Celebrating Changemakers: Stories from the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2022

Produced by the HRC Foundation

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 Latinx, 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.

CJ Moseley Jr. (He/Him) 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.

Syria Jackson 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.

Nyla Foster 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.

Regina Livingston 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.

Trenton Johnson (Him/Him/His), 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.

Korea Kelly (She/Her/Hers) 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, 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.

For more information on HRC’s work with our transgender community, visit hrc.org/transgender.

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.

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