The pandemic hit my family hard; I was laid off from my construction job and got sick. After receiving unemployment for four months my claim was retroactively denied. My benefits stopped and I had to return pay.
After years of being in an abusive relationship, my daughter and I escaped. She’s still traumatized, and afraid, and always has a suitcase ready to go in case we have to run away from her father again.
In 5th grade, my teacher read us an article about the first transgender man to give birth. Hearing his perspective and experience, I thought, “Oh, I’m like him.” It was in the back of my head since then, but I didn’t come out until my freshman year of high school. I was tired of being deadnamed – people using the name I was assigned at birth, not the name I identify with.
I am a single mom and love spending time with my kids. They always come first. I was in an abusive and violent situation at home. My ex-husband told me that without immigration papers I had no rights and would lose my children if I complained. I’ve been here for 20 years, but I was scared and didn’t realize this wasn’t true. He thought I would leave him if I gained citizenship.
Three years ago, I came up from Oregon to get my life together. I remodeled casinos for 15 years until I lost my hand in a work-related accident. I lost my job and during my time in the hospital, I lost a lung and became addicted to opioids. They told me I had 3-4 years to live...I was basically living to die.
I was a fully active person who loved working with kids until I contracted H1N1 during the 2009 pandemic. I had severe complications, including amputations to parts of my hands and feet. Suddenly, I was someone who was always tired and in pain. The illness gobbled up my insurance and ran up our debts.
I think people would be shocked to know that I’m a senior citizen living in a housing control building and I was almost made homeless because my cat was seen outside without a leash. NJP wrote a letter to the housing authority telling them that what they were doing was illegal. Without that legal knowledge, I wouldn’t have known that housing was breaking the law and wouldn’t have been able to fight the eviction.
Growing up in an abusive home, drugs were part of the life I always knew. As I got older, I made a bad choice and turned to drugs myself. I met my husband at a dealer’s house. Things were fine until we started using more and he became violent.