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By and For TGNC Communities: On Transgender Day of Visibility, Meet Some of AIDS United’s Trans-Led Grantee Partners

As COVID-19 unfolds and our lives shift in response, transgender leaders in the HIV movement have stepped up to meet the new needs of our communities. Over the past weeks, the Fund for Resilience, Equity and Engagement (FREE) has seen its grantees adapt to the current public health climate. Peer navigation services have been moved online; new partnerships have come together to respond to the pandemic in TGNC communities; and hours have been poured into providing resources from groceries to medication to those in need. 

In these trying times, we must look to the transgender advocates who have consistently navigated their communities through barriers to safety and wellness.  

“Trans folx are such lighted beings, such lighted vessels, and that is something to be celebrated,” said AIDS United’s own Jade Lenore LeDuff at Creating Change 2020. “We have the answers. Trans folx have the answers. Ask us to help you.” 

Today on Transgender Day of Visibility, AIDS United is lifting up six of our current trans-led and trans-serving grantee organizations who work to end the HIV epidemic in their communities every day. 

Black Trans Media, Brooklyn, New York 

Led by Olympia Perez (she/her/hers) and Sasha Alexander (he/she/they), Black Trans Media is committed to building up trans communities of color. The organization provides workshops on political education, leadership building, media trainings and more surrounding issues of injustice. Always working to center Black trans folx, this grassroots organization also seeks to create connections with other like-minded organizations in the field to ultimately “build, showcase, heal and celebrate” the lives of Black trans people. 

Visit their website to learn more about their work and ways to support this organization. 

El/La Para TransLatinasSan Francisco, California 

This organization is the only non-profit led by trans Latinas serving the greater San Francisco area, with their reach expanding into Oakland, Berkley and beyond. In May 2019, Nicole Santamaria (she/her/hers) stepped up to lead the organization as its first trans Latina executive director. Along with her team, Santamaria has grown and sustained the organization. They currently provide group workshops lead by PrEP Navigators, onsite HIV testing, holistic case management, drop-in community spaces and comprehensive HIV prevention services. 

Visit their website to learn more about their work and ways to support this organization.  

LaGender, Inc.East Point, Georgia 

Since the early 2000s, Dee Dee Chamblee (she/her/hers) has been a committed HIV advocate. Now, Chamblee is the executive director of LaGender, Inc. The organization is “dedicated to empowering the trans community on the unique issues of HIV/AIDS, homelessness, wrongful incarceration, mental health and societal discrimination.” Chamblee leads this work by facilitating monthly group trainings for trans women of color, presenting workshops on both the local and national levels and building coalitions with other organizations with the hope of changing HIV-related policies. 

Visit their website to learn more about their work and ways to support this organization. 

Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative (SNaP Co.)Atlanta, Georgia 

Fostered by the Racial Justice Action Center, SNaP Co. has recently evolved into its own 501(c)(3). New executive director Toni-Michelle (she/her/hers) is working to end the criminalization and incarceration of TGNC communities and invest in Black trans futures. While leading the charge on policy campaigns to protect the rights of sex workers and people living with HIVSNaP Co. also provides services ranging from leadership development programs to emergency funds for the community. 

Visit their website to learn more about their work and ways to support this organization. 

The Knights & Orchids Society, Inc.Selma, Alabama 

Quentin Bell (he/him/his) is the executive director of the Knights & Orchids Society, an organization serving TGNC communities of color in rural Alabama and across the South. Their team hosts peer learning workshops for trans women, provides pop-up name and gender change clinics and holds HIV testing opportunities at LGBTQ night-clubs and balls — a wide range of services much needed for TGNC people living in rural regions. 

Visit their website to learn more about their work and ways to support this organization. 

Transgender Law CenterLos Angeles, California 

The Transgender Law Center is a pioneer in the movement for policy change to support transgender individuals living in the United States. Led by Kris Hayashi (he/him/his), a transgender person of color with decades of experience in movement building, the organization has played a key role in shifting policy and public sentiment to create space for trans peopleThe organization is the home to the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project and Black Trans Circles, two projects working towards the freedom and liberation of all Black LGBTQIA+ people. 

Visit their website to learn more about their work and ways to support this organization. 

The Fund for Resilience, Equity and Engagement (FREE) is a national three-year $11M initiative supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation and managed by AIDS United. FREE prioritizes organizations led by and serving transgender and gender-non-conforming (TGNC) communities as well as Black gay, bisexual, queer and same-gender-loving (GBQ/SGL) men. To learn more about all 34 grantees of the FREE initiative, please click here 

Posted By: Carsen Beckwith - Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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