The community received me with an open heart: Trans woman from Brazil speaks about her new life in Ireland

With more Brazilian LGBT+ people making a home in Ireland, have they felt welcomed and how does it compare with the situation in their original country?

A woman with long hair wearing a suit walks down a city street
Image: Hazel Coonagh

In an intimate interview, Jennifer Batista, a trans woman originally from Brazil, shares what it was like growing up in her home country and how things have changed since coming to Ireland.

I come from a very small town in the countryside of Brazil called Porecatu. My family always accepted and supported me, but they were always afraid for my life. 

A small town in Brazil is not safe for any LGBT+ person. I always had to keep my sexuality private for my safety. When I turned 18, my family helped me to start over again in a big city to be able to be my true self and, most importantly, happy! So I moved to São Paulo. 

I always dreamed of moving to Europe to learn new languages and see new places. I had the opportunity to attend an English course in Dublin so it was time to move again – to Ireland, where I would be safe and have more opportunities to have a better life – everything that I always dreamed of. 

A woman in a suit and long hair walks down a city street

I think Ireland has a massive difference in how they treat their LGBT+ community. In Brazil, we are getting our rights slowly, but there is still a lot of ignorance that becomes violence, being a trans woman back there is way more difficult and dangerous. But there is hope. 

We have Pabllo Vittar at the top of the charts right now, which is amazing for the new generation coming who now have an example to follow. In Brazil, we can change our names and there are places where you can seek to learn a skill and have a profession but it’s still very hard to get a formal job. 

A woman with long hair wearing a suit walks down a city street

I’ve never experienced any disrespect in Ireland because of who I am. I feel so blessed and, finally, feel safe and loved. There are so many opportunities here, I could study fashion design and show so many others out there that we can do anything we want – we can be talented and hardworking just like everybody else. We just want opportunity and respect. Is that too much to ask? 

I feel very welcome in Ireland, the community received me with an open heart, and I am glad for it! We want to add positively to this society, we are hardworking people with big dreams.

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