Daniel Martin

Daniel Martin (he/him) first learned about Callen-Lorde nearly 27 years ago when visiting a friend in the city who was HIV-positive and was receiving treatment at the healthcare center. It wasn’t until 2000 when he moved to New York City that he found his way back to Callen-Lorde.

In the early days of his career as a makeup artist, Daniel’s story mirrors that of many other artists and creatives who encounter the familiar struggle of accessing healthcare as they find their feet. “I did not have health insurance, but I wanted to be tested for HIV, and my friend took me to Callen-Lorde,” recalls Daniel. “I was broke. I didn’t have any money. And Callen-Lorde was there for me.”

During a time of uncertainty and financial struggle, Daniel was relieved to discover a place where he could be cared for without judgment in those early days. As Daniel’s career flourished and he had his healthcare needs met elsewhere, he remained grateful to Callen-Lorde, recognizing its importance not only in providing healthcare but also in fostering a sense of community and belonging. He emphasized the need for awareness among creatives, particularly those in the gig economy, who often lack access to traditional healthcare benefits. “Callen-Lorde is more than an organization. It is an incredible community of people who are there to take care of you when you don’t feel like you can take care of yourself,” says Daniel.

Reflecting on the help that he received at Callen-Lorde and the countless other similar stories from the queer and trans community, Daniel speaks about how Callen-Lorde is more than just a healthcare provider; it is a lifeline for those navigating the complexities of identity, health, and belonging in a world that often marginalizes LGBTQ+ communities. He says, Even though our healthcare system is so broken, this is a place that you can go to and feel taken care of, where you feel loved, and feel like someone’s listening to you. And it’s not only finding that one physician. You’re meeting so many other people here, that you walk out knowing that not only is Callen-Lorde a place that will heal you but heal your soul.”

Daniel hopes that in an ideal world, the experience at Callen-Lorde would be one reflected at all health centers for everyone, but unfortunately, that is not the case. He stresses the importance of advocacy and community support in creating a more equitable healthcare system so queer and trans communities could be comfortable in their skin.