If that leaves you needing help, we’re terribly sorry. When the attacks stop we’ll go back to normal.
We are also getting volunteers. If you want to volunteer with us, you’ll have to find someone we know and trust and have them recommend you. And you should expect the first step in onboarding to be a more than usually rigorous check that what you say is true.
(And yes, this hurts us – Our only paid employee is Eden House’s manager. Everything else is done by volunteers).
If you’re here and you’re appalled – get angry. This defensive posture is a body blow to our fundraising. We will be trying to ‘shielter in place’ passengers, that’s often cheaper, but we will run out. And some need moved NOW.
So if you want us to keep working, pull out your credit card. It’s the only way we can keep passengers alive until this attack ends.
To those who we’re serving – we will stay with you. We are not going away. We are going to win this fight. You are going to have a good life in a place that respects you. Don’t give up.