North America

In Houston, trans migrants carve out new lives for themselves

Portraits of trans migrants in Texas

Photography by Kike Arnal

Photographer Kike Arnal has photographed the transgender community for years around the world. Through his many years of documenting the lives and struggles of Latinx transgender people in California, he was introduced to Ana Andrea Molina, a transgender activist originally from the State of Tamaulipas in Mexico. Ana moved to Texas almost 20 years ago, and in 2015, started Organización Latina de Trans en Texas (OLTT) in Houston, Texas. The organization provides support to Latinx transgender people that arrive in the US, often fleeing violence and discrimination in their home countries in Central and South America.

These portraits are of people who have been forced to cross the physical US-Mexico border in order to escape persecution for who they are. They are construction workers, performers, sex workers and activists.

OLTT has helped hundreds of transgender men and women find jobs, places to live and legal representation to start their applications for refugee status. The organization is sometimes referred to as “Casa Andrea,” a nod to the founder’s status as a maternal figure to so many who come to her for aid.


Kike Arnal

Kike Arnal is a photographer and videographer. His photos have appeared in the New York TimesNational Geographic and Mother Jones, as well as numerous exhibitions. His latest book, Bordered Lives, focuses on transgender culture in Mexico.

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