By Jessica Martinez for Filter Mag

Every day, people do what they need to do in order to survive. That is clearer today than ever before. For the first time in nearly a century, 40 percent of Americans who were making under $40,000 a year are out of work, many wondering where their next meal is going to come from or how they will keep the roof over their head. 

For the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans women of color like myself, that is nothing new. 

Many of us were shoved out of our homes as teenagers and discriminated against when seeking jobs. We turned to the only available resource we had leftour bodiesto survive.

Do we want to do it? Different people would answer differently, but for many, that’s not a question we have the luxury of asking. For many of us, too, drug use is sometimes a vocational necessityone of the few available resources we have to cope with the unimaginable discrimination and emotional distress of our day-to-day experiences. Harassment from police—and too often, arrest—remains one of the biggest occupational hazards.