Rise and Shine!

Dearest friends and supporters of Outshine NW,

Today, we have two exciting announcements! First, the release of data from the 2015 US Trans Survey! This is the most comprehensive, extensive, and informative research study ever conducted among American transgender people. 27,715 trans or gender-variant participants completed the survey of over 300 questions, with a less than 5% rate of missing responses. For those unfamiliar with statistics, let us just say: this quantity and quality of community participation in research is unheard of. Trans communities across the country have much to be proud of today.

The new data tell us many important things. First and foremost: when researchers devote meaningful time and energy to accurately characterizing our reality within their work, in collaborative partnership with Trans leaders, our communities do show up to participate in, and will organize to support, community-based research. Trans people exist and need to be the driving force in research about our own lives.

What do the survey results tell us about Outshine NW’s work?

39% of respondents experienced serious psychological distress (based on the Kessler 6 Psychological Distress Scale) in the month prior to completing the survey, compared with only 5% of the U.S. population.

40% of respondents have attempted suicide in their lifetime– nearly nine times the rate of the U.S. population (4.6%).

7% attempted suicide within the past year — nearly twelve times the rate in the U.S. population (0.6%).

33% had at least one negative experience in healthcare settings related to being transgender.

23% did not seek health care they need in the year prior, due to fear of being mistreated, while 33% did not receive healthcare because they could not afford it.

25% reported a problem in the past year with their insurance related to being transgender.

55% of those who sought coverage for transition-related surgery in the past year were denied.

Respondents to the US Trans Survey reported living with HIV (1.4%) at nearly five times the rate of the U.S. population (0.3%). Among Black transgender women, 19% reported living with HIV.

23% reported experiencing some form of housing discrimination in the past year. 30% have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, with 12% experiencing homelessness in the past year due to being transgender.

More than 26% of those who experienced homelessness avoided shelters for fear of mistreatment, while 70% of those who stayed in a shelter in the past year reported mistreatment, harassment, being sexually or physically assaulted, or being kicked out of shelters due to their gender identity.

46% have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime, while 54% experienced intimate partner violence.

No surprises here, but it’s so nice to finally have numbers!

So, what is Outshine NW doing to support our communities in light of these data?

We’re moving to Arkansas.

During our winter working retreat outside the country to step back and focus on the direction of Outshine NW’s energy, we have concluded that being the light in the world means relocating our work to the rural Ozarks, where our energy is deeply and disproportionately needed.

Donations to the winter working retreat fundraiser support our preparations for this move. We are buying a parcel of land where disadvantaged trans people throughout the state will come rest their heads with relative safety and build community together in the coming years.

We won’t have much, but we’ll have each other.

Friends, we are deeply grateful for the countless ways you have uplifted, supported, and promoted Outshine NW’s light into the apathetic darkness this past year. Now, more than ever before, we have strong evidence of the hardships our community faces; and now, more than ever before, we have opportunities to overcome those hardships together.

Please take a moment today to reflect upon and share this announcement. Begin conversations with your friends, your families, and your colleagues about the US Trans Survey data. Ask what they’re doing — and share with them what you’re doing — to end Trans discrimination in health and human services.

Ask them to support our winter fundraiser so we can build a safe shelter for the staggering number of trans people in the South who will die over the next four years without this level of intervention.

Through it all, please remember that you are loved. Your life is valuable. You bring unique beauty to the world that is worthy of support, appreciation, and respect. Outshine NW aims to correct the misinformed society that tells us otherwise. Will you join us?

It’s time we Rise and Shine together.

In solidarity,

Brandyn Gallagher
Executive Director
Pronouns: he, him | Email: 

#RiseandShine #StandTrans #USTransSurvey #USTS #TransHealth #TransHomelessness


Share the wealth for our health!

Trans and gender-expansive populations face a healthcare crisis in the United States and abroad. Trans people are less likely to seek healthcare, and more likely to delay seeking care when they’re sick or injured, than their cisgender counterparts. When they do seek care, trans patients often have to educate their doctors about their health, face discrimination from clinic staff, and encounter physical and structural violence from healthcare providers.

Outshine NW is a small, Trans-led non-profit organization working to promote LGBTQ health and equity through education and advocacy. We actively engage medical professionals, social service providers, and community members from all walks of life to bridge communication divides and heal people.


We have planned an intensive working and healing retreat for core staff and volunteers, taking place outside the country this winter. The purpose of the retreat is two-fold:

1) To provide space for those driving our work to connect with training and community in order to develop professional skills needed to successfully advocate for healthcare equity and to heal from trauma endured in the name of transphobia.

Skill-building: Volunteers are matched with mentors conducting trans-focused health research and healthcare. Trans communities are dramatically underrepresented in healthcare professions, which limits the progress of trans-centered care and results in very few role models for aspiring trans healthcare professionals. Through ONW’s network of trans health researchers and healthcare professionals, each volunteer will be matched with a mentor. Your support will allow us to facilitate these mentoring relationships and provide volunteers with training in professional skills specific to an aspect of advocacy in trans and LGBQ healthcare.

Community healing: The working-healing retreat was designed using a trauma-informed, radical self care framework maintained by core staff and is supported by outside mentors and volunteers. Mental health is a critical concern among trans communities as a result of interpersonal and structural violence. Your support of this fundraiser helps to build a safe and healing space. This community healing also includes the area surrounding the retreat, as we work to strengthen and engage meaningfully with the individuals and local businesses who enable and support our presence.

2) To develop Outshine NW’s core programs to promote trans-led, trans-centered health research and care. We have identified two initiatives as the focus of this retreat.

Trans health buddy system: Using the combined expertise of volunteers attending and working at this retreat, we aim to design a training manual for our “buddy system” program, where trans individuals and their allies learn specific skills to advocate for trans patients in medical settings. Your support enables us to take on one of our highest priorities: reducing barriers for trans folks to access the healthcare they need and deserve!

Trans-focused, community-driven HIV prevention educational materials: Educational materials promoting health behaviors such as prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections are rarely inclusive of trans individuals, and even more rarely targeted specifically toward trans individuals. We aim to design materials for an HIV prevention campaign designed by, featuring, and targeting trans individuals. Your support allows ONW staff and volunteers to collaborate among themselves and with outside community organizations to identify specific gaps in public health materials and design campaigns addressing those gaps.

Donations to this fundraiser directly support travel and lodging for our volunteers first and foremost. Additional funds help to cover administrative expenses, internet costs, and sliding-scale legal support as our startup organization works to obtain independent 501c3 status.

Share the wealth for our health by donating and sharing this #GivingTuesday!

Workshop: Beyond Barriers

Think you know all the options available for maintaining your HIV status? Join our Executive Director Brandyn Gallagher for an inclusive workshop on HIV status management options for kinksters across various forms of play and sexual expression.

Discussion will center around how medications and other strategies can be used to prevent HIV transmission regardless of your status and how to conduct a personal risk assessment based on the latest medical evidence, followed by open Q&A and group discussion. Participants will enhance their own framework for making personal risk assessment decisions and also learn ways to engage respectfully with prospective partners, friends, and community members in discussions about serophobia (fear of HIV) and its impact on personal health decisions.

Friday May 6th 7:00 – 8:30 PM

CSPC Raw Space
1608 15th Ave W
Seattle WA 98119

Anyone 18+ with ID
Cost at the door: $20.
Advance: $15 (Solo) $28 (Duo) and $43 (Trio)
Limit 30 attendees.

If you have any questions, please email:

New Article: Transmasculine People in HIV Research

Brandyn Headshots (Credit- Nate Gowdy)-001 CroppedI cried listening to Dr. Tonia Poteat’s CROI 2016 plenary presentation in February, HIV in Transgender Populations: Charted and Uncharted Waters. A few times, actually. I could barely believe—after being left out for so long—that transgender men were finally being recognized and highlighted as an important population for scientists to include in future HIV research.

I began a passionate quest to advocate for the inclusion of trans men in HIV prevention studies exactly one year ago at last year’s CROI (one of the biggest annual HIV research conferences in the U.S.). There I learned that trans men who have sex with men (MSM) had been excluded from every clinical efficacy trial of PrEP (which is still true to date). Since that time, I have made it my mission to speak up for the inclusion of underrepresented populations in HIV research, and to do my part to overhaul the systems that have caused this, and other, scientific injustices to occur.

Read more of Brandyn’s new article on the BETA Blog.

Interview: Trans MSM – Rethinking Sexuality & Health

Brandyn Headshots (Credit- Nate Gowdy)-001 CroppedOur very own Brandyn Gallagher sits down with HIVE’s Shannon Weber to discuss the creation of his Facebook group: Trans MSM: Rethinking Sexuality and Health, which “extends beyond PrEP to talk about complete sexuality, and wholeness, and health, and how do we protect ourselves in empowering ways that aren’t stigmatizing and are respectful of other people…”

Watch Brandyn’s interview at the HIVE

PRESS RELEASE: PrEP Educational Resources for Trans People

PrEP Educational Resources for Transgender People
Community partners seek to increase awareness of PrEP availability among transgender women and men who have sex with men

January 22, 2016, Chicago IL — Project Inform and Outshine NW enthusiastically announce the launch of a new educational resource on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for transgender women.

Entitled “Transcending Barriers for Safer Pleasure,” the new booklet marks the first major available resource on PrEP by and for the transgender community. Both organizations are also re-launching Project Inform’s current booklet, “Is Taking PrEP the Right Choice for You?” written for men who have sex with men (MSM). It is now updated with inclusive language and information for transgender men who have sex with men.

Though not uniformly collected throughout the US, current data show high rates of HIV infection among transgender women, while other data point to a high proportion of transgender women who continue to be unaware of their current status. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a meta-analysis of 29 published studies show that 27.7% of transgender women tested positive for HIV infection. One study found that 73% of those who tested positive did not know their status. Further, higher percentages of infection occur among transgender women of color.

Faced with injustice affecting housing stability, employment and healthcare access, transgender people are more likely to be put in situations that substantially increase risk for contracting HIV, while also having fewer resources for testing or treatment available. This new booklet for transgender women and the newly-revised booklet for men who have sex with men are the first in a series of dedicated educational outreach efforts that aim to uplift and empower transgender people to make informed, proactive and healthy decisions.

PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is an HIV prevention strategy that allows HIV-negative people to take a once-daily pill to prevent HIV. It has been proven highly effective in a broad range of people, is safe to take in combination with hormones, and is recommended for anyone at risk of contracting HIV.

Executive Director of Outshine NW, Brandyn Gallagher stated, “Our community has been desperately needing these resources, and I’m glad we’ve broken some ground to create them with Project Inform. Transgender women are fighting a serious crisis right now with regard to HIV and inadequate health care resources. Transgender men who have sex with men are widely excluded entirely from prevention research despite reporting higher rates of behaviors associated with HIV risk. Sexual health researchers, educators and providers must actively engage transgender people and develop culturally appropriate HIV prevention strategies if we want to see an end to the virus. Project Inform’s collaboration with us on this and other upcoming projects is a great example of such engagement.”

“By providing these new and revised booklets, Project Inform hopes to begin filling the noticeable gap in PrEP education by and for the transgender community,” said Director of Education Alan McCord. “We have been providing PrEP materials to the community and service providers since FDA approval in 2012. It’s been both a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside Outshine NW to produce these booklets. We look forward to continuing to partner with them in building this resource.”

The Spanish version of the “Transcending Barriers for Safer Pleasure” booklet will be available in a couple of weeks. All of Project Inform’s PrEP materials can be read and copies ordered at

Christie Sowers [she, her],
Director of Communications & Development, Outshine NW

Alan McCord [he, him],
Director of Education, Project Inform

PDF Copy of this Press Release


Outshine NW is a small non-profit organization based in Seattle, WA that serves communities by promoting LGBTQ health and equity through education and advocacy. We actively engage medical professionals, social service providers, and community members from all walks of life to bridge communication divides and heal people.

Project Inform fights the HIV and hepatitis C epidemics by assuring the development of effective treatments and a cure; supporting individuals to make informed choices about their health; advocating for quality, affordable health care; and promoting medical strategies that prevent new infections.

New Article: Will the AMP Study Set the Standard for Transgender Inclusion?

Brandyn Headshots (Credit- Nate Gowdy)-001 CroppedThis November, the AMP Study (also known as HVTN 703/HPTN 081) will bring a fresh approach to HIV prevention research. The Phase 2B study is inspired by vaccine research, which seeks to arm the immune system to resist HIV infection — but it skips a step by directly giving HIV-negative people antibodies rather than using a vaccine to trigger the desired antibody response. However, the AMP study is notable for more than this new approach to HIV prevention. It’s also engaging transgender people and people of color at every step of the process, and is the first HIV prevention clinical efficacy trial to explicitly name transgender men as an eligible population to be included in the study.

As explained by HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN)’s lead behavioral scientist, Michele Andrasik, Ph.D., the AMP Study is taking “a true community-based participatory approach.” Trans people and people of color have been involved in writing the protocol, crafting language on enrollment forms and reviewing informed consent and educational materials. Trans people have been employed to fill clinic staff openings, and professional consultants with lived trans experience have been hired to train cisgender (non-transgender) clinicians and staff.

Read more of Brandyn’s new article at

New Article: Privilege in Transition

Brandyn Headshots (Credit- Nate Gowdy)-001 Cropped“What do you mean?” my researcher asked with bated breath. From across the room, I could hear her heart stop and sink to her stomach.

Four months earlier, I had enrolled in a PrEP [Pre-Exposure Prophlyaxis, brand name Truvada, is a once a day pill that can prevent HIV aquisition] study at the local gay clinic. The doctor hadn’t expected trans men to enroll, but when I showed up in her office arguing that I, too, was a high-risk gay guy who needed PrEP, she conceded that I was right. She gave me a pregnancy test, as was required by IRB (institutional review board) regulations for anyone possessing a uterus, and she drew a couple vials of blood to check for HIV and proper kidney function. A week later, with an offer of free condoms and a reminder to use them consistently, she handed me my new prescription for Truvada, the pill that prevents HIV.

Read more of Brandyn’s new article at HIVE Online

Brandyn Interviewed by SF AIDS Foundation

As part of their ongoing Hot Topics series, Brandyn was interviewed by staff at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. As you know, Brandyn has contributed several articles to their online magazine BETA.

This year, Brandyn Gallagher, an outspoken advocate for transgender people and transgender man himself, found the outdated term “gender identity disorder” stamped in his medical records. “I went to a neurologist with paralysis in my hand, and not only did my paperwork say female on it, the only ‘problem’ listed on my paperwork was ‘gender identity disorder.’ That doesn’t even exist and it was completely unrelated to the paralysis in my hand,” he explained.

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) replaced the stigmatizing diagnostic term “gender identity disorder” with the diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” in the revised fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This change was made to better characterize—without pathologizing—the experience of identifying with a different gender than the one a person was assigned when they were born.

Read the full interview at SF AIDS Foundation