Trans Migrations: Exploring Life at the Intersection of Transgender Identity and Immigration


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Abstract

In collaboration with a community-based organization, we interviewed 10 transgender women who immigrated to the United States from Latin America about their migration histories, access to work, social support networks, and experiences with discrimination in their native country and the United States. Findings revealed a link between gender identity and the need to migrate to the United States. Participants noted severe forms of violence that included physical and sexual assault, discrimination in school and the workplace, and loss of social support upon disclosure of gender identity to family and friends. The culminating effect of these experiences resulted in the need to flee their country of origin to avoid further violence, and in some cases, death. It is important to highlight that participants also demonstrated steadfast resilience in the face of discriminatory treatment and described the positive impact of social support and community-based resources on their mental health.

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