For Central Americans, traveling toward the United States is difficult and dangerous. It’s why they have come together to form a caravan. Traveling as a large group has provided some safety for them. However, even this solution doesn’t protect one of the most vulnerable groups making it way to the US: the LGBTQ community. Recently, 80 or so LGBTQ people broke off into their own group because of abuse and harassment from fellow members of the caravan.
“In my country there is violence, a lack of work and opportunities,” said Loly Mendez, a 28-year-old who began transitioning while in El Salvador, according to NBC News. “In the caravan, there is also violence – against the LGBTQ community.”
They were victims of theft. They faced verbal harassment. And one time, a group of immigrants passed by on a truck and threw water, rinds, oranges, and more at them. This group had stuck together within the larger caravan, so that they could look out for each other.
Last week, a group of about 80 arrived in Tijuana. “Whenever we arrived at a stopping point, the LGBT community was the last to be taken into account in every way,” Honduras-born Carlos Mejia said at a press conference on November 11. “So our goal was to change that and say, ‘This time we are going to be first.'”
Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) helped fund a part of this group’s journey toward Tijuana, helping them arrive weeks earlier than the rest of the caravan. But even as they have made it to a border town, they’re still under threat, they’re still vulnerable, and they still need our help. Below, check out three organizations you can donate to help the LGBTQ members of the caravan.
RAICES is helping the LGBTQ community with asylum claims. Donate here.
Al Otro lado
Al Otro Lado is a US-based organization that provides legal services along he border.
The San Diego LGBT Center
The San Diego-based organization has provided support to the group since it arrived in Tijuana. Donate here.