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Ishalaa, Mexico

Ishalaa is an inspiring Mexican transgender woman of color, and a powerful activist. She was the lead spokesperson for her local LGBTQ rights group in Mexico and organized protests against an anti-LGBTQ gubernatorial candidate in her state. After receiving death threats, Ishalaa made the difficult decision to flee for safety in July 2013. After presenting herself at the U.S. border, Ishalaa was locked away in detention for over a month before she was released on bond. Two and a half years later, she was granted asylum. Though she had to leave Mexico in search of safety in the U.S., Ishalaa remains an activist working with different organizations that advocate for the rights and needs of LGBTQ communities. She works as a case manager at a community health center and says, “I am so fulfilled, so happy. I am also a full-time student majoring in political science… [my] goal is to become a lawyer. I’m a busy girl, but it was something I was fighting for and I finally have it. It feels great to have my life together again.”

Photo credit: Steven Laxton, stevenlaxton.com