Ph.D. Student Leo Valdes recently published "In the Shadow of the Health-Care City: Historicizing Trans Latinx Immigrant Experiences during the Coronavirus Pandemic."  Valdes studies twentieth century African American and Latinx history and is working on a social and political history of trans liberation that centers black American and Latinx trans people.

Leo Valdes

US Latina & Latino Oral History Journal. University of Texas Press. Volume 5, 2021. pp. 32-65


This article historicizes the coronavirus pandemic experiences of two Latinx immigrant trans women by examining their oral histories within a broader social context. New Brunswick, New Jersey, is known as the "Health-Care City," although the significant Latinx population faces barriers to accessing quality health care. The article looks at the emergence of a trans immigrant community in this urban setting, nurtured, in part, by Oaxacan immigrants who have left an important cultural imprint on the city. Borrowing Joe Trotter's term, the article further suggests that trans immigrant women constitute a type of "industrial reserve" within a racialized workforce because anti-trans violence intensifies the disposability of their labor. The article explores how the pandemic exacerbated the ongoing social crises that shaped trans Latinx immigrant life in the city, particularly through an oral history with a COVID-19 survivor.