Project AFFIRM is a study of vulnerability, risk, and resilience in the context of transgender identity development.
Project AFFIRM - ATL is part of the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services at The University of Georgia. If you have questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (404) 969-6029.
Meet our staff
Roan Coughtry, MSW, is a freelance writer, educator, artist, and healer living in Atlanta, GA. With roots originating from the rural farmlands of New York, they have traveled extensively for both work and pleasure, fostering a background in psychology, the arts, social justice organizing, alternative healing, and radical sex positivity along the way. From 2006-2009 they served as the Coordinator of Outpatient Programs at Walden Behavioral Care, and in 2011 they received their Masters in Social Work from Smith College. They’ve worked with grassroots organizations nationally and internationally to advocate for racial, sexual, gender, and economic justice, and in 2012 they co-founded the Transgender Advocates of the Capital Region in Albany, NY. They continue to raise awareness around issues of diversity through trainings, presentations, and workshops. A co-leader and founding member of the Sexual Liberation Collective, they are passionate about kindling the connection between desire, spirituality, healing, and social change.
Holiday Simmons, MSW is a Black Cherokee transmasculine two-spirit activist, athlete, and lover of babies, soccer, and the ocean. He has a background in Social Work, Education, and Performing Arts & Activism. Simmons has worked with youth in foster care, taught GED, has managed education initiatives, and has facilitated numerous creative writing and spoken word workshops with groups of youth, queer and trans* people, women, and Africana and Latino communities both in the U.S. and abroad. Holiday is currently the Director of Community Education and Advocacy at Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people and people with HIV. At Lambda Legal he focuses on transgender rights, dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, police misconduct, and amplifying the voices of LGBT Native Americans and two-spirit people.
Jamie Roberts was born in Griffin, Georgia and is a lifelong resident. She began her gender transition in 1999, the same year she graduated from law school at the University of Georgia and began her law practice. The same year also saw her volunteer for Atlanta Gender Explorations, Atlanta’s oldest continuous support group for trans and gender non-conforming individuals. She was a member of the Georgia HIV Community Planning Group from 2001 to 2003, a volunteer and employee of LaGender, Inc. from 2002 to 2006, and was a Board Member of Georgia Equality from 2008 to 2013, Currently she volunteers with Trans Housing Atlanta Program, Inc., whose Mission is to ensure that trans and gender-nonconforming Georgians find safe and accessible emergency, intermediate-term, and long-term housing.
Ms. Tori Cooper
Ms. Tori Cooper most recently served as Trans Health Coordinator for a with a local HIV and advocacy agency where she headed the REAL T program. REAL T stands for Reaching Empowering and Advocating in the Lives of Transpeople. The cornerstone of the program was the REAL T Empowerment Group which aimed to empower those living the “trans experience” to live more productive lives through education and advocacy.
She holds a B.A. in Human Services and is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Health. Ms. Cooper is a gifted speaker and educator. She has collaborated on several research and literary projects and she has had several articles, blog contributions, poems and prose published in national periodicals and other media outlets. She has been a part of two doctoral research studies including one on the link between HIV and faith. Her extensive resume includes a number of awards and certifications and she believes that education is the key to true empowerment. She is a cancer survivor and faithfully attends Tabernacle Baptist Church under the pastorate of Dr. Dennis A. Meredith. She is currently working on a number of projects intended to better the plight of the African American, transgender and HIV communities. She strongly believes that every opportunity is another chance to learn and to educate others. Ms. Tori Cooper can be reached at MsToriCooper@yahoo.com.
Evelyn Olansky, MPH
Evelyn Olansky is a public health researcher and a member of the transgender community, receiving her master’s degree in public health (MPH) in Spring of 2015. Her academic background includes psychology, linguistics and anthropology, with a public health specialization in epidemiology. Her thesis research examined differences in the risk behaviors and geographic attributes of social networks, dependent on their location in or out of zones of high HIV endemicity. Her most recent work focuses on the transgender community, serving as lead interviewer on a study of stigma, trauma and stress in transgender women, as an ethnographer in ongoing formative research on the inclusion of transgender populations in widespread HIV behavioral surveillance instruments, and conducting a systematic analysis of available methods for measuring gender identity.
Eshe is an artist and organizer from the Southern Midwest city of St. Louis, Mo and raised in the Atlanta, GA. They have been active in community organizing all their life, and are currently working as the Georgia State Organizer with URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity. They graduated from Hampshire College where they studied, Theater. Their work is heavily focus on arts, embodied movement building, and culture organizing. They are a trained Theater of the Oppressed facilitator. Last year, they organized a concert in support of abortion access, a event that combined art with movement building. They are involved with several Atlanta organizations including SNAPCO, Sistersong, SONG, Southern Fried Queer Pride. They believe in always working for a truly liberated world where marginalized folks; work class people, queer and trans people, people of color, Black people have the rights, dignity, health, and safety that belongs to us. They are dedicated to building change with people who are seeking a better and free existence. They are fat and sexy and queer and non-binary!!
Luis is an immigrant from Mexico and has resided in the USA since age 10. His work started at the MISTER Center of Positive Impact Health Centers Inc. in 2014, and is currently a Bilingual HIV Prevention Specialist in Atlanta. It is here that he discovered a passion for helping those affected by HIV/AIDs and provides HIV testing, counseling, and phlebotomy work. He has worked with the Latin community and Latino LinQ, providing HIV outreach at local nightclubs. Luis strongly advocates for those that only speak Spanish navigating through HIV care and re-engagement in care. He is also a member of the City of Atlanta Jurisdictional HIV Prevention Planning Group (JPPG) since 2015 to present day. He enjoys hiking, different foods, Arabic dance music, cooking, and wine tasting.
Nat Truszczynski, MPH
Nat is the Project Coordinator for Project AFFIRM in Atlanta. She completed her master’s in public health at the University of Kentucky, concentrating in Health Behavior. Her research interested include understanding the mental health effects of multiple traumas, preventing retraumatization, and building resiliency specifically in LGBT communities. Nat’s work experiences range from working on research projects focusing on violence and trauma, to providing on-call medical advocacy services for survivors, as well as training healthcare providers on how to better serve LGBT patients. Nat is the Project Coordinator for AFFIRM Atlanta.
Avery Jackson, BA
Avery Jackson is a movement worker using community organizing, rest, research and gatherings to future build. They hold a B.A. in Sociology from Morehouse College and join the legacy of unsung Gender Non-Conforming Morehouse graduates. With a research background in anti-Black state and economic violence; Avery is committed to exploring alternative systems of economy and relationship. Avery’s commitment to restorative justice, resistance and truth is intersectional and varied. They have worked with the Partnership for Southern Equity to bridge the gap between environmental justice and racial equity. Avery is currently working to protect Black communities from Atlanta’s spike in redevelopment, cultural extraction, and erasure through food and housing cooperatives. In short, Avery is just another organizer in a legacy of Black doers sacrificing their privileges for the collective future.
Alyssa Green, MPHA
Alyssa is a recent graduate of UGA's Master’s in public administration program. Passionate about racial justice and trans liberation, Alyssa current leads Project AFFIRM's recruitment and interview efforts, where she is beginning to explore community engagement and how to share findings with community members. In addition to this her role includes supporting Atlanta trans-led initiatives, executing person centered approaches to community building, and connecting people to resources.
Lindsay is a PhD student in the department of health promotion and behavior at University of Georgia. Her research interests include disordered eating, weight change behaviors, and body image, especially in LGBTQ populations. Lindsay received her Master’s in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University in 2016, and a BS in Social Work from The Ohio State University in 2015. Most recently she interned at The Emily Program, an eating disorder treatment center in Cleveland, Ohio, where she trained in a clinical setting and served on the research team. Lindsay is an intern with Project AFFIRM.
Bekah is a current PhD student in Counseling Psychology at the University of Georgia. She previously completed her master's in counseling also at the University of Georgia. Her research interests include resilience, the impact of intersecting marginalized identities on mental health, best counseling practices for working with the LGBT community, and examining the lived experience of partners to trans persons of color. Bekah is the co-founder of the University of Georgia's College of Education Trans-Affirming Practices Taskgroup, provides individual counseling services for a wide range of presenting concerns as a psychologist in training, and is involved in advocacy for the LGBT community as a Student Representative for APA's Division 44. Bekah is an intern for Project AFFIRM.
Anneliese A. Singh, PhD
Anneliese A. Singh is an Associate Professor at The University of Georgia and co-founder of the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition and Trans Resilience Project. Her research, practice, and advocacy has centered on the resilience of transgender people, transgender people of color, transgender youth, survivors of trauma, immigrants, South Asian survivors of child sexual abuse, and social justice and empowerment training. Dr. Singh is the Program Coordinator for the Counseling and Student Personnel Services, Ph.D. Program (Gwinnett), and she teaches in the School Counseling and Professional Counseling, M.Ed. Programs. Dr. Singh has worked on several national competencies and guidelines projects for the American Counseling Association and American Psychological Association (e.g., ACA Transgender Counseling Competencies, ACA LGBQQIA Competencies, ACA Multicultural and Social Justice Competencies, ASGW Multicultural and Social Justice Principles for Group Work, APA Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Guidelines, APA Prevention Science Guidelines). She is the co-author of two books (Qualitative Inquiry in Clinical and Educational Settings, and Social justice in group work: Practical interventions for change), and the upcoming Handbook of Transgender Affirmative Counseling and Psychological Practice. Dr. Singh is the Past-President of the Southern Association of Counselor Education and Supervision and the Past-President of the Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues (ALGBTIC).