Cook County Jail has quietly expanded its transgender policies and services in recent months, opening a protective unit for transgender women and bringing in local advocates to work with detainees and staff. The women file in all at once, in a fit of laughter and hugs, turning a quiet, empty room into a reunion. Bonnie Wade and Channyn Lynne Parker from Chicago House are here today, and some of the women know them from the outside. Nastasha Valentino, 38, rushes to hug Parker. Parker and Valentino have been friends for more than 20 years, and Valentino is proud to see Parker doing good work, the kind of work she was destined to do, Valentino says.
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