Human Rights Campaign Foundation Kicks Off Two Leadership Programs Combating HIV Stigma and Health Disparities

by Jared Todd

The GenHERate program is a leadership development cohort for Black women — cisgender and transgender inclusive — to partner with HRC to help end the HIV epidemic and health disparities facing Black women

The GENERAR program is a leadership development cohort dedicated to LGBTQ+ youth between the ages of 18-25 residing in Puerto Rico to learn how HIV and health inequities impact their communities

WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, through the leadership of its HIV & Health Equity program, launched of two critical programs that will work to engage LGBTQ+ Black and Latiné young people in the mission to address health inequities and end the HIV epidemic by providing mentorship, resources and education to help them become effective changemakers in their communities.

The GenHERate and GENERAR programs are part of the HRC Foundation’s My Body, My Health initiative, which works to promote healthy sex and sexuality through sex and body positivity, connect people to PrEP and HIV resources, and break through barriers related to systemic injustice, healthcare disparities, institutionalized racism, homophobia, and transphobia. Additionally, the GENERAR program is HRC Foundation’s first-ever Spanish language cohort focused on LGBTQ+ young people in Puerto Rico. The two cohorts, each consisting of eight members, are currently participating in The Center for Black Health & Equity’s State of Black Health conference in Puerto Rico, September 6-8. Acceptance to the cohort included airfare, transportation assistance, lodging, registration, and a $3,000 stipend over the three-month program.

“I’m so proud of these two talented cohorts made up of passionate leaders eager to partner with HRC and their communities in the fight to address health inequities and to end the HIV epidemic,” said Torrian L. Baskerville, HRC Foundation’s Director of HIV & Health Equity. “To end the HIV epidemic, we must focus on breaking down barriers rooted in decades-long stigma, especially for Black and Latiné communities living with and impacted by HIV. From a public health perspective, we cannot afford to continue to sideline communities historically ostracized from receiving the education and resources to have full autonomy in their healthcare needs. Through these programs, our cohorts will further develop leadership and advocacy skills to influence community change. We’re excited to partner with them, and we can’t wait to see the amazing community impact they inspire.”

Black and Latiné communities frequently face societal and economic barriers that prevent them from accessing comprehensive healthcare, and LGBTQ+ people of color are even more disproportionately impacted. One in two Black gay and bisexual cisgender men and one in four Latiné gay and bisexual cisgender men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. According to a 2021 CDC study in seven U.S. cities, 42 percent of transgender women interviewed reported living with HIV, with 62 percent of Black transgender women and 35 percent of Latiné transgender women reporting living with HIV.

The HRC Foundation’s HIV & Health Equity program is committed to ending the HIV epidemic and HIV-related stigma through thoughtful partnerships with the HIV and public health community — including community-based organizations, health departments, and national partners — to design, implement, and evaluate strategies addressing the epidemic. The program advocates for, engages, and mobilizes communities most impacted by HIV in the U.S. through public education and research opportunities.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.

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