This blog was translated from Spanish. Read the original, "Chicas como YO" here.
On the 10th of February at the White House in Washington DC, over 20 TransAdvocates / Activists from around the country were gathered. I was able to attend the meeting as a representative of Trans-led agencies, agencies working for the transgender community in the US and led by a woman or transgender person. The reason was so that you could work for the following eleven months on what can be changed, done or recommended to the new administration.
The consultation meeting is only the first to agree to terms with the White House, HRSA, CDC, and ONAP on issues affecting Transgender People in the field of HIV. It is very special that most of the transgender women belonged to the southern part of the country, one of the areas most affected and most underserved by policies and people who do not help us. As experts in the case of HIV, many of us started as OutReach or PEERs, as HIV gave us the opportunity to have dignified work, but not only that. Now many have taken the lead in launching programs, agencies, which are led by girls or guys like me, and know how to do the work and that work has taken us into account. In my opinion, the Obama Administration is a little late because in eleven months little can be done. Being a trans woman (PLWHA) living with HIV gave me the opportunity to know and work for a field that is the most stigmatized and criminalized, which is HIV.
The most important thing heard in that room was:
- We need to leave the group of MSM immediately.
- No one can measure the magnitude of the problem if there is no exact data.
- Trans-led agencies should have priority in obtaining funds or ensuring them for others.
- Immigration and ICE should have to meet the strictest rules with Positive People in their centers. Ideally no Transgender people should be in a detention center.
And most important is to recommend to the new administration that our transgender community is in a state of emergency in the field of HIV, a new field for us. Transgender or Translatin@s women who live in the South are dealing with indifference, insensitivity, often from persons or agencies who say they watch over us.
It is important that the White House sees us as experts in our community.
Let's see what changes will come or how we can improve our services to girls like me, transgender women in the South.