Cecilia Chung is a nationally-recognized advocate for LGBT rights, HIV/AIDS awareness, and health-related issues in the queer community. Graduating with a degree in international management, Cecilia left her conservative financial job after beginning her transition. Difficulties with money and family led to a period of homelessness. A victim of sexual and physical violence, she struggled to get regular healthcare and to be treated in emergency situations; it was during this period that she contracted HIV.
With the help of her family and strong friendships, Chung was drawn to trans advocacy work. She has worked tirelessly, campaigning for greater access to fair medical care for trans and queer people in San Francisco and against HIV/AIDS stigma. She has worked as an HIV counselor at the UCSF AIDS Health Project, the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, and as the Deputy Director at the Transgender Law Center. She is the first trans woman and the first Asian person to be elected leader of the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Pride Celebration, and the first trans woman and person openly living with HIV to chair the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.
Chung’s contributions to her community are tremendous. She founded the SF TEAM, which provides mentorship and advocacy events for the transgender community in San Francisco, and the annual Trans March. As San Francisco Health Commissioner, she trained the Department of Public Health on understanding trans issues and made San Francisco the first city in the country to pay for gender reassignment surgery for uninsured transgender patients.