Being Transgender Under the Migrant Protection Protocols

Natasha is trans and her home country of Honduras is one of the most dangerous places in the world for members of the LGBT community. She bears scars from transphobic attacks against her. She was disowned by her mother and other family for her gender identity. So Natasha fled Honduras and came to the United States to ask for asylum.

But when she got here and pleaded for our help, she was sent to Mexico to wait in between her asylum hearings under a Trump policy called the “Migrant Protection Protocols.” Now, Natasha has been stranded with thousands of other refugees in the border city Matamoros, Mexico. Despite U.S. claims that the Mexican government is providing humanitarian aid to people like Natasha when they arrive, we saw for ourselves that they’re absolutely not.

“I just cried. I didn’t have anything to eat. I went two days without eating before someone donated food,” Natasha told us. “I was sleeping on the street without blankets, nothing. It’s not easy. And I don’t know why they sent us here.”

And Natasha isn’t safe there. She still receives transphobic abuse and threats in Mexico that she can’t escape.

“A guy said loudly, ‘We should kill all fags, make them all disappear,’ just so I would hear it,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t sleep out of fear they’ll come kill me or take me somewhere.”

Natasha told U.S. officials that she didn’t feel safe in Mexico and had been kidnapped while traveling through the country. But they ignored her.

“They didn’t explain anything. They didn’t ask me anything or tell me to sign anything or tell me they were sending me here,” she says. “The next thing I knew I was back here [in Mexico].”

Instead, they told Natasha that she would have to wait in Mexico until June 2020 for her first asylum hearing. Under the Trump administration, it’s her only option.

“I will never go back to Honduras,” Natasha says. “I’d prefer to be killed 1,000 times than go back.”

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Further Resources

To learn more about MPP, you can check out more of our coverage from the border: