At the beginning of May, TLC’s Positively Trans project launched the #ACApositive campaign, a social media awareness campaign aiming to shift conversations about health care towards a focus on the life or death stakes for the trans community and to demand that the voices of trans people living with HIV be heard.
“[Positively Trans] launched this campaign, because we believe that nobody should be turned away from care, with their health and lives put at risk, because of who they are,” said Positively Trans co-founder Cecilia Chung, “yet 44 percent of transgender people living with HIV surveyed by Positively Trans have faced discrimination in health care because of their gender identity. 41 percent have gone six months or more without medical care at some point since their HIV diagnosis.”
For many transgender and gender non-conforming people, the Affordable Care Act has been essential in putting reliable health care – and with it, survival – within our reach for the first time. Throughout the current presidency, the Trump administration has maliciously attacked the Affordable Care Act, undermining the futures of transgender people of color living with HIV. Even as the debate around healthcare becomes more visible and increasingly urgent, discussions of healthcare policy often leave trans folks behind. This act of erasure could cost many people their lives.
The #ACAPositive campaign served as a way to resist this silencing of trans and GNC folks living and thriving with HIV. From the #ACApositive town hall to media coverage of the voices behind the hashtag, the needs of trans folks were centered in these discussions surrounding comprehensive care. We hope that this continues to be the trend as advocates push a healthcare platform based on equity and inclusion.
“[We launched] the #ACApositive campaign because everyone should be able to get medical care when they need it. Everyone deserves for their life to be saved, and that’s what the Affordable Care Act means for transgender people living with HIV,” state Positively Trans member Evonne Kaho. “It’s a matter of life or death for us.”