By Jeffrey Hannan | July 5, 2016
“You need to talk to more women like us,” Valery tells Flora. She is insistent that Flora know her rights. At the moment, they’re seated in a conference room of the California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) office in Salinas, California.
Both are in their 30s. Both are farmworkers in the Salinas area, a coastal offshoot of California’s rural and predominantly agricultural Central Valley. Recognizing at an early age that they are transgender, they emigrated to the United States separately, in their teens, to flee the “terrible” conditions – harassment, abuse, violence and rejection – that often accompany being transgender in Mexico.
“No estás solita,” Valery tells Flora. You are not alone.
This is the first time they have met. It is also the day Flora learns that in the state of California she has the legal right to use the bathroom that corresponds to her gender identity.