LGBT asylum seekers survive caravan journey to US border

LGBT asylum seekers celebrate their arrival at the US-Mexico border.

tA group of LGBT+ asylum seekers were the first group out of the migrant caravan to reach the northern Mexico border.

Around 80 people arrived in the Mexican border city of Tijuana this week. The LGBT+ asylum seekers celebrated their safe arrival playing Ariana Grande music, according to The Washington Post. 

“I cannot believe we actually made it here to the border,” Andy Albaringa, a 23-year-old trans woman from El Salvador, told the US publication. “The trip was so tiring.”

Members of the LGBT+ community broke off from the rest of the migrant caravan that has been travelling through Central America in the past month after facing discrimination along their journey.

LGBT+ Asylum seekers denounced discrimination from caravan members

César Mejía, a representative of the caravan’s LGBT+ asylum seekers, told Spanish news agency EFE they decided to rent private buses, with the support of LGBT+ rights groups, for the last stretch of the journey to avoid being sidelined.

One of the LGBT asylum seekers walks the street of Tijuana.

LGBT+ asylum seekers migrants arrive in Tijuana, a step closer to the US border, on November 11, 2018. (Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty)

“Bathing was a big problem, even when we wanted to shower there was no water. Same with food,” said the 23-year-old Honduran native, who fled after being beaten for being gay by local gang members.

Mejía said that while there had been no physical violence along the caravan journey, LGBT+ asylum seekers faced verbal abuse.

“People wouldn’t let us into trucks, they made us get in the back of the line for showers, they would call us ugly names,” Erick Dubon, who is also Honduran and was travelling with his boyfriend Pedro Nehemias, told The Washington Post.

Where do the LGBT+ asylum seekers come from?

The LGBT+ asylum seekers primarily travelled from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. They are fleeing poverty, violence and persecution based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Eight portraits of some of the LGBT+ asylum seekers who traveled to Mexico with the migrant caraavn through Central America in the past month.

Portraits of some of the 80 LGBT+ asylum seekers who travelled with the migrant caravan. (L-R, top to bottom) Honduran Mariela Ordonez, 22, Honduran Nati Venegas, 16, Salvadorean Britany Rachel, 36, Honduran Joana Stefani, 27, Honduran Alixon Maricela Rivera, 19, Honduran Lady Mejia, 23, Honduran Teresa Perez, 20, and Nicaraguan Sinai Cortez, 19, (Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty)

The difficulties they encountered along the journey with the migrant caravan reminded some of them of the abuse faced in their home countries.

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