Date of Graduation

Winter 1-11-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Migration Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Migration Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Daniela Dominguez


Translatina immigrants in the United States often suffer from intersectional traumas due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and immigration status — putting them in a vulnerable position socially, psychologically, economically, and medically. Due to their positionality in the intersections of migration, criminalization, cissexism, and mental health, they are often more marginalized and have greater needs than communities with privileged sociocultural identities. As a particularly vulnerable group, they need guaranteed access to gender-affirming healthcare that is inclusive of mental health services. Despite Translatinas’ need for mental health services, there exist many barriers making services inaccessible and insufficient in San Francisco, particularly limitations of low budgets, a shortage of culturally responsive practitioners, and limited affirming justice-based policies.

Through a semi-structured interview process and utilizing a thematic analysis as a qualitative research approach, I interviewed three transgender-identified individuals, I analyzed Translatina wellness, liminal legality, and limited access to culturally responsive practitioners, and the barriers Translatinas face in obtaining necessary mental healthcare. This thesis explores navigating San Francisco as a Translatina immigrant - shared realities, collective experiences and needs, desire to obtain mental health services, and suggestions for accessibility for services to help them rebuild their lives and obtain ultimate wellness. I transcribed their interviews and analyzed their interview responses using open coding and thematic analysis methods. By exchanging critical reflections and dialogue between government and non-government actors, all transgender, this thesis acts as an intervention, culminating with suggestive strategies the City of San Francisco should consider adopting to respond to the barriers Translatinas face in accessing mental healthcare. This thesis seeks to enrich policy by advocating for San Francisco to fund the local non-profit organization El/La Para Translatinas to provide in-house culturally responsive psychological services for Translatinas that are free, gender-affirming, accessible to the participant’s preferred language, and forge a safe space.

In a period of time when demands for the city to divest funds from heavily-funded programs such as the police and reinvest into community programs, this thesis is written in a tone of urgent advocacy on behalf of Translatinas. The psychological services advocated herein will create a platform for Translatina immigrants to rebuild their lives in a new country, obtain legal status, overcome extreme emotional and psychological hardship, and develop themselves into agents over their own lives.