Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Out Of The Shadows

There have been a number of cases of trans people fleeing their country to avoid violence and seeking asylum here in the U.S., in the past many of them were granted asylum but what will happen under the current administration?
To live openly as a transgender woman, she had to flee. In the migrant caravan, she realized she wasn't alone
By Khushbu Shah and Emanuella Grinberg
April 11, 2018

Mexico City (CNN)Nikolle Contreras says she is about to make her third attempt to cross into the United States -- her first since she came out as a woman. And one way or another, she says it will be her last.

She tried to cross the border for the first time in 2016, she said. She tried again the following year, attempting to swim across the river from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. She nearly drowned, she says, and spent two days in a coma. After a brief hospital stay, she was detained and deported back to her native country of Honduras.

After she returned, she decided to start living openly as a transgender woman. It didn't take long for her to realize that, in order to continue doing so, she needed to leave Honduras -- one of the most dangerous countries in the world for transgender people -- even though it would mean leaving her beloved family.

"I'm making this trip out of necessity, you could say," she said in an interview in Mexico City, the latest stopping point on her journey.

Contreras is one of roughly 25 transgender and gender nonconforming individuals who have joined a caravan of Central American migrants planning to cross through Mexico to the US border. On the journey, they have found safety in numbers and solidarity -- no small thing for a community that faces high rates of violence and persecution in their home countries and along the migrant trail.

Like some caravan members, she hopes to apply for asylum or some form of refugee status when she reaches the border. But even if they make it across the border, American lawyers say their fate remains uncertain.
For many trans people it is a matter of life and death. Central and South American countries have some of the highest murder rates for trans people of any other country. Hopefully they will be granted asylum.

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