JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Dozens of transgender women are looking for a new home after recent rains destroyed much of the roof of their Downtown Juarez shelter.
“The roof is falling apart, we have torrents of water coming in through the ceiling every time it rains,” said Grecia Herrera, director of the Respettrans Home, a name that combines the words “Respect” and “Transsexual.” The water has caused extensive damage to upper floors used as dormitories.”
The shelter has a floating population of about 50 people, many of them migrants from Central America who fled death threats or constant physical attacks. Herrera said many of those women would be sleeping on dangerous Juarez streets if the shelter closes.
Herrera said more than 10 transsexual women have been murdered in Juarez this year, including two whose bodies were dismembered and abandoned Saturday in the Bellavista neighborhood near Downtown.
Juarez authorities admit they have found several bodies of men dressed as women, but they insist they’re drug traffickers whose rivals put them in female clothing to scare or shame competitors. Deputy Attorney General Jorge Nava on Wednesday said police are investigating the two dismemberments as a possible drug-related crime, not a hate crime.
Building repairs ‘too expensive’
Herrera opened the shelter in May after becoming aware that several transsexual women were coming to Juarez as part of the migrant caravans that originated in Central America. She was able to get a two-story home “on loan” and at one point was housing up to 52 transgender people there.
“This is a very old building, built many years ago. We need to replace the entire roof. That costs too much money and it’s not even our building. Someone is offering to lend us another place, but we would also need money to fix it up and set up water and electrical services,” said Herrera, a municipal health worker.
The shelter is needed, she said, to provide protection, advice and health information to a population that has been traditionally persecuted in Latin America.
Herrera said she is looking for donations among the Juarez-El Paso LGBTQ community to be able to move into the new building. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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