FEATURE-Transgender women left behind as tide turns in fight against HIV - TRFN
By Kieran Guilbert
LONDON, Dec 10 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When she transitioned from a man to a woman at the age of 27, Cecilia Chung lost her friends, her family and her job.
Ostracised from society for being transgender, and relying on sex work to survive on the streets of San Francisco, Chung was unprepared for the horror that was to follow.
"I was arrested for soliciting and put in detention for three days, where gay and bisexual men and transgender women were housed in the same cell," said Chung, 49, a strategist at the San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center.
During her detention, Chung was coerced into having unprotected anal sex with one of the male inmates, and months later, she tested positive for HIV.
"I was too afraid to fight or resist him because the entire experience of being in arrested and in jail had already overwhelmed me."
People who are transgender are described as people who feel they have been born into the wrong gender body.
Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to change their bodies, while some undergo surgery. But not all can or will take those steps, and transgender identity is not dependent upon medical procedures.
While transgender women are accustomed to abuse, stigma and violence, one of the biggest dangers they face today is HIV. Continuación...