RVA LGBTQ Black History Month Honoree: Zakia McKensey
Zakia McKensey, a native of Richmond, VA and has worked tirelessly to advocate for the transgender community and those affected or impacted by HIV/AIDS. Zakia started her career in HIV prevention in 2001 with Fan Free Clinic as the MSM (Men who sleep with Men) coordinator. She worked there for close to ten years. During her time there she was one of the founding pioneers for the TG clinic that serves local transgender clients and assists them with hormone replacement therapy and overall health and wellness. After leaving Fan Free Clinic, now known as Health Brigade, she embarked upon a new chapter of her life as an employee at Richmond City Health District. There she served for 6 years as a Disease Intervention Specialist, helping to locate, diagnose, and treat individuals who were exposed or at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.
In December of 2015 she resigned from the City of Richmond and became the Transgender Community Advocate at the Virginia Anti-Violence Project. There she is an advocate for LGBTQ survivors of domestic and dating violence, intimate partner violence. She also helps to facilitate a healthy relationships curriculum. She is the Executive Director and Founder of Nationz Foundation, a new non-profit 501c3 organization that provides free HIV and Syphilis testing as well as linkage to care services and a food pantry to assist those clients in need or who are having a rough time in life. She is an advocate for LGBTQ equality with special interest in the transgender community. When she is not fighting the battle to erase stigma related to HIV or advocating for survivors, she is also the C.E.O. of Nationz Pageantry System, a pageantry system for male entertainers and female impersonators to showcase their talents as well as erase stigma related to HIV and promote healthier lifestyle changes through entertainment and fashion.
Zakia is the current reigning Miss Scandals, a former Miss Fieldens, Miss Godfreys, Miss Club Colours, Miss Black America Plus, Miss Nationz, Miss Black National and has captured over 180 national, state, regional and club competitions throughout her career in pageantry. She believes in an “Aim to Inspire” attitude,” hoping community members will aspire to be their best selves and take responsibility for their health and wellness and unite and stand in solidarity as a community.
Diversity Richmond envisions a community where LGBTQ+ citizens are treated with respect and dignity, and their unique gifts are championed and celebrated, thereby strengthening our community.
Ryland was born in Richmond, VA. He graduated cum laude from Benedictine High School and matriculated through Wake Forest University where he became a devoted “Demon Deacon” and president of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. Upon college graduation, Ryland entered the U.S. Army serving for four years as a Quartermaster. He later began a career [...]February 22, 2017
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