Storytelling Chairs

Cecilia Chung – Transgender Law Center

Cecilia Chung – Transgender Law Center

Cecilia Chung, Senior Director of Strategic Projects for the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco, California, is a long-time advocate for human rights, social justice, health equity, and LGBT equality. Ms. Chung is the first transgender woman and first Asian to be elected to lead the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Celebration. She currently serves on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, on which she is the first transgender woman as well as the first person living openly with HIV to serve. Her life story was one of four main storylines in the 2017 ABC miniseries When We Rise about LGBT rights from the 1970s to early 2000s.

Ms. Chung currently directs Positively Trans: a project addressing the structural inequalities driving poor health outcomes and high rates of HIV/AIDS among transgender people through research, policy advocacy, and storytelling. Through its National Advisory Board, this initiative strengthens the leadership of transgender people living with HIV and AIDS. Ms. Chung was a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS from 2013 to 2017. She served as one of the external reviewers for the Consolidated Guidelines on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of women living with HIV published in 2017 by the World Health Organization.

Martez Smith, LMSW – Co-founder, Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network (KBCAN)

Martez Smith, LMSW – Co-founder, Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network (KBCAN)

Martez Smith is a PhD student at the University of Rochester, School of Nursing. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, he developed an interest in research, social justice work, and HIV/AIDS prevention with the house ball community. The house ball community is a subculture of Black and Latino LGBTQ life comprised chosen kinship groups (known as houses) which participate in elaborate pageant-like events (known as balls) for prizes, social status, and affirmation. Currently, Mr. Smith is researching the impact of kinship on health disparities among African diaspora LGBTQ communities, and organizing for social justice with the Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network (KBCAN), which he co-founded in 2015. His previous experience includes data collection analysis for over a dozen NIH-funded studies with the Center for HIV Educational Studies & Training, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the University of Rochester, as well as HIV/STI counseling for queer youth of color with BOOM!Health and Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in the NYC Metro Area.

Mr. Smith speaks openly about his HIV positive status, and has been involved with numerous community-level interventions designed to promote sexual health education, reduce HIV stigma, prevent new HIV infections, and promote treatment and care for people living with HIV. Some of these include the Greater Columbus Mpowerment Center B.R.I.D.G.E.S. program, the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) Youth Initiative, and the NMAC RISE Up Initiative. He has a BSW from The Ohio State University and a MSW from Long Island University Brooklyn.