EDITOR’S NOTE: The author of this piece has asked to remain anonymous and has asked to be identified as “Miss No.”
“Miss No” is a trans femme Latina who has been living with HIV for over 20 years. The misunderstanding and lack of knowledge by others has meant she’s had to navigate discrimination, mistreatment, and assault at every turn. She’s been denied housing, jobs, and healthcare, and has watched her friends go through the same hardships.
A few years ago, she came across an organization — Translatinx Network NYC — that changed her life. They connected her to resources and competent care, and now she is thriving; she works regularly with a counselor who understands and supports her. For the first time in her life, she has doctors who are professional and caring and is involved with several community organizations and support groups that are helping her to heal from the trauma she’s experienced.
We’ve made many advances in LGBTQ rights in the last few decades, but we still have so much work to do. Momentum for LGBTQ equality is growing, and it’s time for our leaders to get on board. “Miss No” is calling on Congress to pass federal nondiscrimination protections — so that every LGBTQ person can go about their daily lives without fear of harassment or discrimination.
A federal nondiscrimination law would ensure that LGBTQ folks seeking shelter and housing have consistent uniform protections that allow them to seek legal recourse if needed. Right now, they have to navigate a patchwork of laws depending on their zip code in their home state.
“No one should be discriminated against because of who they are, who they love, or their health status. I worked for many years as a care worker and a customer service worker — I met a lot of people, and I know that deep down we all just want the same thing. Most people are good. Most people want to do the right thing. I believe that if everyone treated each other with respect and dignity, no matter their identity, so many of our societal problems would be solved.”