Living Authentically: A Venezuelan Trans Woman Finds Her Fresh Start in Brazil

In the face of adversity, courage often emerges as a guiding force.

For Charlin, a 28-year old Venezuelan trans woman, life in her home country came with many challenges. After decades of discrimination , she made the brave decision to leave Venezuela and embarked on a journey of self-discovery as she began a new life in Brazil.

Charlin was finally able to embrace her true self in the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro. There she joined the community of over 7.7 million Venezuelans living abroad. Little did she know that her arrival in Rio de Janeiro would not just be a new place to live but would also propel her to begin advocating for the rights of LGBTIQ+ migrants. 

A transgender woman sits at a desk and concentrates while writing
IOM/Gema Cortes

In a region where same-sex marriage is legal only in Brazil and a handful of countries, Charlin's story sheds light on the challenges faced by the LGBTIQ+ community, even as she works towards creating a more inclusive and accepting society.  

“I feel valued for who I am for the first time,” says Charlin. “I think that my co-workers value my intelligence over my gender identity, and they listen to my ideas.”  

Having spent five years in Brazil, Charlin reflects on her journey, highlighting the challenges and triumphs. “In Brazil, I am much more accepted. Now, I take advantage of more opportunities that I didn't have in my country,” she explains.

A transgender woman smiles in a crowd
LGTBIQ Movimiento

Charlin currently works as a shop assistant in a clothing store; however, her focus remains on being at the forefront of activism for the rights of LGBTIQ+ populations. Charlin aims to help others to secure decent jobs, foster acceptance, and inspire them to believe that dreams come true with perseverance and consistency.

“Being a migrant is a challenge and an experience at the same time. It's a bittersweet feeling because when you leave your place of comfort, life presents you with new opportunities that you must take advantage of.”

Currently taking a course in industrial processes with the support of the International Organization for Migration, Charlin hopes to someday open doors for other trans migrants by offering them opportunities for professional development. “The sky is the limit,” she says.