My name is Tranisha Arzah and I have been living with HIV for 25 years. I am from Seattle, WA and grew up in a small town on the Peninsula called Port Townsend. Currently, I have been working as a Peer Advocate for BABES-Network YWCA which is a sisterhood of women facing HIV together since 1989. BABES Network is a Seattle-based peer support program for women and their families affected by HIV. We work from the belief that HIV positive women are uniquely qualified to understand and encourage one another. Before that, I had been just a BABE for about three years and I went to weekly support groups, educational workshops that were provided, yearly retreats and tried my best to stay afloat. Since I've been introduced to BABES my life has changed tremendously for the better! I found my support system that helped me find my voice through raising awareness by telling my story. I gained a lot of that strength from being selected two years in a row as a Youth Scholar for the National Minority AIDS Council for the Youth Initiative to End AIDS in America at the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) which focused on developing leadership among youth to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I have now used a lot of what I have learned back to my community. We're all working together, so we can end AIDS in Washington State #ENDAidsWA.
Why Tranisha wants to be part of A Girl Like Me: A lot of us are activists. We thrive to advocate for our sisters and to make a difference but we connect mostly because we're women LIVING with HIV. It's important to me because I simply treasure spaces where women inspire other women. It's also vital that these spaces exist for our future women. I am honored that I work as a Peer Advocate for BABES-Network YWCA where I get to support young girls and women every day. Without the women who lifted my spirits I wouldn't be doing this today.