Celebrating Changemakers:

Stories from the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community 2022-2023

Read from our small grant recipients and ACTIVATE and ELEVATE fellows in their own words.

For the over 2 million transgender and non-binary people in the U.S., many of whom identify as either Black or Latine, programs like Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s ACTIVATE & ELEVATE are incredibly dire as the community continues to endure brusque attacks, discrimination and transphobia.

Sharing their experiences and reading their stories helps us establish more positive representation, build our community and combat transphobia, stigma and anti-trans violence while also creating opportunities to establish prosperity and progress.

Sunshine Bella Goodman (She/Her)

Sunshine is a public speaker and trans activist who was a part of the 2023 Elevate Fellowship through HRCF’s Trans Justice Initiative. Her personal mission is to empower people to lead with authority while living their most authentic lives. She is based in Charleston, SC and serves as both an organizer with the South Carolina United for Justice and Equality coalition and an advisory board member for the Trans Love Fund.

Nakysha "Nikki" Hoskins (She/Her)

Nikki is a public health professional and trans advocate who was a part of the 2023 Elevate Fellowship through HRCF’s Trans Justice Initiative. She currently serves as a TransLife Care Specialist at Positive Impact Health Centers in Decatur, GA. There she facilitates needs assessments for the community and provides resources to trans/GNC individuals regarding housing, education, HRT, and clinical care.

Jasmine Lopez (She/Her)

Jasmine is the Economic Empowerment Coordinator for The Center’s Economic Justice Initiatives program, which serves Queer women, LGBTQ+ Immigrants, and TGNC community members. She develops and maintains partnerships with NYC workforce development agencies and delivers TGNC cultural sensitivity trainings and capacity-building support to New York City agencies, to create trans-inclusive workplaces. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human services from Boricua College and is the recipient of the 2016 Translatina Network CRIS Award, and 2017 Ali Forney Award. Jasmine has been featured on BRIC TV, The Scene, Fusion TV’s SHADE: Queens of NYC, Them Magazine, Grovo, and Human Inclusive, spreading awareness of the need for and importance of trans inclusion in the workplace, as well as career development and opportunity for the TGNC community.

Andrea Montanez (She/Her/Ella)

Contigo Fund Community Board Member, and an openly proud immigrant transgender Latine woman from Colombia. She serves as Advocacy Director/LGBTQ-Immigration Organizer for Hope CommUnity Center. Andrea's role is to bring visibility and educate communities on the intersections of being an immigrant and transgender. A long-standing community builder through volunteerism, Andrea is Board Member at Peer Support Space, whose mission is to build and be a local hub for diverse peer-led recovery communities. In Addition, she is also a co-Director of Outreach at Come Out with Pride Orlando, whose focus is to produces an annual pride event that fosters a sense of community and encourages LGBTQ+ citizens to live openly and with pride educates the general public of our shared cultural heritage. She aims to continue her social justice, activism, and volunteerism efforts in Central Florida!

Kayla Finn

Kayla is native to Florida and currently resides in Richmond, Virginia where she is the PrEP Navigator and one of the HIV/STI Testing Counselors at the Nationz Foundation. Her goal is to educate her community on sexual health awareness and the importance of the work she does within her LGBTQIA community. She aspires to be the very best at anything that she does or any goal she sets for herself. As a survivor of The Pulse NightClub tragedies, she felt that she was given a chance at life for a much bigger calling and purpose and that purpose was to live her best life by being her authentic self while giving back to her community.

Korea Kelly (She/Her/Hers)

Korea is a native of Kansas City, Missouri and is better known in the community as “Korea Cavalli,” Founder/Executive Director of Cavalli Entertainment LLC & The Transgender Empowerment Society. She has facilitated many local trans support groups that focus on providing access to tangible resources. Korea is the Supreme President of the first national transgender sorority Kappa Iota Sigma Sorority Incorporated, a Case Manager for Lion House KC/Our Spot KC, and sits on several Community Boards, including Operation Liberation and Kansas City Pride Community Alliance.

Jennifer Barnes-Balenciaga (She/Her/Hers)

Jennifer Barnes-Balenciaga, soon to be Mrs. McQueen, was the first LGBTQ+ liaison in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently based in Manhattan, she is a member of the New York Commission on Gender Equity (CGE) and is a member of the illustrious House of Balenciaga, a leading institution in the House and Ballroom Scene. She is also the Director of the Crystal La’Beija Organizing Fellowship (CLOF), was a Youth Policy HIV Advisor for Georgia Equality and has presented at many HIV-related conferences such as NAESM, USCA, and at congressional gatherings through AIDSWatch. She has been published in The New York Times, TEENVogue, Harvard Public Health and VeryWellHealth, and can be seen on Season 2 of POSE FX.

Trenton Johnson (Him/Him/His),

Trenton Johnson, known in the community as “Coach Trent,” is a social justice advocate and activist, reverend, certified life coach, community organizer and mentor, as well as the CEO/founder and executive director of (LoveYourNewCreation) LYNC2Gether Connection Center LLC, an organization he created to assist transgender individuals on their gender-affirming journeys in all areas. Trenton holds a special interest in Advocating specifically for mental health awareness and spiritual wholeness centered around black transmen, black transmasculine folks, and trans individuals who have been silenced on their faith journey. His upcoming book “2Sided Pain: Worth the Wait” tells his story detailing his transition as a Black Trans Man of faith and is accompanied with an audio CD of inspiration and empowerment.

Regina Livingston (She/Her/Hers)

Regina is the founder of the Unspoken Treasure Society, a non-profit providing resources and support for transgender and gender non-conforming people with three chapters in Gainesville and Jacksonville, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. Unspoken Treasure Society provides linkage to healthcare, housing, HRT and offers safe, non-judgmental spaces for the transgender and gender non-conforming community. Ms. Livingston has also been recognized as one of the most influential women in the state of Florida by Nikki Fried, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, for her successful launch of the Purple Orchid Program, which brings together Black and Brown trans and cis women to dismantle the stigma around HIV and create community-led solutions to end the HIV epidemic.

Nyla Foster (She/Her/Hers)

Nyla is a Black woman of Trans experience, Organizational Strategist, and Trans & Youth advocate. She has been living in her truth since the age of 14 and is well known within the Kansas City LGBTQIA community. She is the current Miss Black Trans International and a former: Miss Missouri State, Miss Black Trans Kansas, Miss Kansas City Black Pride, and Miss Kansas City Gay Pride. Nyla currently facilitates the Kansas City Transgender Empowerment Program (KCTEP), a program open to all transgender and gender non-conforming people focusing on access to healthcare, legal services, employment, education, and safety.

Syria Jackson

Syria is a long-time Transgender activist, Public Health Prevention Specialist and Counselor and serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans and is a member of the Transgender Law Center's Black Trans Circles Steering Committee. Syria has over 20 years as a service representative advocating for disadvantaged youth and consistently providing aid in New Orleans and surrounding communities. Syria is a 2020 ELEVATE Fellow, 3/21 Small Grantee, and Ballroom TransTalk Participant.

CJ Moseley Jr. (He/Him)

CJ Moseley Jr. is the Co-Founder and CFO at Trans Across Atlanta. This nonprofit organization provides resources for the transgender community in Atlanta and surrounding areas. Trans Across Atlanta assists people with finding information about physical & mental health needs, living situations and meals. CJ is a 2021/2022 HRC ACTIVATE fellow.

More About the Programs


An annual fellowship that advances the leadership of transfeminine people by effectively increasing their personal and professional development, particularly in navigating and improving social and public health systems.


An annual professional development fellowship designed for trans and non-binary leaders of color. Through Activate fellows become leaders in advocacy and community organizing.

Free Lyft Rides for Public Safety

In partnership with Lyft and trans-focused community-based organizations, HRC is offering free Lyft rides in select cities for medical appointments, job interviews, and more.

For more information on HRC’s work with our transgender community, visit