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|Working to TILTT the world to trans equality|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Friday, 06 January 2012 00:00|
Cheryl Courtney-Evans co-founded Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth in 2007 after deciding it was time to have an organization offering resources to all transgender people.
“I thought it was time for there to be an organization for trans men and trans women … the first one in the area to be co-ed,” she says.
Courtney-Evans founded TILTT with Lisa Newsome, now with Someone Cares, an HIV/AIDS group helping people of color and transgender people. The goal of the new group was to not segregate but rather bring different groups of people together.
Courtney-Evans has been employed in the past by La Gender Inc., an organization working primarily with transgender women, and Aniz Inc., an organization that offers HIV prevention to families and provides support and resources to those affected by HIV.
For a time, TILTT was under the umbrella of nonprofit Aniz Inc. But TILTT is now an independent group that is currently working toward becoming a 501(c)3 in 2012, Courtney-Evans says.
The group meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at the Phillip Rush Center. It serves as a safe place for transgender people to talk about relationship issues, job leads, name change documentation, and HIV testing, as well as receive support from friends.
The group currently has six to 15 members who meet regularly and organized a canned food drive for Saint Lost & Found, a grassroots group helping homeless Atlanta LGBT youth.
“We want to present positive images of the transgender community to the community at large,” Courtney-Evans says.
TILTT has also worked with the Transforming Justice coalition of the New York-based Sylvia Rivera Law Project. The coalition seeks to find ways to educate law enforcement authorities about how to treat transgender people.
In May 2010, Courtney-Evans participated in a panel at the first federal hate crimes conference held in Atlanta and is a regular speaker at Atlanta’s annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“Since its inception, we’ve done things I’m fairly proud of,” she says. “I’ve taken many people through the name-change process, helped find jobs. If I find out about a rally or a political event, I try to get people there. We try every year to get members to register to vote. And we provide moral support.
“If we advocate and reduce or eliminate the issues that we need support with, then we’ve made progress,” she adds.
Top photo: Cheryl Courtney-Evans co-founded Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth five years ago.
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