Irma is a Mexican transgender woman who has suffered a lifetime of loss, violence, and abuse. Irma is the eighth of ten children. From a very young age, Irma understood herself to be female. She socialized with girls and believed she would grow up to be a woman. She only started to doubt those beliefs when her family began to taunt her and physically abuse her. Her brothers wanted her to be macho and began to hit her to “toughen her up.”
Throughout her life, Irma was targeted for persecution by people in her community. At the age of sixteen and on her way back from a friend’s birthday party, Irma flagged down a car thinking that it was a cab. She realized too late that it was a patrol car. The two police officers inside forced her into the car and drove to a remote location. She was brutally assaulted. The policemen threatened that if she told anyone about this that her and her family would suffer much more. Some time after the brutal assault and continuing hostility from her mother and other family members, Irma fled to the United States.
It wasn’t until 2005, when she moved to San Francisco, that she sought help. In January 2006, she began to receive services from the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center (MNRC) and it was there that she was referred to NCLR for assistance with her immigration status. With the pro bono representation of the Transgender Law Center’s Executive Director, Chris Daley, Irma’s asylum application was submitted on August 2006. Irma was granted asylum in August 2007.