Gina Cazun is a migrant transgender woman originally from El Salvador, who now volunteers with our partners at the TransLatin@ Coalition, an organisation that provides services to empower transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex immigrant women in the United States. While her work and experiences have empowered her to be a strong woman, her journey has not been easy.
Gina grew up without a father and faced endless abuse from her mother, making it hard for her to be comfortable in her own skin. “My childhood was very sad,” Gina told us. “With bullying at school and a mother who would hit me until I had no energy left, all for being gay, I did not think that I would live past the age of 15.”
At the age of 13, after confessing her sexuality and gender identity to her mother, Gina was told she was no longer welcome in her home. Gina ran with no destination, leaving behind school and unsure of what her future would hold.
Living on the street from the age of 13, Gina had to do everything she could to survive, leading her to lie to people about her age and entering the world of prostitution. This is where she met Lissette, a Transgender woman who helped to show here that there was a community of people just like her.
“Since childhood I learned to imagine a lot but making these dreams a reality seemed out of reach.” Gina shared, remembering how she felt on the streets. Drugs became a necessity, allowing her to escape the endless nights.
Then one night, Gina was run over by members of a known gang which resulted in her having to have her leg amputated. There was no protection for LGBTQ+ people and the police did not report it as hate crime. Gina left the hospital with no support, not even from her family. She continued sex work, and over time she spent time in prison and was deported from her own country.
Gina made the decision to seek safety and started her trip up north. However, when she reached Mexico, she continued to face abuse and threats, and was tragically raped by police officers without protection. She knows she needed to flee Mexico.
Gina is a woman who has overcome the unimaginable challenges that life has given her, but will never stop pursuing her goals and dreams.
“I want to finish school; I want to forgive.”
Her story has made her the “Super Gina” that she is today. She is known to be a woman committed to social change and working to have a better future. Our partners at the TransLatin@ Coalition gave her the safe space she was seeking and have helped Gina to rebuild her life in the United States. Through her volunteer role, Gina’s strength and determination will transcend throughout her community to support others on their journey.