Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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Gilead Science helps Transinclusive Group with issues of health, safety, and stigma


Gilead Science helps Transinclusive Group with issues of health, safety, and stigma
Tatiana Williams faced many challenges and hardships as a young Trans woman growing up in Florida, but she didn't have many resources available to her.

"Like many of my friends, it was difficult to find stable housing, so I turned to sex work for a living," Tatiana explains.

“I had friends losing their lives to senseless murders or complications from HIV.”

Tatiana began to think more broadly about what she and her friends needed to stay safe and healthy while attending a sex workers support group. To effect change, she began speaking to those in positions of power, and as a result, she was elected to the Florida Department of Health's Transgender Health in Action group, which provides peer-to-peer workshops for the Trans community addressing issues such as health, safety, and stigma.

Tatiana's desire to assist her community in finding a safe space and resources led her to found Transinclusive Group, a Black-led Trans people's rights advocacy group in Florida. The organization provides everything from assisting individuals in changing their gender on state IDs to HIV counselling and job training - everything Tatiana herself was looking for decades ago.

However, community needs are constantly changing, and Tatiana witnessed firsthand how housing insecurity can have an impact on health and well-being. This year, she put a plan in place to change that, and with the help of a Gilead TRANScend grant, the Transinclusive Group launched CHOICES, a peer-run seven-bed housing program. The program is intended to be temporary. Residents can stay in housing for six months or more and receive preventative healthcare, financial counselling, job training, and one-on-one case management.
“In this space, we can connect through our shared life experiences,” said Tatiana.

“A lot of our community members are experiencing challenges in their life so their healthcare kind of goes on the back burner. Here, we're able to keep them engaged in care and up to date with their doctor visits. We're hoping in the six months they’re with us, they’ll be able to move on to the next phase in their life.”

The program is off to a great start, but the demand already outnumbers the supply. The housing program, for example, is not equipped to handle people with severe mental health issues, and it lacks the security capacity to assist those fleeing violence.

“People are always reaching out, but we only can do what we can do,” said Tatiana.

“Our goal is to be able to use this model and utilize the data we gather to see if we can get additional support, and maybe a larger space.” This model of peer-run housing programs for Trans individuals adds an invaluable resource to the region.

“You are in a space where you know people understand your story and situation and are not going to judge you,” said Tatiana. Her overarching goal is to build a stronger community for the future, not just get people out of crisis situations.

“How do we get to resiliency? How do we improve our quality of life together?”

The key, surely lies in community, opined Tatiana.

She went on to add, “We're doing this together and you're not alone. We understand you, we see you and we’re meeting you exactly where you are.”