AIDS Healthcare Foundation opens Out of the Closet thrift store in Atlanta
A new Williams Institute study released Sept. 27 shows that Georgia’s voter ID laws may create substantial barriers to voting and possible disenfranchisement for more than 11,000 transgender voters in November.
The study shows that Georgia has over 29,000 transgender people who are eligible to vote, but over 11,000 of them (or 39 percent) do not have accurate IDs.
According to a new study entitled The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2016 General Election authored by Williams Institute Scholar Jody L. Herman, Ph.D., many transgender people who have transitioned do not have identification that accurately reflects their correct gender.
“Lawmakers and election officials should not overlook the impact on transgender voters when enacting voting restrictions based on identity documents,” said Williams Institute Scholar Jody L. Herman, the study’s author. “Voter ID laws impact many citizens who would otherwise be eligible to vote. Transgender people have unique, and sometimes insurmountable, burdens to obtaining accurate IDs for voting in states that require it.”
In order for these voting-eligible transgender people to obtain the accurate IDs for voting, they must comply with the state and federal requirements for updating IDs, which can be difficult and costly to meet.
“Legislators, election officials, and poll workers should work to ensure equal access to the ballot for transgender voters, who have a disparate burden under voter ID laws,” Herman said.
Out of the Closet, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF) chain of thrift shops that also serve as HIV testing centers and pharma- cies, officially opened their Atlanta store on Cheshire Bridge Road on Sept. 17. This is the 20th Out of the Closet location nationwide.
The opening was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included high-profile members of AHF, including AHF President Michael Weinstein, as approximately 50 people waited for the store to officially open its doors.
Before the red ribbon cutting, different members of the store’s team and AHF spoke briefly to the crowd. Among them was Associate Director of Testing Gregory Jacques, who talked about the importance of HIV testing at the store. Jacques noted that testing will be available with no appointments necessary Tuesday through Saturday during store hours.
According to AHF, 96 cents of every dollar the organization earns through outlets like Out of the Closet and the AHF Pharmacy go directly toward patient care. Out of the Closet’s pharmacy is part of the broader AHF Pharmacy network, which has a separate metro Atlanta location in Lithonia.
Last year’s announcement about the opening of the thrift store was met with criticism by some in Atlanta’s LGBT community, who disagree with AHF’s stance on PrEP. AID Atlanta became an affiliate of AHF last June, citing “significant debt” as the reason. An end-of-year auditor’s report from 2014 showed the agency nearly $1 million in debt.