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TLI Grantees
The Transgender Leadership Initiative grantees build grassroots leadership within transgender communities across the United States. From the creation of a statewide trans youth advisory council in Michigan to providing support and training to trans people who are recently incarcerated or system-involved – the eight grantee organizations will amplify the power of transgender people to address the HIV epidemic and make a difference in their communities.

Learn more about their projects by clicking the links below!

Hawai'i Health & Harm Reduction Center

Honolulu, HI

Through the Kua'ana Project, peers in the Hawai'ian transgender community assist other trans people in achieving success using their own personal experiences as a guide. Within the Kua'ana Project, the Ka 'Aha Mahu Leadership Building Project engages, motivates and builds leadership among the transgender community in Hawai’i to ensure meaningful involvement by the community at the individual, local, and state levels. This advisory group will develop transgender leaders on O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’i and Hawai’i Island and provide skills building, advocacy training, and access to professional mentoring. Through this project, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals living with and affected by HIV will have strong representation on the Hawai’i HIV Community Planning Group. Additionally, members will develop digital stories capturing Native Hawai’ian and transgender cultures to be used as training tools in teaching service providers to better understand the needs of trans people.

The Hawai'i Health and Harm Reduction Center’s mission is reducing harm, promoting health, creating wellness, and fighting stigma in Hawai'i and the Pacific.

Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH)

Ann Arbor, MI

Michigan is often not a safe or healthy place for trans people. For trans youth, the challenges become even greater. The Michigan Youth (MY) Trans Voice project will establish a sustainable trans* youth advisory council made up of young people ages 13-19. The council will cultivate leadership and personal advocacy among members while providing a platform for trans youth to inform statewide sexual health resources, programming, and policy to ultimately improve outcomes of transgender youth. Additionally, trans* advisory committee members will have a goal of achieving a position of power on a community board or group.

(“*Trans” includes any identities under the trans umbrella including, but not limited to, transgender, genderqueer, gender fluid, non-binary, and/or gender expansive.)

MOASH mobilizes youth voices, engages community partners, and informs decision-makers to advance sexual health, identities, and rights.

New York Transgender Advocacy Group

New York, NY

Transgender and Gender Non-conforming (TGNC) women have low levels of engagement at leadership levels in our response to HIV and other public health and social issues. In response, the New York Transgender Advocacy Group will train 20 TGNC women on a monthly basis to gain the skills needed to apply and thrive on a Board of Directors. The TGNC Leadership Board Training program will give TGNC women the confidence and skills to apply to a Board or Board of Directors. The newly trained leaders will, in turn, become mentors for the next generations of TGNC women entering the workforce. Participants will also showcase their abilities on a podcast to demonstrate their leadership style and skills.

The New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG) is a Trans-led nonprofit that address social determinants such as racism, anti-LGB & TGNC bias and stigma, healthcare and economic (equity) disparity. NYTAG's mission is to advocate for gender-based policies that benefit Transgender and Gender Non-Confirming individuals through building community leaders, educating practitioners, dismantling systems, and influencing policy makers.


Miami, FL

In many of Miami’s cultural communities, both HIV and gender identity are taboo topics. As a result, Black transgender people face discrimination, HIV stigma and violence. Combined with general societal transphobia, the result is lack of access to employment and health care, engagement in survival sex work, frequent incarceration, harassment and assault- and for many, acquiring HIV.

TransRepresent, a leadership cohort of transgender women who identify as Black, African American, Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean in the Greater Miami area, will advance leadership and professional development opportunities for transgender and gender non-binary people, while encouraging self-care. The project will increase the participation and visibility of Black transgender women living with and affected by HIV. TransRepresent will also result in increased awareness among decision-making bodies and organizational leadership about the experiences and needs of Black transgender women living with and affected by HIV.

Pridelines’ mission is to support, educate and empower South Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and community in safe and diverse spaces to promote dialogue, wellness and to foster social change.

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!, Inc.

Atlanta, GA

Civic engagement, combined with community mobilization, is vital to making and sustaining lasting change in local communities. SPARK will engage a cohort of Trans* young people of color (TYPOC) as community leaders to create trans-positive policy/legislation and health-specific programming. SPARK will train the cohort to engage the media, elected officials, and grassroots constituencies to combat stigma. The cohort will also create space to uplift and center Queer and Trans Young People of Color who are living with HIV. Ultimately, the leaders will improve healthcare service delivery for themselves and their peers and will increase Trans* leadership presence in STI/STD and HIV policy and political environment through community field days and legislative advocacy days.

This mission of SPARK is to build new leadership, change culture, and advance knowledge in Georgia and the South to ensure individuals and communities have resources and power to make sustainable and liberatory decisions about our bodies, gender, sexualities, and lives.

Transgender, Gender Variant, Intersex Justice Project

San Francisco, CA

The Melenie Eleneke Grassroots Re-entry Program increases the health, wellness, resilience, and leadership of TGI (transgender, gender-variant, and intersex) people who are recently incarcerated or system-involved, especially trans women of color, who remain one of the communities most disproportionately impacted by HIV in the San Francisco Bay Area and the US at large.

Through the re-entry program, TGIJP offers near wrap-around re-entry support services while also investing in participants as leaders and community members through retreats and convenings, trainings, leadership development, political education, and community organizing. This project will result in two Reentry Leadership Cohorts who are trained and supported to become member-leaders in TGIJP and, over time, move into leadership roles in the wider community.

TGI Justice Project’s mission is to challenge and end the human rights abuses committed against transgender, gender variant, and intersex people, particularly against transgender women of color, in California prisons, jails, detention centers, and beyond.

Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico (TGRCNM)

Albuquerque, NM

Programs led by and for transwomen are essential to uplifting leaders, sharing valuable life experience, and create removing barriers to services. The TGRCNM Leadership Development Project and Internship creates job skill-building opportunities for transfeminine people who are currently or have previously been involved in street economies. It also supports the creation of an internship for TGRCNM’s food justice program, which helps trans people learn food management and small food business skills, while providing daily meals for drop-in center participants.

The project will strengthen the leadership skills of their staff and people who are currently accessing services at the drop-in. The organization will also identify needs from local transgender women engaged in street economies, improve access to resources, and provide food resources to trans people living with or at high risk for HIV.

The Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico provides support, community, and connection to transgender, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, and gender variant people and their families through advocacy, education, and direct services.

United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA)

Seattle, WA

UTOPIA’s community work focuses on the safety, stability, and liberation of queer and trans Pacific Islanders (QTPI) who rely on sex work to survive. The New Possibilities project will support and build the organizing and advocacy capacity of QTPI sex workers. Through a leadership academy, trainers from the community will provide know-your-rights, healing justice, and organizing skills training. The project will also support the intensive leadership development of QTPI individuals to become a part of UTOPIA’s organizing and advocacy work to address the disparities in employment, healthcare, and laws that negatively impact trans women and people living with HIV. By the conclusion of the program, UTOPIA will have created its trans leadership cohort and will begin forming campaign plans with trans leaders at the helm.

The mission of UTOPIA is to provide sacred spaces to strengthen the minds and bodies of QTPIs – Queer and Trans Pacific Islanders – through community organizing, community care, civic engagement and cultural stewardship.

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