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AIDS Action, TransCEND host noted trans advocate for LGBT Health Awareness Week

Valerie Spencer will talk with providers about prevention and care challenges transgender people often face

Last Updated: March 20, 2012

valerie spencerMarch 26-30 marks National LGBT Health Awareness Week. Organized by the National Coalition for LGBT Health, the Week is a "a call to action for community members, advocates, service providers, and governmental officials to recognize health and wellness as an essential part of the social justice movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, families and the wider community." This year's awareness week celebrates 10 years with a theme of "Come Out for Health".

AIDS Action, a member of the coalition, is participating through its TransCEND program, which provides support and risk reduction services to transgender women (male to female). TransCEND has drop-in space at AIDS Action's Boston Offices and maintains an active presence online at

On Thursday, March 22, TransCEND will host Valerie Spencer, a national expert on HIV prevention and service delivery to transgender people, for a lecture and luncheon. Download the flyer.

Spencer will talk with health care and service providers about issues that frequently interfere with transgender people’s ability to access health care, such as sexism, gender phobia, poverty, and social marginalization. Spencer, who appeared in the documentary Beautiful Daughters, about the first all-transgender production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, is most recently the founder of the Transcend Empowerment Institute.

TransCEND staff member Maria Roman heard Spencer deliver the keynote address at the 2011 Hispanic Black Gay Coalition's awards dinner. She found Spencer's remarks inspiring and empowering: 

“To see a successful transwoman of color being out and proud of her identity and giving back to the community is important to transwomen. She wakes us up and lets us know that we deserve to be who we want to be. She gives us a reason to believe in ourselves and to set our goals high. That message of hope is so important to have, especially when we are facing challenges. Hearing her speak and talk about how she found the strength and courage to get to where she is today gives me hope for my future.”

Questions about Spencer's visit to AIDS Action? Want to attend? Contact TransCEND Program Manager Daniel O’Donoghue at or 617.450.1016.

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