SF Weekly Letters: Web Extra

Jenna J. Rapues

Health Educator/HPS Liaison to the Transgender Community

AIDS Office - HIV Prevention Section, San Francisco Department of Public Health

JoAnne Keately, MSW

Program Director, The Center of Excellence for Transgender HIV Prevention, University of California, San Francisco

Alexandra Byerly

Health Educator/Program Coordinator, El-La Program Para Trans-Latinas

Tita Aida (Nikki Calma),Health Education Program Supervisor

Asian & Pacific Islander Transgender Empowerment (ATE) Program, Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center

Davey Shlasko, Employment Specialist, Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative (TEEI)

Jewish Vocational Services

Luke Woodward

Program Coordinator, TRANS: THRIVE (Transgender Resource and Neighborhood Space: Transgender Health & Resource Initiative for Vital Empowerment), Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center

Carla Clynes

Program Coordinator, Instituto Familiar de la Raza

Yavante' M. Thomas-Guess

Co-Chair, San Francisco Transgender Empowerment, Advocacy & Mentorship (SF TEAM)

Felicia A. Elizondo, Community Member & Advocate

Isela Gonzalez, MPA, TAG Member and Community Advocate

Sarah Colvario, TAG Member and Community Advocate

Tamara Ching, Community Member & Advocate

Lauren Smiley responds: This story wasn't about the obstacles transgender women face in San Francisco (although that is indeed an important issue), but about a previously unreported aspect of the asylum system. Of course, not all transgender asylum seekers have had prostitution arrests, but sex work isn't confined to the women I focused on. (Attorneys I interviewed said the portion of their clients with prior arrests ranged from "a good number" to "many, many" to "about half.") The story included three women who told me they couldn't find work other than sex work because of discrimination, as well as information about the persecution they faced in their home countries.

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