It looks like universal basic income could soon become a reality for some Americans.
And those Americans are transgendered people living in Palm Springs, California.
The city's town council voted to allocate $200,000 to Queer Works and DAP Health, two non-profits, to develop a pilot program that would provide cash support to transgender, nonbinary and intersex residents in the form of cash payments.
The city council considered the measure for "an hour and a half" last Thursday, before unanimously voting to support it. The Washington Post said the proposal could be "the first guaranteed basic income program specifically for low-income transgender and nonbinary people to be implemented in the country."
Christy Holstege, a Palm Springs City Council member, commented: “We are a beacon in the country and in the world, a place where LGBTQ people have fled for decades to seek sanctuary and safety and their own community. And so I think it’s really important for Palm Springs to be on the front lines of supporting the trans community … especially when they’re under attack throughout the country.”
She has noted that there is an “undercurrent of poverty” in the city.
The mayor of Palm Springs is a transgender woman and the city has a history of funding queer and trans organizations in the community.
The city has also suffered from "worsening income inequality" and skyrocketing housing prices that have disproportionately affected transgender and nonbinary people, the report says.
Jacob Rostovsky, who helped push the measure, said that for people with low incomes "regular, unrestricted cash payments" are a "huge benefit".
“Most of my community is trying to decide if they should eat that night, have somewhere safe to sleep, be able to afford their hormone care of therapy. They’re making decisions constantly, daily, that many cisgender individuals don’t even think about, and that includes homeless or housing unstable cisgender individuals,” he concluded.