ETC, New Education and Advocacy Organization for DC Trans Community

If you fall, you get up and try again. If you have the drive, stamina, and dedication of one Ms. Earline Budd you don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way.

Earline Budd Washington, DC

Earline Budd
Washington, DC

The legions of trans people and their families that she has served quietly but fiercely for the last 20 years refer to her reverently as “Ms. Budd.” She is best known as the driving force behind DC’s annual Transgender Day of Remembrance that honors the lives of people who die all to frequently just because they were standing in their truth.

She’s also widely known for the organization she founded, Trans Health Empowerment (THE). For many years it was the only resource helping the trans community find housing, health care, employment, and to nurture victims of violence and help families bury those who paid the ultimate price just because of their gender identification.

“There is not a person in this world who asks for my help who would be refused. Call me 24/7, and I’ll be there for you,” says Ms. Budd.

Other organizations have emerged that expanded on this initial mission, such as CasaRuby, which is leading the way in providing housing for homeless trans youth and adults. But Ms. Budd was the go-to person for many years before that. She was the OG, the original girl.

One day, not too long ago, Ms. Budd had the worst day of her life when it came to light that there had been financial malfeasance among the people she had trusted to manage the business end of THE. The doors closed with a large bang.

Ms. Budd, a force of nature in her own right, decided that this was not to be the end of her life’s work, that she was going to write the next and better chapter of her life of service. With the crucial assistance of the American University Legal Clinic, under the leadership of Professor Brenda Smith, the hard work of rebuilding began and continued for more than two years.

This year, this new 501(c)3 organization obtained its articles of incorporation and opened with a new board of directors. It is called Empowering Transgender Community or ETC, and its mission will be laser-focused on Education and Advocacy on issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted disease prevention, substance abuse, mental health, health services, housing, employment, and vocational training. Community workshops, conferences, trainings, and a speaker series are planned, along with opening a welcoming center, a safe place to learn and grow, and emergency shelters.

Left to right back row: Jeri Hughes, Kylar Broadus, and David Mariner; right to left front row: Earline Budd, Dr. Patricia Hawkins and Roxanne Jackson

ETC Board Members left to right back row: Jeri Hughes, Kylar Broadus, and David Mariner; right to left front row: Earline Budd, Dr. Patricia Hawkins and Roxanne Jackson

“I struggled daily to see this day, and now I rise each day to the success of tomorrow,” says Ms. Budd, adding that she’s looking forward to expanding one day with an ETC Housing program to further the organization’s mission to support and save lives.

Everyone is invited to the ETC’s Official Launch Party and Fundraiser on November 19 at the Town Danceboutique, 6 PM to 9 PM (2009 8th Street N.W).

We join the community in welcoming and working alongside this new enterprise. There is just so much work to done, we need more resources like ETC and Casa Ruby.

If you are in DC and care about trans people, you probably either know Ms. Budd or are just one degree of separation. Reach out and help her get ETC to take flight. You can reach her directly by email,




Alison Gardner