Discuss as:

Guatemalan transgender woman lives in 2 worlds

Rodrigo Abd / AP

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, June 15, 2012. Born a man, Tylor is a transgender woman who moves between two distinct worlds: one male, one female.

Romina Ruiz-Goiriena, Associated Press — 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.

Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, left, looks in a mirror as she gets ready at a friend's home before working as a sex worker in the "El Milagro" neighborhood, Guatemala City, July 14.

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.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez works with students during class at a public school in the El Milagro neighborhood of Guatemala City, July 4.

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

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez flirts with a potential client at a bar in the "El Milagro" neighborhood of Guatemala City, July 14.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez, left, takes the bus with her costume, which she will use to compete in the Miss Night Queen beauty contest, in Guatemala City, June 15.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Linda Elizabeth Tylor Martinez wears a costume before competing in the Miss Night Queen beauty contest in Guatemala City, June 15.

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.

Sign up for the NBCNews.com Photos Newsletter