Ruby Corado never expected to live past her 30s.

A transgender woman from El Salvador, she moved to Washington, D.C. in the late '80s to escape the country's civil war. It was a time when AIDS was already devastating an entire generation of gay men and transgender women in the United States. Homophobia and transphobia were part of everyday life, from finding housing or landing a job to facing all-too-real threats of violence.

"Growing up in an environment where your friends are dying, they're getting killed, it's just a matter of, like: 'When is my time?'" she says. "'When am I next?' That was the whole thing."

Corado quickly got involved in community activism — while also navigating both her transition and learning she was HIV-positive.

...

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