‘A Butterfly With My Wings Cut Off’: A Transgender Asylum Seeker’s Quest to Come to California
When she turned 15, Luna Guzmán, like many girls in Guatemala, celebrated with a quinceañera. But it was a secret party, with a borrowed dress, because her family couldn't fathom her as a transgender girl. So she put her soccer jerseys back on and tried to pass as the boy she knew she wasn’t inside. Even as she dealt with brutal violence, she decided to take a terrible risk and leave everything behind in Guatemala, to try to find a life in California: the one place in the world where she could imagine being safe. Being herself. Host Sasha Khokha has followed Luna Guzmán over the last two years, reporting from a migrant shelter in Tijuana, an ICE detention center in San Diego, and a tiny drag bar in Modesto. Her story says a lot about how U.S. immigration policy fails when it comes to recognizing people who live outside the gender binary, how the epic backlog of asylum cases in the U.S. can add to their trauma, and how transgender migrants at the border are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.