Celebrating changemakers working to end the HIV epidemic this Transgender Day of Visibility

The start of 2021 has been a somber yet optimistic one for many folx across the country and the world, as we continue to battle for human rights, equity, inclusive laws and most importantly access to health and safety.

On Trans Day of Visibility, AIDS United and the Fund for Resilience, Equity and Engagement (FREE), want to continue our efforts to amplify the voices and work of TGNC folx who are doing amazing work across the country.

Please take time not only today, but as often as you can, to find ways to support the tremendous work being done by these great TGNC-Led organizations.

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

Brave Space Alliance – www.bravespacealliance.org 

Led by LaSaia Wade, MBA, Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ Center located on the South Side of Chicago. The organization is dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally competent, for-us by-us resources, programming, and services for LGBTQ+ individuals on the South and West sides of the city. They “strive to empower, embolden and educate each other through mutual aid, knowledge-sharing, and the creation of community-sourced resources as we build toward the liberation of all oppressed peoples.”

Per Brave Space’s website, they strategically prioritize the following areas of focus:

  • Health and Wellness: We view health and wellness as broad concepts, reaching far beyond getting tested or focusing on medical services. Queer and trans people face unique barriers to living full, healthy lives. We break down these barriers by offering programs that focus on the needs in our community, such as food insecurity, housing insecurity, and economic justice.
  • Visibility and Expansion: We want Black and Brown queer and trans people to be seen, wherever and however they want to be seen. And we know our community deserves services that are accessible to them, in the neighborhoods in which they live. Brave Space is striving to expand our programming to all parts of the South and West sides; if you are located there and want to partner with us, please reach out!
  • Bravery and Solidarity: We step away from the language of safety, because we know that queer and trans people can never truly be safe in spaces and communities that are not of our own making. We instead emphasize bravery– living one’s fullest, truest, and best life in the face of oppression– and solidarity as ideals for the longevity of our communities and the best hopes for queer and trans liberation.

Black Trans Advocacy Coalition – www.BlackTrans.org 

Led by Carter Brown, the organization was established in 2011. The National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition is “the only social justice organization led by black trans people to collectively address the inequities faced in the black transgender human experience.”

Through its national and state affiliates, the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition works to “end poverty, discrimination in all forms and its human inequities faced in health, employment, housing and education that are rooted in systemic racism, to improve the lived experience of transgender people.” Their work is based in “peace building, community education, public policy initiatives, empowerment programs and direct services.”

The National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition works with not just communities in the U.S. but also across the globe. It is lead by the Black Transmen, Inc., Black Transwomen, Inc and Black Trans MX nonprofit organizations.

TransLatin@ Coalition – www.translatinacoalition.org 

Led by Bamby Salcedo, M.A., the TransLatin@ Coalition was founded in 2009 by a group of transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex immigrant women in Los Angeles, California, as “a grassroots response to address the specific needs of TGI Latin@ immigrants who live in the United States.” Since then, the organization provides direct services to TGI individuals in Los Angeles and is represented in 10 different states.
In 2015, in response to widespread structural, institutional and interpersonal violence, the Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness was created. Per the TransLatin@ Coalition’s website, “Since then, the organization has secured funding from the state and local government sources as well as several private foundations and organizations to provide direct services to all TGI individuals in Los Angeles County.”
The organization’s primary focus is to “change the landscape of access to services for TGI people and provide access to comprehensive resource and services that will improve the quality of life of TGI people.” 

The Knights and Orchids Society – www.tkosociety.com

Founded and led by Quentin Bell, the Knights and Orchids Society is located in Selma, Alabama. It is the first Black TGNC-led AIDS service organization in the state. The Knights & Orchids Society’s purpose is “to empower queer and other oppressed communities to create systems that improve the quality of life, justice, and equal rights and provide opportunities to maintain healthy lifestyles.”

The organization “strives to build the power of the TLBG community for African Americans throughout rural areas in Alabama and across the south, to obtain our dream of justice and equality through group economics, education, leadership development and organizing cultural work.”

Transgender Law Center – www.transgenderlawcenter.org 

Led by Kris Hayashi, Transgender Law Center is “the largest national trans-led organization advocating for a world in which all people are free to define themselves and their futures. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.” 

Kris Hayashi, the current executive director, joined the organization in 2013 and became the first trans person of color to “lead an organization of TLC’s size and scope.”

According to their website, “TLC has won precedent-setting legal victories through cases like that of Ash Whitaker and Shiloh Quine, as well as incubated groundbreaking programs including Black Trans Circles, Positively Trans, the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, TRUTH, and TLC@SONG. During this period, TLC has more than doubled in size and made an explicit commitment and shift towards centering racial justice in trans liberation work.”