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On the morning of January 20, 2022, Tiffany traveled more than 1,545 miles from Texas to California. When she finally reached the TransLatin@ Coalition, it seemed to signify the end of a long road, but just the beginning of her life as a trans-latina migrant.

Tiffany’s life has not been easy. She grew up in Honduras surrounded by violence and hatred towards the transgender community. Since she was 8 years old, she felt like she was hiding from who she was. People did not agree with her identity and she faced rejection from friends and family.

I was physically, morally, mentally, and sexually abused. They treated me badly, I did not have the support of anyone, I had no other way out than to endure, keep quiet, and suffer.

Tiffany knew that her life was not going to be easy. She had to leave her house because of the harassment she received from her parents, siblings, and other relatives. She knew she had to get away and left Honduras looking for a safe place that she could call home.

“When I first dressed as a woman, it was so beautiful. But it scared me. It confirmed that she was the person I had managed to hide due to the circumstances of my life.”

Running up north

Tiffany travelled across three countries to reach Mexico, where she had to learn to survive through sex work. She tried to find work in other areas but kept having doors closed on her.

Then, Mexico started to shut down due to the pandemic, making sexual service non-existent. Tiffany found herself in a country that was not hers, with no family, no money, and soon no food, either. Months later, Tiffany went through a horrific ordeal when she was kidnapped for more than nine months by a human trafficking network. Tiffany was able to escape but felt as though the life had been taken out of her.

When Tiffany made her way to the U.S. border, she was immediately deported. After reaching out to a friend she was connected to La Casa de Colores, an association that collaborates with our partners at the TransLatin@ Coalition to support the trans-migrant community. In January 2022, thanks to the intervention of La Casa de Colores, Tiffany gained entry to the U.S. and travelled to California.

I have always dreamed of living in a place where I can be who I am.

Tiffany was referred to the TransLatin@ Coalition by La Casa de Colores where she was welcomed into transitional housing and provided with a place to live, as well as food, legal advice, and access to safety information.

“You’ve been accepted. Welcome to our home. It’s a safe space,” Tiffany recalled being the first words she heard after completing her assessment.

Looking forward

Tiffany now feels empowered. She no longer wants to run for her life and can embrace who she truly is.

“I felt that I must be HIV-positive because of everything I’ve been through – I was amazed to come out negative,” said Tiffany. “I did not know anything about sex education. I would like to open a space in Honduras so that the transgender women of my country are in a safe place.”

Click here to help us to support more people like Tiffany through organisations such as TransLatin@ Coalition.