Pierre and Tanesh, who celebrated their ten-year anniversary last October, have been coming to Glide since 2006.
“We came to Glide so much everybody knew us – from the security to the staff members, they all knew our names. We walked in the door and no one judged us. We walked in the door and we were able to receive help, and we were able to be consistent with that,” says Tanesh.
Tanesh and her husband Pierre moved to San Francisco in 2006 to recover from addiction, and came to Glide for help with housing and healthcare, and for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Returning to L.A. for family reasons, Tanesh and Pierre then came back to San Francisco in 2010. Remembering Glide, they went to the Walk-In Center, one of the main entry points to Glide’s services. After six days in a shelter, Walk-In Center case managers secured them an affordable living space and move-in assistance. Walk-In Center staff continued working with the couple, helping them navigate other Glide programs and find better housing later on in support of their recovery process.
“I do believe that in order to have success in your life you have to have a healthy state of mind first,” says Tanesh. She credits a Glide healthcare staff member for going above and beyond to do certain things she and Pierre needed, especially around behavioral health. For Tanesh, prayer and spiritual awakening were key to her recovery. In building community with St. James Infirmary, Black Brothers Esteem, and City of Refuge, Pierre learned about harm-reduction models, which work best for him. Through both of their recovery processes, Pierre says, “We’re able to be consistent, be accounted for, and be productive in our own community. Glide showed me how to live.”
At Glide, they were also able to find some community. “There’s a trans-friendly support group (Bridging the Gap) that meets on Tuesday nights that Teri runs, and that’s where my recovery actually started. Teri was one of – if not the first – trans females I met. Teri was working around the corner at Glide housing, she told me about the group and said, ‘I’m here to support you.’ I knew every Tuesday night I would see the same people, and we all got stronger together,” says Tanesh.
Group meetings took place at the same time as Men In Progress, Glide’s violence prevention program for men, which Pierre participated in. Though he’d learned similar information from other organizations, Men In Progress helped him follow through. “They taught us how to get in touch with our authentic self. That process is – if I can identify who I am, and what triggers me, I can respect you more because you’re not a threat to me. I don’t have to be afraid, I don’t have warrants, I don’t have anyone looking for me, I don’t owe anyone money,” says Pierre.
Tanesh and Pierre currently have stable housing in San Francisco and aim to stay; they celebrated ten years together last October. “It’s home life, church, volunteering in San Francisco, and our grandbabies and daughter. That is our life today,” says Tanesh.
Last November, Tanesh was installed by the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries as the Transgender Minister at City of Refuge. There, she organizes a monthly meet-and-greet for trans women and men. She runs a weekly prayer conference line every Saturday, and helps prepare the sanctuary at City of Refuge every Sunday. This month, Tanesh was also sponsored to join representatives from St. James and TGI Justice Project to participate in the Color of Violence INCITE! 15th Anniversary Conference in Chicago.
Pierre also wears many hats – ushering and doing the bulletins for City of Refuge, and doing street outreach with St. James in San Francisco. He is currently working on a support group for transgender people and their partners and families. “The life that I live – I love who I love and I accept them for who they are. Today, I introduce myself as a cisgender male who’s married to a transgender female. I identify as “them” or “they,” in support of all the people – not just transgender – who have ever faced injustice and prejudice. If it wasn’t for their past, I wouldn’t have a future,” says Pierre.
GLIDE Walk-In Center staff members.
Last year, GLIDE’s Walk-In Center provided over 3,000 unduplicated clients with rental assistance, clothing vouchers, client advocacy, and more. “We strive to provide a holistic care approach by offering our clients access to multiple services to support them in meeting their goals. We help clients navigate our many programs to meet a variety of needs such as shelter, food, health, and spiritual support,” says Ana, Walk-In Center Manager, who helped Pierre and Tanesh secure their housing. “A lot of times we’re just a way for people to stay connected. Help can come in many forms, from the tangible things we do like handing out a toothbrush or assisting a family with their security deposit, to just being present in the moment through grief, celebration, or during a time of crisis in someone’s life. Listening seems simple, but it is those priceless exchanges that we have with our clients that keep them coming back. Those real human connections make us accessible and are as much of a fundamental need as the air we breathe and the water we drink.”