24 Nov 2014

They Put Her In Solitary Confinement For 7 Months. Before That, She Was In A Prison Full Of Men

Because, while Johanna is a woman, she is also transgender. And because of her gender identity, Johanna's life is in constant danger. The bias and hatred against transgender women is very real, as Johanna's story sadly shows. Often, the people who commit violence against transgender women assume that they must be gay men because they might wear make-up or might wear their hair long.

Not only is she a transgender woman, she is a transgender woman who crossed the U.S. border undocumented. This makes things more complicated. Because, unfortunately, she didn't find help. Instead, she found herself in the immigration detention system. Johanna was placed in a jail — with men.

...being locked up was a nightmare. She was beat up by a male cellmate. Then, guards told her the only safe way to house her was solitary confinement. There, she sat in a 6-by-13-foot cell for 23 hours a day with no human contact and no view of the outside world. She waited for an asylum decision for seven months. Johanna decided that going back home was far better than being locked up in solitary confinement. She was deported to El Salvador. Almost as soon as her plane landed in the San Salvador airport, more nightmares followed.