By Brianna Patt
With Pride Month at its end, we should continue keep in mind organizations to uplift all year long that support Black LGBTQ+ members in Dallas.
AIDS Walk South Dallas
A non-profit organization started in 2009 by Auntjuan “Mr. Community,” Wiley, AIDS Walk South Dallas was created by request of the people at a meeting in the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center. According to Wiley, citizens were asked what they would like to see in Dallas and they [citizens] stated that what they wanted to see was an AIDS walk. Wiley was mentioned by someone at that meeting who stated that he was the person for the job and that was how they got started. Their work is not just limited to their annual walk however. They have programs such as the National Strength Conference for Men living with HIV [four day weekend that offers educational seminars, motivational speakers and breakout sessions on topics from viral suppression and medication options to life after diagnosis], the Group [a support group whose goal is to enhance the quality of life for American American MSM’s [Men Who Have Sex with Men] living with HIV] and the Wellness Roundtable [a monthly community forum, providing education and exploring effective ways to better community and quality of life for those impacted by HIV]. Wiley hopes that with this organization, he can show people that HIV is not conditional to the LGBTQ+ community.
“Once we get past those stigmas and those assumptions and some of the things that we saw early years of HIV, those things really are not existent right now. It’s not about the white man. It’s about African American people. And that’s inclusive, LGBTQ, heterosexual, bisexual and all those other labels that we give each other,” Wiley said.
Founded by CEO Kirk Meyers in November 2005, Abounding Prosperity began in response to the social and health disparities that have a damaging effect on Black people [particularly Black gay men] in Dallas, offering HIV testing and treatment. The program has, [in the words of Ahmad Goree [who works with Abounding Prosperity], grown significantly, with a community center located in the Martin Luther King Jr. community center. Their programs evolved to address the different needs of the community in which its placed such as their transparency program, which focuses on improving the health and well-being of trans women of color [who have a shorter life expectancy than their counterparts], their pREP education program and their DASPOT [Dallas Area Space for Progressing our talents] program [which offers a safe space, services and activities to address the needs and support young gay Black men and trans women from ages 14-29]. The response Goree has seen from the community has been, “overwhelming.” Congresswoman Johnson has been instrumental in helping Abounding Prosperity receive grant funding and they recently received funding from HUDS [the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development].
“It’s just a wealth of support that we’re just getting overall from various aspects of community, and we are definitely proud of it,” Goree.
Black Trans Advocacy Coalition
Started by Carter Brown, the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition has recently become a beneficiary of the Black Tie Dinner, which they have been a guest of for many years.They have, in the words of Brown been consistent contributors to the LGBT community in Dallas since their founding in 2011. Over the past year, they have also worked to improve their health and employment programs, which they determined through their needs assessment. Their employment program helps both job seekers as well as employers by teaching them [job seekers] about cultural competency and bringing transgender people into the workplace, along with connecting employers to trans people who have been provided with job readiness programming for. They also partnered with FOLX, [which offers estrogen hormone therapy for transgender, nonbinary and intersex people] to provide free HRT [12 months worth] for those who can not afford it for Pride Month]. They also offer financial assistance for those seeking gender affirming surgeries, along with clothing to best help transgender people present themselves. BTAC also provides emergency housing as well. For Brown, the positive impact that this has had is unfathomable.
“It’s a phenomenal thing where you get the opportunity to speak to clinicians and therapists who also identify as transgender and non binary, [it’s also done via telehealth]. So the regional rural areas where often there is no trace of inclusive care- to be able to have access to that, for someone who cannot afford it. The impact is honestly immeasurable,” Brown said.
To learn more about these organizations, click below: