Today we celebrate Human Rights Day, marking the day 72 years ago when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and proclaimed that all people — regardless of their identity — are entitled to fundamental rights.
At Tahirih, we journey with immigrant survivors as they fight for their inalienable right to live a life free from violence. Despite innumerable barriers, Allan, a transgender survivor and former Tahirih client, has continued to press forward to access the justice he deserves.
Allan grew up in northern Mexico, where he met the man who would later become his husband. Although Allan did not love him, he felt pressured to get married. Over time, his husband became violent and physically endangered Allan and their children.
Knowing that it was unsafe for him to stay in Mexico, Allan fled to the U.S. with his children. Although he came in search of refuge, Allan encountered more abuse through a new domestic partner. His partner became controlling and forced Allan to have sex with strangers. That was Allan’s breaking point.
Allan fled to a domestic violence shelter, where he filed for a protective order and began therapy. As he neared the end of the program, Allan moved to a new shelter where he was able to apply for a T visa, a visa for survivors of human trafficking. He also was able to correct his name and gender markers on identifying legal documents — finally reflecting and affirming his identity.
When his T visa was about to expire, Allan got connected to Tahirih to apply for his green card, which he received earlier this year. With the help of Tahirih advocates, he has been able to renew his health insurance, seek emergency cash assistance, and maintain a steady income.
Allan now wants to focus on supporting other survivors seeking safety. Reflecting on his journey, Allan notes:
“Looking back, I see that I had the strength and resolve the whole time. Because of trauma, we tell ourselves we can’t do it. But in reality, we have overcome so much, and we will continue to overcome. I’m going to continue pressing forward to reach my dreams.”
On this day, and every day, we thank you for your continued support, ensuring Tahirih can walk alongside immigrant survivors like Allan, who are seeking safety from gender-based violence. The journey to justice is long, and we are grateful that you are on this journey with us.