Fresh out of high school, 18-year-old Sashe left the family home where she felt unsafe, moved to a shelter in Mexico City and started looking for a job that would let her freely express herself as a transgender woman.
But her goals of financial independence have been blocked by employers who turn her away for “not looking enough like a woman,” said Sashe, who asked that only her first name be published for security reasons. “I constantly saw jobs advertised for women from which I was rejected because, they said, I was not what they were looking for,” she told Openly in an interview at Casa Frida, a shelter for displaced LGBTQ+ Mexicans and asylum seekers. “In jobs advertised for any gender, they gave me no guarantees I would be respected as a trans woman,” added Sashe, who fears she could be subject to verbal or physical abuse from coworkers and employers due to her gender identity.
Sashe is one of 5 million people in Mexico – 5% of the population aged 15 years or over – who identify as LGBTQ+, nearly a third of who report being mistreated at work or not receiving the same benefits as their non-LGBTQ+ colleagues, according to the 2022 national survey on sexual diversity.
In an effort to make work a safe place for Mexico’s LGBTQ+ community, Casa Frida helps both Mexicans and asylum seekers get the documents they need to officially reflect their preferred identity and connects them with companies offering jobs free from discrimination.