Meet The Castro-Martinez Family

Castro-MartinezThis weekend, Texan LGBT paper The Dallas Voice introduces readers to the Castro-Martinez family. They're not a gay family, but oh well.

Writes the Voice:

A little more than a year ago, Avigail was expecting her and Joel’s third child. Their daughter, who would be named Genesis, was going to be born any minute. About 2 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2010, in need of some last-minute supplies, Joel and Avigail put their sons into the family’s Chrysler Sebring, and the family headed to the store.

But as they passed through an intersection on McCart Avenue, on Fort Worth’s south side, a drunk driver in an SUV ran a red light and slammed broadside into the family’s car. The drunk driver then fled the scene, but a Fort Worth Police officer who saw the accident was able to give his fellow officers enough information about the SUV that they were able to track down the driver while the first officer stayed at the scene of the accident with the gravely injured family of four.

… The two young boys suffered serious injuries. Joel had fractured ribs and several lacerations. Eliel suffered a laceration to his liver. Their father Joel was so severely injured that he was unable to work for six months after the accident.

But Avigail was the surviving family member with the most serious injuries. Not only did she lose her unborn daughter, she suffered bleeding in her brain and in her lungs, and spent six months on life support — unresponsive and unaware of anything going on around her. Now, Avigail remains confined to a wheelchair, and she will be for the rest of her life, unable to care for herself or her family.

The Voice is calling for readers to help the Tarrant County DA's office, which has officially "adopted" the Castro-Martinez family for the holidays. They're looking for donations of "in-kind" items, such as a wheelchair for Avigail, a shower chair, and toys for the kids. Deets on how to help may be found at The Voice, along with this heartening, thoroughly pro-family message:

I know that we have plenty of people here in our own LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities that need our help this holiday season. I am not saying we should ignore them. But I just think we should remember that we don’t have to restrict ourselves to just helping our own. When you get right down to it, we’re all in this together.

[Photo: Courtesy of The Dallas Voice]


  1. luminum says

    I believe the point is well made. Beyond the struggle for equality, this family’s story must have touched the editors of the paper enough to feature them despite any direct connection to LGBT-specific issues. And hopefully, our own stories would touch others despite the fact that they may be straight publications.

  2. Brian says

    Jason: It’s a group of people who suffer from a specific disease and who therefore require particular kinds of support and assistance. Not sure what’s so difficult to understand or offensive about that.

  3. Danny says

    Jason if you read up about the social and political history of the epidemic I’m sure you’ll see pretty clearly how the HIV came to–had to come to–function and understand themselves as a community. If you’d seen what I saw in the ’80s when I was nursing some of the first people to get sick…

  4. jason says

    Stop trying to create a community of sick people. Sick people are already part of the community. You are clearly trying to create segregated communities for reasons of vanity and for the purpose of playing the pity card. I won’t have any of it.

    Of course, sick people should be looked after. But do it as part of the general community and stop trying to create these unhelpful categories based on identity politics.

  5. Brian says

    Jason: I’m baffled by your naivete. You need to read up on the history of the AIDS epidemic in this country. Medical research, to take only one example, is largely a matter of public policy (who gets grants for what). I shudder to think how much worse it would be right now for people with HIV/AIDS if there hadn’t been sustained, targeted activism around the issue in the 1980s and 1990s.

    I also think you’re misunderstanding the word “community” in this context. Acknowledgement of common experiences and interests within a particular group of people is not the same thing as separatism. No one is arguing for that except in your imagination.

  6. enough already says

    Jason is not being naive, he’s being difficulty.
    There’s a fairly small but very very loud group of idiots in the queer community who get hysterical anytime you say ‘victim’ for those who are victims and go all PC and double-plus certain you’re practicing erasure politics whenever you dare to say something they have decided is non-PC this week.
    But heh, to hell with their arrogant stupidity. There is a genuine need among most HI virus victims for support, I firmly feel that those of us who weren’t infected in the early ’80s were just plain lucky and assert a definite community.

    As for this poor family, yes, it is just and meet that we help them.

  7. jason says

    Well, help each other, then. But why do you need these nonsensical categories like “HIV community”? Have you ever asked HIV-positive people whether they want to be a part of this “community”? Stop trying to manufacture communities by imposing your view of the world on people who have HIV.

    Some of them might not even want to be a part of your “community”.

  8. endo says

    Jason (who also posts as Rick) has posted numerous times that AIDS is caused by excessive partying, not by the HIV virus.

    Nothing he says is worth taking seriously.

  9. Bobby says

    Even if there was insurance (I doubt it) once the policy cap was reached, there would be no other coverage. And these people would have maxed it out very quickly.

    The article on Dallas Voice is here:

    The final line says you can “contact Ashlea Deener by email at or Bryan Hoeller by email at to make a cash donation or to volunteer to help with repairs.”

  10. Kenneth H. says

    I plan on sending these people what I can. As for the HIV community brouhaha – one must admit that it has become something more like a cult – complete with creepy missives against the world, kind of like what we are seeing with the “trans” community.

  11. Castlewoof says

    @JASON-By simply using the term “them” you set yourself apart from any person that is not “you”. Ignorant and patronizing language that shows how little you think before you rant.
    @KennethH.-I hate to break your bubble, but at what point does a person living with a life threatening ilness, who seeks support from others dealing with the same or similar issues, become a cult? What should we be called then? The Diseased? Or perhaps Pariah Posse?

  12. Castlewoof says

    This family and many others need help. Not just for the Holidays, but every day of their lives. Volunteering your time and helping with “in kind” donations are the best way to help anyone in need. I’m one of the COMMUNITY of HIV people that spend my non-working time helping others as much as I can, not because I need to to feel better about myself, but because it is simply the right thing to do. Jason, can you say the same?

  13. jason says


    Well, would you prefer me to use the word “us”? Well, I’m sorry but that’s simply ridiculous. It’s phony inclusion. I don’t operate on that basis. Keep your inclusiveness umbrella to yourself. I don’t want any part of it, especially if it’s designed to distort definitions and warp perceptions.

  14. Vito says

    Agree with Jason. Ideologues try to create “communities” where they don’t exist and they do this for political reasons. “Community” is such a nice word that there is a tendency to accept it unthinkingly, without working through the potential consequences. On that note: there is no such thing as “LGBT” or an “LGBT community”. Gays, lesbians and bisexuals are all homosexually oriented and thus can properly be described as a group, however diverse and fractious. Trans people are mostly non-gay and are not defined by sexual orientation. It makes as much sense to lump them in with LGBs as it would to lump in accountants or golfers.

  15. Marc says

    I agree with Castlewoof that this family and many others need help. Volunteering and donating is part of the solution.

    Having a government that insures minimal social security for every citizen would also be a solution – but that’s another debate.

    Let’s just be glad that the Castro-Martinez family won the media lottery and that enough attention will be brought to their problem to help them.

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