LGBTQ Southerners represent the vibrancy, resiliency, and beauty of the region they call home. The vast majority live in states without statewide laws protecting them from discrimination as transgender Southerners face record-high state-sponsored targeting of essential healthcare, free speech, and access to school sports and bathrooms. The South also has the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses, exacerbated and complicated by systemic and historic racism, poverty, and healthcare inequities.
LGBTQ Southerners are not solely defined by these challenges. They’re also parents, friends, siblings, small business owners, teachers, and everyday people. Here are some of their stories.
Executive Director, The Knights & Orchids Society (TKO)
Quentin was named to the TIME100 Next list in 2022, honoring emerging leaders shaping the future and defining the next generation. See how he’s applying the lessons of Civil Rights history in his hometown to the current fight for LGBTQ equality and transgender liberation.
Dee Dee Watters
Activist, Publisher of TransGriot
Houston, TX & Chicago, IL
Dee Dee is an inspirational speaker, storyteller and role model for transgender people and all who want to live in their truth. “Human rights and trans rights are the same.”
Team Lead/Lead Investigator for Transgender Programs
Research Associate-National HIV Behavioral Surveillance
New Orleans, LA
Jasmine incorporates the arts, taking a holistic approach in healthcare when servicing and educating our communities through theater, song, poetry, and other forms of human experiences that invoke positive energy, enabling connection on deep levels of emotion.
Executive Director, National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition
As a Black trans man in Texas, Carter explains how his personal journey and public mission are coming together with a simple goal: for trans people to be seen as human beings, family members, neighbors, colleagues, customers and friends.
Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, Community Health Pier
Cedric is a living example of hope and possibility to young people in Mississippi, and for all to see that people living with HIV are living full, happy, purpose-filled lives. He delivers a message to faith leaders about erasing HIV stigma in communities across the South.
Executive Director, Game Changing Men
A grantee of the Gilead COMPASS Initiative®, Quinton and the organization he founded open new dialogue about masculinity, safety and wellness for all men, including trans men and communities of color.
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