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Research and education to support LGBTQIA people in Chicago and beyond.

our Mission

To use a self-as-expert approach to research and education that strengthens and supports the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA) community in Chicago and the surrounding areas.


We envision freely available and affordable treatments and services that are tailored to the LGBTQIA community that are empirically supported by data-based, community-informed research.


As a data-driven organization, we collaborate and work directly with LGBTQIA individuals and focus groups. We aim to identify research needs and shape research methodology in a way that will be workable and meaningful for all participants, while remaining rooted in ethical scientific practice. We also offer data-based, community-informed trainings to help professionals who are interested in building their competence in working with people who are LGBTQIA.

Our core values are community-driven.

Self-determination: We believe that all people deserve respect, and the freedom to make their own choices and focus on what is most valuable to them. Each person has the right to define their gender, sexuality, and other identities in whatever ways they choose.

Non-hierarchical work: Rather than a more traditional model of "experts" shaping research and trainings, our focus is on creating collaborative relationships with emphasis on shared experiences and strengths.

Workability: We strive to do what makes practical sense. If a strategy stops working, or doesn't work in a particular context, we seek out new options to determine what works best in a given situation, and continue to evaluate progress over time.

Empowering the LGBTQIA community: We seek out direct involvement and feedback from LGBTQIA individuals in our organization's activities and leadership so the research we conduct and the education we provide is by us, for us. In addition, no one will be turned away from educational services because of an inability to pay.

Meet the Crew


FREE Trainings for Medical Students

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Upswing Advocates will be offering FREE trainings for medical students on providing transgender-affirming care.

These two day intensive trainings will be available to students serving rural and under-served areas, and will cover knowledge acquisition, best practice learning, and practice opportunities to build skills that will allow them to serve transgender clients.

Many medical trainees share that learning about transgender care is important and that education in gender-confirming surgery would be beneficial (Dy et al., 2016; Morrison et al. 2016). However, exposure to transgender patient care currently is limited to a median of 1 hour of didactics exposure and 2 hours of clinical exposure annually during plastic surgery or urology residencies (Morrison et al., 2017).

Education on transgender medical care has been shown to increase provider comfort and willingness to care for transgender patients (Safer & Pearce, 2013). Because of this, we believe that educating medical professionals and equipping them to provide transgender-affirming care is a project that at its core addresses the root problem of lack of access to transgender-affirming care and will have a powerful and far-reaching impact. 

Please contact if your university is interested in hosting one of our 10 available trainings. 

We are grateful for the Lush Charity Pot grant and the generous support of our donors for making these trainings possible.


Upcoming Events



Financial Information

Your ongoing generous support allows us to do the work that we do.

From conducting research that affirms and benefits the trans community, to providing access to coaching services on a sliding scale, your support helped us to build infrastructure and begin to meet unique community needs in 2016. You can read about our first year as an organization in our 2016 Annual Report. With your continued support, we look forward to expanding access to these resources in 2017, and to begin to incorporate group supports for the LGBTQIA community and training for helping professionals on providing TGQI affirming care.