New York City Anti-Violence Project’s client, Gia, has been granted asylum on the basis of the harm suffered due to her transgender identity.
Content note: portions of the following story might be triggering.
Gia has always known she was transgender. She was born in Mexico, a country with one of the highest rates of violence against transgender women in the world. A few years after she came out, Gia experienced severe violence by classmates and community members. The continued threats caused Gia to relocate to three different parts of Mexico in search for safety. After her transgender friend, Karina, was beaten to death in front of her by a mob, Gia went into hiding before fleeing to the United States.
Gia came to the U.S. over 15 years ago by crossing the U.S. — Mexico border. She did not immediately apply for asylum because she was too traumatized by the violence she experienced to tell her story. After receiving counseling at Community Healthcare Network, Gia was referred to AVP by a community liaison, Lorena Borjas. It was there that she met AVP’s Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative, Christina Rosalin Peña, and became a client in AVP’s legal department.
During the interview with the asylum officer, Gia needed a Spanish to English translator. Kiara Montero-Reyes, a Clinician in AVP’s Client Services department, assisted in the translation during the interview process. After the application and the interview, Gia was granted asylum on September 10, 2018.
Gia is an avid transgender rights activist and has lobbied in Albany and Washington, D.C. for the rights of undocumented transgender women. She hopes to continue with her activism and help other transgender women like herself.
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