Positively Trans survey launches

Transgender Law Center senior strategist Cecilia Chung. Photo: khaled_Sayed
Transgender Law Center senior strategist Cecilia
Chung. Photo: khaled_Sayed

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

and engaged.

“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

people.”

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.

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