ACLU - Plaintiff Profiles: Joaquin

The ACLU of North Carolina is a guiding force in the world of civil rights and liberties. The organization fights for individuals, their families, and their future at a time when having an ally is critical. For many North Carolinians, their livelihoods are threatened by laws and policies that allow discrimination based on who they are, who they love, or what they believe. One of the most well-known instances of this discrimination comes in the form of  North Carolina House Bill 2, or “the bathroom bill.”



“Here we are, trying to defend our lives and our identities and our public existence now. It’s not something we asked for.”

That’s where Joaquin comes in. A transgender North Carolinian challenging HB2 in federal court, we wanted to share his personal history to help people see the human being behind the political story. Not everyone knows someone who is transgender, and it’s easy to fear what you don’t know.

Joaquin works with men and trans women in HIV outreach and was forced to take a service elevator to the basement to use a single-occupancy bathroom. This unique and uncomfortable situation called attention to him—attention he didn’t ask for. With the support of his employer, Joaquin is now challenging HB2 and speaking out on behalf of transgender men and women across the state.


Our interview with Joaquin was shot in Anamorphic 4k over the course of two days, and we collected b-roll at a few of Joaquin’s favorite places, including his Crossfit gym. The intention was to show his focus, inner strength, and work ethic, as well as how he relates to and supports the trans community.

The video, which was made specifically with a social media audience in mind, was shared by the ACLU of NC. It was then picked up by the national account, where it accrued over 40,000 views.

Joaquin goes to court in May of 2017.