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Transgender Leadership Initiative Awards Money To Fight HIV


AIDS United, under its Transgender Leadership Initiative (TLI), has awarded $115,000 in grants to eight organizations in an effort 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.

In a statement, AIDS United president and CEO, Jesse Milan Jr. said, "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. 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.” 

Transgender communities, especially transgender women of color, make up an outsized proportion of HIV diagnoses. Trans folks face myriad barriers to healthcare that includes violence and discrimination in areas such as housing, employment, and education. 

Take a look at the eight agencies that were awarded:

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 to serving on Boards of Directors of grantee and other organizations.

Pridelines Youth Services — Miami, FL

Pridelines 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! — 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.

*EDITOR'S NOTE: Some people write *trans with the asterisk as 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 or non-binary people). 

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