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Sacramento group launching 2 domestic violence shelters for under-served LGBTQ community

Members of the LGBTQ community are at a higher risk of domestic violence - and yet they're under-served by traditional shelters.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Step into Oak Park’s new Transcendent Boutique and you’ll find yourself in a trendy store filled with colorful thrifted items and classy décor.

Nestled at the corner of 34th Street and Second Avenue, everybody is welcome to shop here

With its cozy meeting spaces and welcoming atmosphere, Transcendent Boutique also doubles as a refuge for people experiencing domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence.

RELATED: Domestic disturbance calls are among most dangerous for police officers

"You're just coming in to shop but you find a friendly face. You drop the hint. We take the hint. We come over here and do an intake. We can take you straight in like this,” said Elaine Whitefeather, Executive Director and CEO of A Community for Peace [ACFP], the non-profit running Transcendent Boutique.

Founded in 2008, ACFP is dedicated to helping all victims of domestic violence. Nearly two years ago, ACFP launched its Tapestry Services, which is a program focused specifically on victims in the LGBTQ community who face higher rates of intimate partner violence - especially mixed-race couples.

"Lesbians of color like myself, trans women of color, and gay men of color have three times the rate of domestic violence in our community by our own dominant-culture partners," Whitefeather said.

LGBTQ domestic violence victims, she said, particularly trans women and men, are also less likely to get the help they need at traditional shelters.

"[Traditional shelters] will say, 'Well, we don't want somebody in here because we don't know how to treat them. Are they a woman? Are they a man? What'll we do? We can't have a man in a shelter,’” Whitefeather said, frustrated with “all these prejudices and biases."

That's why her organization is launching two new shelters next month, one for the trans community and one for LGBQ victims.

Leaving an abusive relationship can be a process that takes time, so people not yet ready to leave one are always welcome at the boutique, Whitefeather said.

"Here, everything is whatever step you're on, you know? And you don't take the next step until you take the next step,” Whitefeather said. “We're all right here no matter how long it takes you and, if nothing else, there's a place where you belong."

Transcendent Boutique is open to the public 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It also offers by-appointment, private,and free consultations for people in the trans community to try on clothes, wigs, and makeup. The store is located at 3401 Second Avenue in Sacramento.

All ACFP services are free & unlimited. Contact Transcendent Boutique at (916) 736-2263 for a private appointment.

The ACFP 24-hour crisis line for anyone — LGBTQ or not — is (916) 728-7210.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233

The Trans Lifeline is 877-565-8860

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WATCH ALSO: Why domestic disturbance calls are dangerous for police officers | Extended Interview