Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Trans Justice Initiative Launches Leadership Program for Hispanic Trans Community

by Jarred Keller

ORLANDO, FL — The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF), the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, and the Transgender Justice Initiative (TJI) program are proud to announce the new ELÉVATE fellowship. Seeking to advance the leadership of Spanish-speaking trans and nonbinary people, this fellowship empowers trans community advocates by investing in their professional development and interpersonal skills.

The inaugural ELÉVATE cohort includes 12 trans and non-binary individuals. Trans activists Andrea Montanez and Samantha Montemayor, both graduates of TJI’s ACTIVATE fellowship, will serve as facilitators of the Spanish-speaking in-person training in Orlando, Florida.

The ELÉVATE curriculum includes sessions on cultivating leadership, networking, navigating the needs of your community, and effective storytelling. In addition to the curriculum learnings, fellows will receive a $500 stipend as a small investment in their personal and professional lives.

“We are excited to announce this dynamic cohort of trans and non-binary leaders and celebrate the work that they are doing to uplift the Hispanic trans community. As a Black trans woman, I’m aware of the challenges facing the BIPOC trans people when it comes to feeling overlooked and dismissed as though our life experience doesn’t matter. We created ELÉVATE to celebrate Hispanic trans lives and bring visibility to these amazing folks in Florida–one of the epicenters of anti-trans legislation and hate.”

Tori Cooper, Trans Justice Initiative Director

The 12-person fellowship consists of trans leaders from across the country, including: Adrian Lorenzo (he/him), Tampa, FL; Andrea Sandoval (she/her) Land O Lakes, FL; Efrain Garcia (they/them), Deland, FL; Elia Chino (she/her) Houston, TX; Elizabeth Tomanguilla (she/her/ella), Tampa, FL; Fidel Gomez Jr. (they/them/ellxs), Orlanda, FL; Jamie Arangure (she/ella), San Diego, CA; Maia Monet (ella), Orlando, FL; Patty Betancourt (ella), Houston, TX; Razi Lara (she/her/ella), Apopka, FL.

  • Andrea Montanez (Facilitator)

  • Samantha Montemayer (Facilitator)

  • Efrain Garcia

  • Razi Lara

  • Elia Chino

  • Patty Betancourt

  • Andrea Sandoval

  • Jamie Arangure

  • Fidel Gomez Jr.

  • Ellie Tomanguilla

  • Adrian Lorenzo

Transgender people are more likely to live below the poverty line, and for trans people of color, these rates are even higher. Around 29% of transgender adults live in poverty, as well 39% of Black transgender adults and 48% of Hispanic transgender adults. Providing networking and other professional growth opportunities to this community is a crucial way to help close this financial gap. Additionally, 27% of trans people have been fired, not hired or denied a promotion due to their trans identity, making additional professional opportunities all the more important. By increasing access to job opportunities, individuals are also less likely to experience violence: the Department of Justice found that “households at or below the Federal Poverty Level [...] had more than double the rate of violent victimization as persons in high-income households.”

To learn more about the Trans Justice Initiative and ELÉVATE visit here.

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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