The Laurel Foundation has been embracing and empowering Southland transgender youth as well as children and families affected by HIV and AIDS for more than 25 years.
The organization hosts Camp Laurel in Big Bear, where children learn how to overcome adversity.
"I had gone to camp as a kid my whole life and just felt that there was a real need for a service like camp to give to these kids where they were free to be themselves their authentic selves," said Founder Margot Anderson.
"I've been going to Camp Laurel since I was 13, and they really helped me to have a positive outlook on who I am," said camper Marty.
The Laurel Foundation currently serves more than 700 children and their families in Southern California.
Another local organization has been helping those in the Black transgender community for more than 20 years: the Unique Women's Coalition. The group's goal is to empower a community that is too often targeted by hate.
"We are a resource hub. We are designed to service the trans and non-binary community," said Queen Shannon, who is passionate about being a voice for the voiceless in the transgender community.
UWC was founded in 1997 looking to empower black trans people. Queen Shannon says too many people in her community are targeted by hate. The group tracks transgender victims killed worldwide.
"Collect data of our fallen siblings that have been murdered to violence or hate crimes worldwide. We acknowledge our community members as brothers and sisters," said Queen Shannon. "Since January 2021, we have had a total of 24 trans and non-binary siblings who have died to cruel acts of violence."
Chela Demuir founded UWC to provide transgender people a refuge from judgement, hate and violence.
"This is a time where our community really needs people to show up for them," Demuir said.
She says her community deserves love and acceptance especially during the holidays.
"It's during a time where our community members who are disenfranchised from our family members, where it's a time where we need a more intimate environment the most," said Demuir.
LA Pride honors Laurel Foundation and Unique Women's Coalition as their 2021 nonprofit honorees
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