I have always tried to inform people what it life was like behind bars as a transgender latina and as a hiv positive trans latina. people think that we are supported and we are not. we have to survive on our own in there just like we have to when we are on the outside. It was hard to get medications and hormones. Prison staff treat trans women like shit. Other people like inmates see that and thinks it’s ok to treat you like shit too. So you have to fight for everything.
I am blessed because my family has always accepted me. My mother and my brothers and sisters have always supported me. This is the kind of love that I want everyone to know because it kept me alive. Family is important.
When I was released around 2004, I started working with Galaei, (an hiv org in philly), and doing condom outreach. I was able to help make difference because Trans women still need support around HIV. Trans women in prison still need us to advocate for them. We need to stand up for them. Trust me, I know.”
June Martinez, she/her
Interviewed & Photographed by: louie a. ortiz-fonseca