2019 – Chela Demuir

Chela Demuir has been a service to the LGBTQ community with a journey that expands over two decades. Although Chela has formal education as a journalist but she got involved with HIV/AIDS work after having a loved one shared their HIV+ status with her, armed with wanting to learn and be of assistance; she dove into the world of HIV/AIDS and social justice. After working many years with LGBT community, with an expertise in Trans issues throughout the Los Angeles area and having been an employee with almost every organization that offered services, she came face to face with issues concerning the lack of access to and the availability of resources for trans people. 

With a vision and a personal computer she wanted to help in any way she could, so she called upon a few friends who were willing to lend a hand in organizing a few community events a year in support of the Trans community especially during holidays when trans community can feel the most disconnected from family.  

What started as a weekly support group held at Unity Fellowship Church in Los Angeles every Sunday after church has materialized as the first formalized organization in Southern California to be founded, organized for and by Black Trans women.  

UWC has been able to be at the table for a few historic moments for the movement; Established the original Trans-Unity Pride, now known as Trans Pride LA Established the original Los Angeles County Transgender Task Force Established the Transgender Youth Network, now known as TSPN Coordinated with OAPP the first Transgender HIV Testing Day.

It’s going to be hard to mention Unique Woman’s Coalition without mentioning Chela Demuir and vise versa, as the two are synonymous with one another. Chela lived a very different life before she found community; but community is where Chela found herself and a passion. If you ask Chela, she’ll tell you “that’s where my journey truly started”. Chela has been the spark and the fuel for UWC, at a time when it was unheard of for Trans people to be independently organized and solution driven she pioneered ahead and forged a way for black trans and non binary community to have a voice. Chela is also known to many as a Mother figure, she has been a village to many community members navigating the world. “Chela’s philosophy has always been to create a path where there is none, and if you’re lucky you’ll create a door that others can utilize”​ she calls her style of community organizing “Social Edutainment. Mixing social and education elements together to create an experience, once community is in the same space with positive energy, their open to receive messages; and that is what they call “creating a spark”. That spark can be a flutter or a hungry flame. It’s that spark or that message people can take away from spaces Chela and UWC create that can lead to change. In 2019 UWC is charging forward to introduce multimedia projects produced and created by Trans people.

Chela currently serves as the National Advocacy Director for FLUX, ​ ​A national division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) dedicated to creating safe spaces for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming individuals through advocacy, events and innovative marketing.