AIDS Project East Bay Opens TRACY House Transgender Youth Center

Front row, from left to right: Jenetta Johnson, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Sharyn Grayson. Hope Jones-Sheffield; Back row: Storm Miquel Flores, Grace F. Lawerence, Melanie Elekenie, Alex Zhander, Kevin Bynes, Jillian Young, Alvan Quamina, Michele Grim, Valerie Spencer, Alona Clifton, Jorge Jackson, Raymond Brickhouse, and Joe Jenkins.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. She has been recognized and awarded for her LGBT advocacy throughout the nation, especially for rights of Transgenders. “Major,” a documentary about her life from fighting in the 1969 Stonewall Riots to her current work as Executive Director of Transgender/Intersex Justice Project, is in the works.

By Jesse Brooks The AIDS Project East Bay(APEB) opened TRACY House (Transgender Resources and Advocacy Center for Youth), the first of its kind, May 18  in honor of Tracy “Equality” Bumpus, a Transgender  advocate who died in July  2011, and to better meet the needs of the underserved transgender and gender non-conforming youth. Youth living in Alameda County, who self-identify as either  transgender, questioning or gender non-conforming can have access to innovative social services in a safe, empowering and local center named for Tracy Bumpus. Bumpus fought tirelessly for the rights of transfolk, demonstrating and giving others the courage to stand up for themselves, until her untimely death in 2011. Before moving to California,  Bumpus worked in New York with Housing Works, a large AIDS organization. In 2007 she successfully sued the New York City Transit Authority, after an employee cruelly attacked her with homophic and transphobic slurs, which led to further harassment by passengers. The ruling resulted in amended policies and procedures to include gender sensitivity provisions. When Bumpus died, she was days from completing a master’s degree in social policy from Empire State College. She had already signed up for a second master’s program  in teaching. According to a 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality, transgender people were four times more likely than the general population to live in extreme poverty, and more than twice as likely as the general population to be homeless and face harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination at every turn. This complex web of intertwining oppression and discrimination leaves many transgender women with no option to support themselves, causing some of them to turn to risky and dangerous underground employment. A 2009 report from the National Institutes of Health found that nearly a third of transgender Americans are HIV-positive. The study also indicated that many transgender women may not know their HIV status, due to a series of cultural, social, and economic barriers.     Transgender women of color are at an even greater risk for HIV infection than their white peers. The (NIH) study noted that the HIV-positive infection rate was 56% among African Americans and 16% among Hispanic transgender women among those transgender women of color surveyed. The TRACY House offers services Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  The range of social services available include:  HIV/STD testing, weekly support groups, computer lab, community outreach and educational workshops, trans-specific resource referrals, volunteer and internship opportunities, and the provision of specialized “clinical services”, which include laser hair removal and hormone therapy. Persons interested in the TRACY House Transgender Youth Center may contact Sharyn Grayson (Program Coordinator) at (510) 673-7979. For more info call 510-575-8245 or email mrjessebrooksii@gmail.com
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