Metro Weekly

Earline Budd steps back in to fill a void in transgender community

New nonprofit hopes to provide much needed services

Earline Budd -- Photo: Todd Franson
Budd – Photo: Todd Franson

Earline Budd is no stranger to setbacks. And she’s a champion at tackling them head on.

The longtime activist and advocate, whose name has been synonymous with providing direct services to the District’s transgender community, was crushed when the organization she founded, Transgender Health Empowerment, closed in 2013 due to financial mismanagement. “I just couldn’t bear to lose the organization and not start something up to fill what we had lost,” she says.

What particularly disturbed Budd was the loss of THE’s drop-in center and its ability to provide housing for clients. Budd began talking with people to re-establish a similar center that would offer direct services such as housing navigation, health care coordination, and substance abuse programs.

While there’s still much work to be done before Empowering the Transgender Community, her new non-profit, can officially open its doors, Budd remains hopeful. As the board searches for a permanent home for the organization, ETC will rent space from The DC Center. ETC has also obtained grant money from the Diversity Fund to help with setup costs. In the meantime, direct services can be accessed through HIPS, where Budd currently works.

“Ultimately, ETC will be a housing provider in the District for transgender people,” says Budd, who will serve as the organization’s executive director. “We plan to have a multifaceted program where we will be providing mental health, substance abuse, workforce development and case management all in one building. It’s going to take us a minute to get the funding and get the building. We don’t know the time frame. We are going to get it done.”

If you’re seeking housing or other direct services, contact Earline Budd at 202-210-3629 or email For more information on Empowering the Trans Community, or to donate, visit

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