A new groundbreaking survey launched this week that aims to assess
needs and realities of transgender people living with HIV/AIDS.
The Oakland-based Transgender Law Center launched the Positively
Trans, or T+, survey Monday, August 3. The community-led online
survey is intended to examine the legal and policy landscape as
experienced by transgender women, men, and gender nonconforming
people living with HIV/AIDS across the country.
According to TLC, Positively Trans is a response to the structural
inequalities that drive the high rate of HIV/AIDS and poor health
outcomes for transgender people, especially transgender women of
color. What makes this survey unique, TLC staff said, is that it is the
first survey like this developed by transgender people living with HIV
for transgender people living with HIV.
“As transgender people living with HIV/AIDS, we are capable of
forming our own network, telling our own stories, and developing our
own strategies for advocacy,” Cecilia Chung, an HIV-positive trans
woman who is a senior strategist at TLC and the project leader of
Positively Trans, said in a news release. “This survey is a
groundbreaking opportunity to not only highlight our needs, but also
our resilience when there are few resources available. We are ready to
offer policymakers, providers and legislators our own solutions.”
Chung believes that, because this survey was written by the community,
developed by the community and promoted by and through community
channels, it will empower the transgender community to be more active
“The data we are collecting would really get a better picture of where
the gaps are,” Chung said, “so we can tune in, and come up with
recommendations specifically for those gaps to better help transgender
Chung said that there is still a lot of work to be done in the HIV/AIDS
community around understanding the needs of trans people.
“We still hear stories about trans women being harassed by law
enforcement, which creates unsafe environments for trans people,” she
said. “Like engaging in health care and they find it hard to disclose their
HIV status or even to go out on the street.”
Chung also referenced the number of trans women who have been
murdered this year in several cities.
“So far we have seen over 11 trans women murdered already this year alone,” Chung said. “These are very discouraging
messages that trans people are exposed to and they see and hear enough of how much of transgender lives seems to be
disposable. Some of that message might sink in.”
According to Chung, the goal of this survey is to look at how much confidence transgender people have in the legal system to
protect them, and how much confidence they have in the health care system that is supposed to help them.
The survey was developed in partnership with nine Positively Trans national advisory board members from across the country:
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Arianna Lint, Channing-Celeste Wayne, Dee Dee Chamblee, Milan Sherry, Octavia Lewis, Ruby Corado, Tela Love, Teo Drake,
and Tiommi J. Luckett. The majority of them are trans women of color living with HIV.
“This survey is for us and will not be done without us,” said Luckett, who lives in Arkansas. “Every trans woman and man living
with HIV should fill out this survey, because we need people to know that we’re here, and that we can develop our own solutions
and strategies to take care of ourselves.”
TLC staff noted that the survey is a safe and anonymous place for trans and gender nonconforming people living with HIV to
share their experiences on topics such as barriers, discrimination, and violence, as well as positive stories about health care
services, housing, employment, relationships, and community.
Positively Trans was made possible with the support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, TLC said. The survey’s findings, which
will be released in October, will ultimately inform policy and program recommendations, prioritization of needs, strategic
planning and advocacy efforts.
To take the survey, which is available in English and Spanish, visit http://transgenderlawcenter.org/positively-trans.