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They put her in solitary confinement for 7 months. Before that, she was in a prison full of men.

Sadly, Johanna's experience is not the only one. Trigger warning: Graphic descriptions of sexual assault.

They put her in solitary confinement for 7 months. Before that, she was in a prison full of men.

At 16, Johanna Sanchez was brutally raped by several men in a field in El Salvador.

One of the men said to her, "Faggot, isn't this what you like?"

Johanna decided she had to get out of El Salvador to escape danger, so she ran away to the United States, "where she heard life for women like her would be better."


Why was Johanna's life in danger? And why did the man call her a homophobic slur?

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.

It didn't end with the gang members. Watch her explain in this video below. (Warning: It's graphic).

Her experience is not an isolated incident.

Trans women of all backgrounds face intolerance everywhere they go. When they end up in the prison system, it only gets worse. And if they're undocumented? That's a triple whammy.

In its investigation, Fusion discovered:

    1 out of every 500 detainees in immigration detention is transgender.

    1 out of every 5 victims of confirmed sexual abuse in detention is transgender.

So while transgender individuals make up a very low number in ICE detention, they are hugely overrepresented as victims of sexual assault.

The National Center for Transgender Equality has more startling statistics about undocumented transgender immigrants (many of whom come to the U.S. to escape prejudice in their home countries).

    1 in 4 undocumented trans people reported physical assault on the job.

    39% of undocumented transgender people have lost jobs due to bias, compared to 27% of transgender U.S. citizens.

    21% of undocumented trans people have been evicted at least once due to bias, which is twice the rate of eviction for the general trans population.

This bias against transgender people is happening in the U.S. even before they are detained. And on top of that, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can legally place transgender women in with men, where they are likely to face physical danger because other inmates — or prison guards — see their gender identity as "unnatural."

So, we have to ask ourselves: Why are we letting this happen in the U.S.? Why are we making life horrible enough for people like her that she decided to go back to El Salvador? Why aren't we providing refuge to more people like Johanna?

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

I worked as a substitute teacher in my early 20s, almost exclusively in middle schools and high schools—my age of specialty. Once, I accepted a two-day subbing assignment in a first grade classroom. Only once. Halfway through the first day, as the kids ate lunch in the cafeteria, I sat at the teacher's desk in an exhausted daze. Teaching little kids was a completely different animal than teaching big kids. While adorable, they had so many needs and so little attention span. It was like herding a bunch of flies that constantly needed to go potty.

Trying to herd those flies virtually during a pandemic is too much to even fathom.

So the real-time story that mom and writer Stephanie Lucianovic shared on Twitter of what happened when her son's second grade teacher dropped from the class Zoom call was not the least bit surprising. Hilariously entertaining, but not surprising.

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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