Refugee trans woman survives shooting in Colombia, finds peace in Spain

By Raquel de Blas

Madrid, Jun 20 (EFE).- Loren Michele was shot twice in the back in 2004 for being a trans woman, at the hands of someone she considered a friend.

In 2019, she fled Colombia out of fear for her life, scared that her aggressor might try to attack her again.

Alongside another 100,000 people, the 36-year-old Colombian national is waiting for a resolution to her request for asylum in Spain.

Colombians are amongst the less protected in Spain, which denied refugee status to 98% of Colombian asylum seekers in 2020.

Loren is optimistic and says she will continue to fight for the legal status to stay in Spain if her asylum application is denied.

“I feel the freedom and peacefulness I have long sought, I feel at ease and satisfied to be here,” she told Efe.

She admits, however, it was painful to leave family and friends behind and having to start all over again.

She was 16 when she decided to transition, always with the support of her mother and sisters, with whom she lived in the small town of Versalles, in the Valle del Cauca department.

She explains that her neighbors learned to live with her, as the only trans woman in the village, and she had a “wonderful” relationship with everyone, including the mayor, the town priest and school teachers.

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