AIDS United awards $115,000 to support and expand transgender leadership

For Immediate Release: September 26, 2018

Contact: Kyle Murphy, Director of Communications
(202) 876-2820

AIDS United awards $115,000 to support and expand transgender leadership

Eight small organizations receive funding to foster leadership of transgender people, especially people of color, in search for solutions to HIV

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Through the Transgender Leadership Initiative, AIDS United has awarded a total of $115,000 in grants to eight organizations to increase transgender leadership within organizations, in community planning bodies and in local networks to aid the response to HIV. The initiative is supported by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

Transgender communities, especially transgender women of color, are more heavily affected by HIV than any other group in the United States relative to their population size. Transgender communities face myriad barriers to health including violence and discrimination in areas such as housing, employment, education and when accessing health care.

“We are proud to support a second year of this trailblazing initiative, with these new grants very intentionally providing much-needed resources to smaller and under-resourced organizations and to emerging community leaders across the country,” said AIDS United President and CEO, Jesse Milan Jr. “By prioritizing and focusing on reducing barriers that hinder the participation of small, community-led initiatives, TLI has selected grantees uniquely positioned to have the greatest impact. We are thrilled the TLI grants will support critical leadership and workforce development training to transgender people living with and affected by HIV throughout the U.S.”

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.

The Transgender Leadership Initiative is grounded in learnings from a community-created consensus statement released by AIDS United in June 2017. The landmark statement outlines concrete and measurable steps organizations can take to improve their approach to HIV work in transgender communities. The resource is freely available at

“Janssen is extremely appreciative of all that AIDS United is doing through the Transgender Leadership Initiative to improve the health of transgender people,” said Rick Nettles, Vice President, Medical Affairs, Janssen. “We are honored to support the incredible work being done on the ground in the small organizations in this cohort as they develop the next generation of leaders in our response to HIV.”

Transgender Leadership Initiative grantees include:

Hawai’i Health and Harm Reduction Center
Honolulu, HI
The Hawai’i Health and Harm Reduction Center will create an “Aha”, or group, to develop transgender leaders on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Islands via skills building, including advocacy training, access to professional mentoring, and community planning participation.

Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH)
Ann Arbor, MI
MOASH will establish a statewide trans* youth advisory council to cultivate leadership and personal advocacy among members (ages 13-19) while providing a platform for trans youth to inform statewide sexual health resources, programming, and policy.

New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG)
Brooklyn, NY
NYTAG will train trans and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) individuals and allies to develop their skills related toserving on Boards of Directors of grantee and other organizations.

Pridelines Youth Services, Inc., DBA Pridelines
Miami, FL
Prideslines will create a network of Black trans women living with HIV to advocate for and address issues that affect the health of, Black transgender people living with HIV within Miami’s healthcare, social services, employment and criminal justice systems.

SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!, Inc.
Atlanta, GA
SPARK will train Trans* youth of color to engage the media, elected officials, and grassroots constituencies on changing the cultural narrative and advancing solutions to the targeting of queer and trans young people of color living with HIV.

Transgender, Gender Variant, Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP)
San Francisco, CA

TGIJP will provide services to transgender, gender variant and intersex (TGI) people who are recently incarcerated or system-involved, especially trans women of color by investing in participants as leaders and community members through trainings, leadership development, political education, and community organizing.

Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico (TGRCNM)
Albuquerque, NM

TGRCNM will support a street outreach project that provides job skills building opportunities for transfeminine people who are currently or have previously been involved in street economies, as well as a second internship for a transgender individual in the organization’s food justice program, and the continued employment for their current HIV Services Program Coordinator, a transgender woman of color.

UTOPIA (United Territories of Pacific Islanders’ Alliance)
Seattle, WA
UTOPIA will train queer and trans Pacific Islanders to address trans-, homo-, and xenophobia in laws and employment and will run a sex worker leadership academy that will provide know-your-rights, healing justice, and organizing skills training.

*Some people write “*trans” with the asterisk being an indicator that the term also includes people who might not specifically identify as trans but are part of the community (e.g., gender non-conforming people and non-binary people).


About AIDS United: AIDS United’s mission is to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., through strategic grant-making, capacity building, formative research and policy. AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV/AIDS care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV/AIDS-related policy for U.S. populations and communities most impacted by the epidemic. To date, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $104 million to local communities, and have leveraged more than $117 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to, HIV prevention, access to care, capacity building, harm reduction and advocacy.

Initiative supported by Janssen Therapeutics, Division of Janssen Products, LP, a part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.