September 22, 2010
As an HIV+ Transgender Woman, the 2010 U.S. Conference on AIDS provided the opportunity to continue the lessons learned from last year. I was fortunate enough have the opportunity to speak at the Opening Plenary for the conference where I highlighted the need to create community and unity with our transgender sisters (and brothers) especially those infected and affected by HIV. There were a number of workshops and institutes this year that were trans-focused. However, at every workshop and institute I attended the transgender community was well represented.
One of the workshops I attended was presented by the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health (CoE), which was an amazing opportunity to sit with both transgender and cisgender [non-transgender] people. The CoE presented a wonderful overview of the major issues facing the transgender community, particularly the lack of statistical, population-based studies and the HIV prevalence estimates internationally.
Perhaps the most striking thing about the conference for me was the normalcy with which the community was treated by the participants. It seemed that throughout the conference, transgender people were being included and considered in the audience of the various presentations. At another meeting I attended, the speaker from the Center for HIV Law & Policy gave an informed speech about the realities facing HIV+ inmates in America, and was also knowledgeable about the relationship between the transgender community and the law.
As I left the conference this year, I felt happy that my community was again claiming its seat at the table at this conference. I feel that only by making ourselves present and represented in all aspects of treatment and care can we, as transgender and cisgender people, make an impact on the decisions that affect the whole community. It's my hope that next year the transgender community can continue to sit proudly at the table and give voice to our communities needs and issues. Thanks Orlando for being a great host!
Dee Borrego is a founding member of PWN.
Return to USCA 2010 Reports.