Interview with Nairobi Castillo

Nairobi Castillo is a long-standing transgender activist in the Dominican Republic. Originally from Barahona, the southern part of the Island, Nairobi was thrown out of home at thirteen and went to the capital looking for a more accepting environment. At first she worked cleaning, cooking and washing cloths in a family home, but she was also mistreated and over-worked. At fourteen she discovered that her body was a valuable asset and she started working the streets. This gave her some financial autonomy and she was able to rent and furnish a small room that she could call home.

Over the years Nairobi has used the hardships and challenges she has faced to help other Trans. She is a founding member and coordinator of COTRAVETD, Comité de trans, travestis y trabajadoras sexuales de Reublica Dominicana, which provides support and assistance to trans sex workers in the DR. She is also the peer outreach coordinator for the Trans health programme "Tal Cual" run by COIN. This programme offers HIV/STI care and treatment and hormonal therapy within the context of primary care. She is also the focal point in the DR for the regional trans network "RedLac," and the "Caribbean Coalition of Sex Workers" supported by CVC. Finally Nairobi is also a member of the recently formed Caribbean transgender network established in Curacao earlier this year.