Monday, March 20, 2023

Minority AIDS Support Services Provides Voter Assistance For The Transgender Community

As LGBT and transgender individuals, we must work together to ensure that the rights of LGBT people are respected. We must also ensure that all LGBT people have access to safe, legal, and affordable health care, housing, employment, and education opportunities.

Here at Minority AIDS Support Services (MASS) we are offering a safe place for the LGBTQ community to have a place to come register as well as restoration of their rights if needed. Many transgender and nonbinary individuals face barriers and fear when it comes to registering to vote as well as voting and being able to participate in elections.

We as advocates are here at MASS to help those who are disenfranchised by our system of voter registration laws. We want to make sure we can provide the tools so the transgender and nonbinary community can be heard and represented. Voters registration is one of the many services that we offer.

Here are four key items to remember when registering to vote or voting in person.

Identification: you must identify yourself by identifying who you are. 

Proof of address and contact information: this is important because it shows that you are aware of your identity. The more you can identify yourself, the easier it will be to register.

If you still having problems to vote there should be a volunteer attorney at the poll that can assist you in voting.

If you are still not allowed to vote on a regular ballot, request a provisional ballot. If no one is around, call the National Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for help.

In addition to voter assistance, the MASS Medical Case Management program initiates critical services for eligible HIV/AIDS clients in our local community.

Our services include assisting recently released inmates to promote access to HIV services and to facilitate continual care and monitoring for those in need. Our staff consists of a wide range of caring individuals, including medical social workers, social work case managers, nurse case managers, HIV educators, certified HIV testers, and intake/outreach specialists.

HIV Education & Testing

All of MASS staff members are certified and trained to conduct the RAPID HIV testing. All staff are trained to implement the pre- and post-test counseling. HIV education is currently being conducted in the Department of Corrections, Norfolk State University, area churches and area community health events. MASS also accepts walk in for rapid HIV testing.

Early Intervention Services

Our Minority AIDS Initiative Funding (MAI EIS) activities include HIV/STD Education, HIV Testing, Counseling and Referrals, and Outreach services incorporating the Social Network Strategy

Model for several service areas in the Norfolk Transitional Grant Area (TGA). These areas account for at least 10% of the TGA’s reported cases of HIV/AIDS.

MASS Outreach Programs

Our Outreach Programs help clients overcome the barriers that prevent them from accessing care on a regular basis provides emotional support and help them remain in care. To intensify our activities to prevent HIV infection, MASS has partnered with the Black AIDS Institute to participate in the Test 1 Million (T1M) campaign.

Transitional Housing Program

The Transitional Housing Program was designed to assist homeless HIV/AIDS inmates who have been recently released from jail to successfully reintegrate themselves back into the community. This program integrates with the Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Linkages and Resources for Inmates

(CHARLI) Program funded by the Va. Dept. of Health (VDH)

We also offer restoration rights to individuals who meet the criteria to have their rights restored. We also offer case management for individuals who has been affected with HIV. MASS also offer a clinic with free HIV/STI testing.

We service the whole community here at MASS we have a no judgement zone, and we stand strongly on confidentiality. The special services we provide to the trans community are hormone therapy, gender destination mark, name change, health care enrollment, vocational classes, support groups and PREP. We also provide referrals for gender dysphoria diagnosis. Our services are to provide a safe place for the attire community.

For transgender and nonbinary services contact me, Nyonna Byers, at 757-664-3595 ext. 108. Clinic hours are weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We are located at 2415 Lafayette Blvd, Norfolk or 247 28th Street, Suite 100 Newport News. We also offer free PREP referrals for details contact Nyonna Byers 757-644-3596 ext. 108.


Nyonna Byers is the Peer Navigator/ HIV Educator for Minority AIDS Support Services. 2020 is the first election in which she has voted.

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