Cheryl Courtney-Evans dreamed that one day, every trans person could live freely, without being stared at or harassed. Transitioning was dangerous in 1969. but she found family within her community, sharing wisdom, home-cooked meals, and her vivacious sense of humor.
When Cheryl was diagnosed with HIV in 1981, she had to decide between accepting death or living a life she could be proud of.
Cheryl found her voice working with an organization that assisted low-income women impacted by HIV/AIDS. It became clear to her that access to housing, education, and HIV testing could save so many of lives, but no one was focusing specifically on transgender issues and barriers. Cheryl knew she could do it differently. A good friend sparked her vision into reality, inspiring Cheryl to pursue her “ministry” and in 2007, they cofounded TILTT: Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth. A combined initiative for multi-cultural trans people—both trans women and men.
A major part of Cheryl’s truth was her HIV status. She wasn’t afraid to share her journey because she believed stigma stops you from showing up for others. Instead, Cheryl used her story to protect and inspire.
Cheryl Courtney-Evans’ life’s mission was to “handle business and help people.” Her life became a legacy for so many trans people living in the South.
Cheryl is still here… because she served her community in a holistic way and didn’t let HIV stop her from making a difference.
It's time to Change the Pattern in the fight to end HIV and AIDS in the Southern United States. Be a part of this new initiative!