GUATEMALA CITY -- Dressed as a man, the sixth-grade teacher leaves school and walks several blocks through a dangerous red-light district overrun with gangs and crack dealers.

Arriving at a friend's home, a transformation begins. Off come wide-leg jeans, T-shirt and a baseball cap that hides long hair. After an extensive, two-hour makeup session, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez emerges wearing a miniskirt and high heels.

Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct lives: one male, one female.

She considers herself lucky to have a teaching job. She says many transgender Guatemalans must make their livings solely as sex workers.

But she disguises her sexual identity to protect that position, and she, too, works as a prostitute at night at a bar.

"In the beginning it was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license," she said. "But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman."

She said she would never want her students to know she works as a prostitute. "I try to make sure they never find out."

Fearing repercussions, she would not allow The Associated Press to use her teacher name or interview others at the school.

Activists say transgender people are particularly at risk in violent Guatemala, where two transgender women were murdered in July. The U.S. State Department mentioned such violence in its 2011 report, saying Guatemalan police had failed to investigate two earlier killings of transgender people in the country.

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  • In this July 14, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, left, looks in a mirror as she gets ready at a friend's home before working as a sex worker in "El Milagro" neighborhood, Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this July 22, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, is lit up by lights as she dances after performing at the Quinceanera birthday party of her friend Clancy Azuzena Monroy at a neighborhood dance hall in Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez

    In this June 15, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, looks in the mirror as she tries on the paper crown that she will use to compete in the upcoming the Miss Night Queen beauty contest in the El Milagro neighborhood of Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this June 15, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, right, waits her turn backstage to have her make-up done before competing in the Miss Night Queen beauty contest in Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. She is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this July 14, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, left, talks with a potential client outside a bar in the El Milagro neighborhood of Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this June 15, 2012 photo, a bullet that was turned into a key-ring, which belongs to the father, a former soldier, of Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, hangs inside her father's home in the El Milagro neighborhood of Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor's father does not accept his son's decision to be transgender and does not allow him to be a woman at his home. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this July 4, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, an elementary school teacher, works with students during class at a public school in the El Milagro neighborhood of Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this June 15, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, left, takes the bus with her costume which she will use to compete in the Miss Night Queen beauty contest in Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this June 15, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, buys lingerie at a street market to wear at the upcoming Miss Night Queen beauty contest she plans to compete in, in the El Milagro neighborhood of Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this July 14, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, flirts with a potential client at a bar in the El Milagro neighborhood of Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this June 15, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, wears a costume before competing in the Miss Night Queen beauty contest in Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this June 15, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, center, gets dressed as she and others prepare to compete in the Miss Night Queen beauty contest in Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this June 15, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, center, performs as she competes in the Miss Night Queen beauty contest in Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. She is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

  • In this July 4, 2012 photo, Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, 22, stands with her students during recess at a public school in the El Milagro neighborhood of Guatemala City. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female. Tylor is a man as a teacher and a woman as a prostitute. "In the beginning it (prostitution) was out of necessity because I was still getting my teacher's license,” she said. “But now, it's also because it's the only place that I can really be a woman." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)