LGBTQ+ Migrants Face ‘Triple’ Threat Crossing the Mexican Border

While navigating violence and discrimination, queer migrants face new challenges while crossing the border in Mexico.

Major Migratory Corridor

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Mexico has officially become one of the biggest migratory corridors in the entire world. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community are attempting to cross the border into safety, but are meeting even more pushback. 

The Daily Struggles of Trans Woman in Mexico City

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Dayling Ramirez, a trans woman from Honduras living in Mexico City, said that every day that passes is a challenge to overcome. 

Escaping Violence

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Even after surviving Mara Salvatrucha’s persecution and gang violence, followed by the abusive immigration stations in Mexico, Rameriz still does not feel truly welcome. Ramirez said, “We trans people have a hard time getting hired. It’s horrible. Here you survive if you are a stylist or if you are a prostitute, otherwise not. They don’t give you work”. 

A Look at the Stats

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In the 2023 fiscal year, 2,045,838 encounters between the U.S. and Mexico border. Only 6 months into 2024, there have already been 1,160,805 encounters recorded.

Seeking Refuge

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Many of these people are members of the LGBTQ+ community who are seeking refuge from their home country. The general coordinator of Mexico’s National Network of Support for LGBT Migrants and Refugees, Ana Guadarrama says, “The presence and visibility of the LGBT migrant population in transit has become increasingly visible in Mexico”. 

Much Greater

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She continued, “We have seen an increase because the presence and visibility of gay men and trans women is undoubtedly much greater, whether in specifically LGBT care spaces or in a general way within the programs that provide support to the population in transit in the country”. 

Traced Back to 2013

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Along with other experts, Guadarrama says that the increasing population of LGBTQ+ migrants can be traced all the way back to 2013, but had a notable increase in 2017 after the first Trans Gay Migrant Caravan was created. 

ORAM 

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A new organization has been born, known as the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration (ORAM) in order to raise money to support the shelter, food, and transportation of 100 LGBTQ+ refugees in Mexico City. 

Passing Through

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Enrique Torre Molina, a member of the ORAM board said, “We always think of Mexico as the country from which migrants leave for the United States, but it has already become a place where people from other places pass through on their way to the United States, Canada or even people from the LGBT community who see Mexico as an opportunity to have a life that is a little safer, a little freer”. 

The Goal

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ORAM seeks to raise 400,000 Mexican Pesos ($21,670) to help these migrants for one month, using other organizations that have physical shelters and houses set up where they would be able to receive this vulnerable population. 

Startling Statistics

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Only within the last 3 years, Mexico has had a recorded 231 murders of LGBTQ+ people. In 2021, there were 78 murders, followed by 87 in 2022 and 66 in 2023 as recorded by the Letra S: Sida, Cultura y Vida Cotidiana. 

6 Murdered per Month

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Six LGBTQ+ people were murdered each month, but the Letra S’ notes that it does not reflect real numbers due to the murders not gaining media coverage and not being reported to the authorities.

Organized Crime

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Torre Molina said,  “We have become a country where there are more and more migrants and refugees. And when migrating or passing through Mexico, in addition to the violence, the insecurity of organized crime and the threats that any migrant or refugee experiences, the LGBT community faces additional discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity”. 

Suffering From Abuse

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The United Nations Refugee Agency published a report in March that says that more than 15,000 of the migrants who crossed in Mexico last year, 56% of migrants in the survey mentioned suffering from abuse, such as robbery or physical threats. 

Kidnappings Increasing 

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Last year, the association Stop Kidnapping reported 772 kidnappings of migrants. From January to March of 2024, more than 521 kidnappings have been reported, mainly of undocumented people. Torre Molina said,  “We are a community that experiences discrimination and violence. In some cases, LGBT people are in danger precisely because of the rejection of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and this affects migrants or refugees differently”. 

Looking for Freedom

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Continuing, “Sometimes it is not that these people decide to migrate but that they are forced to cross an international border, looking for a safe place and freedom”. 

The head of mission of the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), Dana Graber Ladek, said that a very important part of an LGBTQ+ migrants experiences is the “triple vulnerability” they suffer. 

Double Stigmas

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Graber Ladek said, “First, they are stigmatized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and second because they are migrants”.

Not Documented

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Continuing, “Furthermore, many of these people are in an irregular situation — they are not documented in the country — so that is like a triple vulnerability that they experience in Mexico”. 

The Great Challenge

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Graber and other migrant organizations are aware that many of the LGBTQ+ people targeted are undocumented, saying, “The great challenge we have in Mexico, and also in other countries in the region, is to understand the statistics and characteristics of this population, because they really are invisible people who migrate in an irregular, undocumented way”. 

A Deeper Understanding

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Continuing, “So there are more challenges in terms of understanding where they are, what their priorities are, their interests, etc. And the National Migration Institute is not collecting this data from migrants”. 

We Are the Statistics

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Guadarrama said, “Recognizing ourselves within statistics is a fundamental step for the possibility of creating public policies, programs and services that meet needs”. She said, “If we do not have that information, many of the actions or services that we are being generated, they are not reaching the populations.”

Continued Dedication

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ORAM continues to dedicate itself to the LGBTQ+ migrants in Mexico City, seeking support from people who aim to protect this “triple vulnerable” population. 

The post LGBTQ+ Mexican Migrants Facing ‘Triple Vulnerability’ Crossing the Border first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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