LGBTQ asylum-seekers first from refugee caravan to reach border
In this Nov. 8, 2018 photo, members of a group of 50 or so LGBTQ migrants traveling with the migrant caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, ride the subway during a rest day, to the historic center in Mexico City. For the dozens of transgender women and gay men, the journey has meant putting up with insulting catcalls and even physical abuse. They eventually broke away from the main group and have made their way to the border. | Rodrigo Abd / AP

Several hundred Central American refugees fleeing poverty, violence, and persecution began arriving at the Mexican border with the United States in Tijuana yesterday.

Among the first to reach the border town was a small group of around 50 LGBT asylum-seekers, who formed a caravan within the caravan and broke off from the main group.

Their epic hike has been complicated by occasional homophobic harassment from other migrants within the caravan.

“We were discriminated against, even in the caravan,” said Erick Dubon, 23, a Honduran migrant travelling with his boyfriend.

“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.”

It is precisely this kind of discrimination the LGBTQ group is hoping to escape from by travelling to the U.S.

Loly Mendez, a 28-year-old transwoman from El Salvador, said she faced constant abuse back home and told of how she was threatened “that if my breasts were going to grow, they would cut them off.”

“In my country, there is violence, a lack of work and opportunities,” she said. “I am going to a country where I know I will achieve my dreams.”

Meanwhile across the border in Texas, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis boasted that the hasty deployment of troops would provide “very good training” for war.

Mattis added the mission had a historical parallel with 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson deployed tens of thousands of National Guard members to the border.

“That’s over a century ago,” Mattis said, “and the threat then was [Francisco] Pancho Villa’s troops—revolutionaries raiding across the border into the United States.”

Morning Star


CONTRIBUTOR

Ben Cowles
Ben Cowles

Ben Cowles is deputy features editor and gaming columnist at the Morning Star, the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain.

         

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