Bil Browning

Meet Betsie Gallardo's Mothers [Video]

Filed By Bil Browning | February 06, 2012 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living
Tags: Betsie Gallardo, HIV criminalization, HIV stigmatization, In The Life, Jessica Bussert, PBS, Perpetuating Stigma

One of the highlights of my professional blogging career was starting the viral campaign to get Betsie Gallardo freed from a Florida prison days before she died of cancer; Gallardo was falsely imprisoned under an HIV criminalization law. Her mother, Jessica Bussert, led the effort to free her daughter, but shied away from the media attention. Now, Bussert is speaking out to the media about her ordeal.

I originally didn't report that Bussert is transgender, but other outlets did. An Indiana resident, after the news hit the Hoosier state, she lost her job when her supervisor found out she's trans. She wrote a guest post for Bilerico asking for help finding a new job, but - as far as I know - nothing turned up.

"Perpetuating Stigma," an In The Life report aired on PBS last week, and if you missed it (as I did), you can find the video after the break. The documentary focuses on how HIV criminalization affects women. Jessica details Betsie's life, introduces us to her family, and talks about her ordeal in Florida as she fought for her daughter's freedom.

Betsie's segment starts around the 5:11 mark. Contributor Michael Rajner, who led the efforts to win her freedom in Florida, makes a brief cameo on the news footage shown in the video.

Have tissues ready.

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