Marta

Age: 33
Gender: LGBT+

Origin: Mongolia
Host: Thailand 

The death of her beloved mother may have been painful for Marta, yet being left all by her lonesome brought her towards the path of self-acceptance; embracing the identity she long suppressed due to fear and abuse. Now freely living as the woman she always believed herself to be, though still unable to work legally, Marta holds on to her suitcase everywhere she goes- carrying her mother’s love and fading memories of home.

Marta insisted that Mongolia is still a home she can remember, but the feeling has faded as time passed by. The only thing that holds her tight with Mongolia is her mother’s love. Her mother is her everything and that makes Mongolia still a place she can call home. But ‘home’ for Marta is fluid and changeable throughout her journey. The death of her mother was the main turning point that led Marta to where she is today.  

“I was homeless after my mother passed away and it was that moment when I received help and support from LGBT community. I could say that they were my home back then in Mongolia. When I had no one, they were beside me. I miss them so much, my sisters. We faced and fought everything together. I felt the sense of belonging when I was with them.”  


But now, she lives in Thailand as a refugee. What she had faced in Mongolia changed the way she sees home. “I feel that Thailand could be more like a home than Mongolia. It’s acceptance and respect that I could not find there. I am seen differently in Thailand; people don’t gossip or bully me when I go outside. I can be myself and I feel that I could be part of Thai community.” 

However, Thailand has one thing that is lacking that could make it an ideal home for Marta – Freedom. “We, refugees, don’t have freedom. I can’t work. I am afraid of arrest and detention. Police raids could happen anytime and we have to hide 24-7. I am not a criminal. I am a recognized refugee. Why I have to hide?”  


We, refugees, don’t have freedom. I can’t work. I am afraid of arrest and detention. Police raids could happen anytime and we have to hide 24-7. I am not a criminal. I am a recognized refugee. Why I have to hide?

When asked what are the elements of home for her, she said freedom and safety. Unfortunately, Thailand cannot offer her these. “My home now is my suitcase. I feel whole and safe having it. All of my essentials are kept inside. Since I have to move from place to place. The only thing I need is my suitcase.”  


My home now is my suitcase. I feel whole and safe having it. All of my essentials are kept inside. Since I have to move from place to place. The only thing I need is my suitcase.

As there are limitations for refugees in Thailand, at least Marta could find freedom within herself. She is now free from rejection. She is now free to choose her own gender identity. “I am very confident and comfortable in this look. I can finally be me and my identity is accepted here. My gratitude to Thailand and its people.” 

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