Two transgender women from Venezuela, navigating both the challenges of migration and being part of the LGBTQ+ community, find solace and support in each other’s company as they build a new life in Denver. Referred to as “Ana” and “Viv” for safety reasons, their story sheds light on the struggles faced by LGBTQ+ migrants in pursuit of safety and acceptance.
Building Bonds Amid Challenges
Ana and Viv, both transgender, discovered each other’s company at a shelter in Denver two months ago. Their connection deepened quickly, forging a supportive friendship that has become vital in their shared journey. “We have created a great friendship. We help each other however we can,” Ana expressed in Spanish. While the U.S. offers a more accepting environment for the transgender community, the women’s identities remain confidential due to safety concerns, reflecting the persistent challenges faced by LGBTQ+ migrants.
Escaping Discrimination and Limited Opportunities
The decision to leave their home countries was fueled by the desire for a better future and, more importantly, a safer existence. Ana highlighted the alarming discrimination against transgender individuals in Venezuela, citing news reports of violence against trans women. The limited job opportunities, often restricted to sex work or beauty salons, further contributed to their decision to seek refuge elsewhere.
Denver Community Extends a Helping Hand
Aimee Van Ausdall and Jenny Wynn, Denver residents, came across Ana and Viv through a community Facebook page. Deeply moved by the dangers faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly trans individuals, in Venezuela, they stepped up to provide support. “In Venezuela, LGBTQ people, and in particular, trans folks, are in a lot of danger. And so they came here to find a better life,” Van Ausdall explained.
However, safety concerns persist. As immigrants, people of color, and transgender individuals, the two women find themselves at an intersection of vulnerabilities. Recognizing these challenges, Wynn emphasized the need for stable housing to prevent potential harm.
Community Mobilization for Housing
Community members and organizations, including It Takes A Village, are rallying together to assist Ana and Viv in response to the urgent need for secure housing. Intending to find stable housing by February, they have initiated a fundraising effort to cover security deposits, rent, and food expenses.
As their friends launch a GoFundMe campaign, they emphasize creating a supportive community for Ana and Viv. “It takes a village,” remarked Wynn, underlining the importance of solidarity and collective effort in safeguarding vulnerable individuals.
Amid the uncertainties of their journey, Ana and Viv express gratitude for the support they have received. “We have created a beautiful friendship,” Viv shared, highlighting the significance of human connections in navigating the challenges of a new life.