16 trans, gay Central America migrants seek asylum in U.S.

A group of 16 transgender and gay migrants from Mexico and Central America march through Nogales, Mexico, on Aug. 10, 2017. The migrants later asked for asylum in the U.S. (Photo by Kendal Blust)

A group of 16 transgender and gay migrants from Central America on Thursday sought asylum in the U.S.

The migrants — who are from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico — called themselves the first Trans Gay Migrant Caravan of 2017. They left Mexico City and walked and used buses and other forms of transportation to travel to Nogales, Mexico, which is on the Arizona-Mexico border.

The Nogales International, a newspaper that is based in Nogales, Ariz., reported the migrants arrived in Nogales, Mexico, on July 25.

A Facebook Live video the Transgender Law Center recorded shows the migrants carrying signs and chanting, “What do we want? Freedom” and other slogans as they marched along the border wall that separates the two cities.

A second Facebook Live video shows the migrants holding paperwork lined up outside the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry before entering the U.S.

A number of the migrants appeared to wipe tears from their eyes before they entered the border crossing.

“What is happening in Central America is what happening globally: The lack of protections, the lack of understanding of who we are as trans people, as queer people,” Isa Noyola of the Transgender Law Center told the Washington Blade on Friday during a telephone interview. “That translates into violence and discrimination and stigmas that are harmful. We are left in these really vulnerable situations.”

The Phoenix-based Puente Human Rights Movement, the National Immigrant Justice Center and Somos Un Pueblo Unido in Santa Fe, N.M., also provided support to the migrants.

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