Cecilia Gentili Receives ACAP’s Leadership in Advocacy Award

Photo by Leah James

On February 23, 2021, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) presented Cecilia Gentili, Principal Consultant and Founder of Trans Equity Consulting, with its ninth annual Leadership in Advocacy Award.

Ms. Gentili founded Trans Equity Consulting in 2019, an education and advocacy organization for the transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary communities. Her work focuses primarily on trans women of color, sex workers, and people with substance use disorders. She previously served as the Director of Policy at GMHC and with New York City’s LGBT Center.

Ms. Gentili has an extensive list of public policy achievements and advocacy for the LGBTQ community. She founded Decrim NY and successfully lobbied for legislation to provide survivors of trafficking with record relief and to end the criminalization of “loitering”—a charge frequently targeting transgender women. She fought for passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression in employment, housing, places of public accommodation, and non-religious schools. As the Board Co-Chair of the NEW Pride Agenda, her efforts led Governor Andrew Cuomo to mandate GENDA training for all 340,000 New York State employees. She brought a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services when the Trump administration erased provisions in the Affordable Care Act prohibiting sex discrimination against gay and transgender patients. Finally, she expanded access to community health services for transgender people, including helping a local community health center grow from twenty-seven patients in 2012 to 500 in 2016.
Also a playwright and actress, Ms. Gentili draws on a deep well of personal experience as an undocumented trans woman, sharing stories that are often excluded from mainstream media and entertainment.

“Ms. Gentili’s thoughtful leadership and tireless commitment to her work are shining examples of advocacy in its purest form—to improve the life and well-being of people who have been underrepresented and underserved,” said ACAP CEO Margaret A. Murray in a press release. “She shows us what it means to be a champion for your community. ACAP and our plans are lucky to benefit from her example and we couldn’t be happier to honor her today.”

ACAP represents seventy-eight health plans, which collectively provide health coverage to more than 20 million people. Safety Net Health Plans serve their members through Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Marketplace and other publicly sponsored health programs.

For more information, visit www.communityplans.net.

—Reporting by Hank Trout

Hank Trout, Senior Editor, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his husband Rick.