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In most conversations regarding equal rights among LGBT communities, immigrant and people of color (POC) voices often go unheard as well as what they experience in a southern red state.

That’s changing in Tennessee.

“A man had just been released from jail and I was on a bicycle and that person started following me, grabbed me by my hair and was dragging me,” Nicole Garcia Aguilar, a trans woman who left Honduras in 2014, told Tennessee Lookout. “Some neighbors intervened, and he said if it wasn’t for the neighbors, they would have found me with flies in my mouth, but for the next time, no one was going to intervene.”

Garcia received asylum status in 2020 after being deported twice before. While looking for housing, apartment managers were openly transphobic toward her.

“They came to my apartment and threw everything outside,” she said. “I lost everything.”

Now, Garcia works for the same company that helped her during that time, Worker’s Dignity. The company is an organization based in Nashville that advocates for low-wage workers.

According to the Movement Advancement Project, since 2019, 3.5% of Tennessee adults identify as LGBT.