Ribbon-cutting for New Transgender Center in Los Angeles Today – Business Wire

LOS ANGELES–()–The Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center—believed to be the first facility of its kind nationwide serving Trans and Non-Binary individuals and communities of, by and for Trans and nonbinary individuals—will open in Los Angeles, CA (1001 N. Martel Ave., 90046) –TODAY– Friday, September 10, 2021, with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony, reception and tours of the facility between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm PT. NOTE: The ribbon-cutting event is set to take place at 4:45 pm.

The facility is named and being dedicated in honor of Connie Norman, known as the ‘AIDS Diva,’ a fearless Transgender and AIDS activist who died of the disease in 1996. The Connie Norman Trans Empowerment Center will serve as a home for several Trans-led organizations including FLUX and the Unique Woman’s Coalition (UWC). The center will focus on building capacity, advocacy and overall health and wellness of the Transgender and Non-Binary communities. Built and originally operated by AHF in the 1990s as Linn House, a hospice for people dying from AIDS, this 20,000 square-foot building is now repurposed to function as a sort of ‘WeWork’ space for Trans-led organizations to have a place to do their work, grow and be affirmed.

WHAT:

Ribbon-cutting and Dedication of the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center

WHEN:

Friday, September 10, 2021. 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm NOTE: Ribbon-cutting, speeches @ 4:45 pm

WHERE:

Connie Norman Trans Empowerment Center, 1001 N. Martel St. (cross street: Romaine), Los Angeles, 90046

WHO:

  • Queen Victoria Ortega, International President of FLUX
  • Chela Demuir, CEO and President, Unique Woman’s Coalition (UWC)

    UWC services, Food Program, Clothing Closet and ambassadors’ program
  • Michael Weinstein, President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation

    The Connie Norman Bear and Promise and keep the promise with me

    FLUX hands out bears
  • Hon. Paul Koretz, Los Angeles City Councilmember, District 5
  • Hon. Ron Galperin Comptroller, City of Los Angles
  • Hon. Lauren Meister, Mayor City of West Hollywood (with City proclamation)
  • Patricia Bermudez, Senior Regional Director, AHF
    • Acknowledgment of Jefferey King, Founder and CEO, In the Meantime Mens’ Group
  • Laith Ashley, Trans male model, activist and actor (FX Pose)
  • Isis King, Model, Activist Actress (America’s next top Model) – Visibility
  • Carmen Carrera, Model Activist – Health and Wellness

B-Roll: Tours of the facility—portions of which are still being remodeled—will be offered, and event attendees will also be given replicas of Connie Norman’s beloved childhood teddy bear

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), FLUX, an AHF affinity group dedicated to creating safe spaces for Trans and gender non-conforming individuals through advocacy and outreach, and Unique Woman’s Coalition (UWC), a collective voice centering on the narratives and needs of Black Trans culture and a group committed to fostering the next generation of black Trans leadership, are teaming together in this innovative center with the intention of creating a long term home for Trans-led organizations and community.

“Named after a Diva like Connie Norman, supported by an institution like AHF and led by two respected Trans orgs like the UWC and FLUX—this is historic! An entire building where trans people are at the helm, making decisions and innovating,” said Queen Victoria Ortega, Founder and International President of FLUX. “We are committed to making sure our community has a voice. Now, we have this incredible building as a home for those voices. I believe that great things are going to happen here, really great things!”

“Unique Woman’s Coalition is excited to embark on this incredible new partnership. This facility brings us one step closer to achieving equity for Trans and Non-Binary communities here in Southern California and my hope is that it may also serve as a model for such Trans service facilities across the country,” said Chela Demuir, Pioneer, Founder and Executive Director of Unique Woman’s Coalition and International Vice President of FLUX.

Connie Norman, the self-appointed “AIDS Diva,” was a fearless ‘transsexual’ AIDS activist so far ahead of her time that her lifetime experience and tireless activism preceded widespread use of the term Transgender. A member of Act Up Los Angeles and passionate advocate for the creation of AHF’s first AIDS care facility, the Chris Brownlie Hospice, where she passed away from AIDS after admitting herself, she told the LA Weekly at the time in 1996, in a final act of “self-loving to myself.”

Director Dante Allencastre was so captivated by Norman’s trailblazing story that he researched, produced and directed “AIDS Diva: The Legend of Connie Norman,” a new documentary that recently screened at the Directors Guild as part of OUTFEST. Throughout the film, Norman’s activism, passions and larger-than-life personality—as well as her humanity—come through in remarkable archival footage and compelling interviews with many who knew and loved her. In one clip, Norman remarks: “I often tell people that I am an ex-drag queen, ex-hooker, ex-IV drug user, ex-high-risk youth, and current postoperative transsexual woman who is HIV positive” and simply “a human being seeking my humanity.”

“When Connie Norman was living her final days at AHF’s Chris Brownlie Hospice, she bequeathed her childhood teddy bear to me, asking that I please help look after her Trans sisters and brothers she was leaving behind. I can think of no better way to honor that request than with this Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center that we dedicate today,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF and a good friend of Norman’s.

Norman’s teddy bear will also now take up residence at the new facility in a commemorative plexiglass display case. In addition, September 10th 2021 will also be known as Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Day via proclamation by the City of West Hollywood.

The facility will also be home to a food bank opening onsite Monday, September 13th (12 noon- 2:00 pm). A ‘Clothing Closet’ to assist Trans and other individuals will also open onsite in the future and an AHF Healthcare Center serving the needs of Trans and nonbinary patients is set to open in 2022.

A prior, star-studded gala kickoff reception for the Connie Norman Trans Empowerment Center was held at Nobu in West Hollywood on Monday, August 23rd (to view photos from Nobu event, click here).

Call to Action: Donate to the trans organizations housed at the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center to ensure their success. Website: www.FLUXidentity.org