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Events to highlight violence against transgender women in Latin America


Aids Alliance

The Alliance is coordinating a number of high profile policy seminars in Europe and the U.S. to present a groundbreaking report featuring the testimonies of transgender women who experience extreme levels of violence and impunity in Latin America.

The report, which has been published by the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Transgender People (REDLACTRANS) and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (as part of its What's Preventing Prevention? campaign), analyses the testimonies of transgender women human rights defenders and HIV activists in different Latin American countries, with a particular focus on Guatemala and Honduras.

The policy seminars are being organised in Brussels, Geneva, London and Washington DC one week in advance of International Women’s Day, which has nominated "The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum" as its 2013 theme.

Speakers at these events include the report author, Guatemalan human rights lawyer Monica Leonardo, and Marcela Romero, coordinator of REDLACTRANS. They will present some of the findings in the report, The Night is Another Country: Impunity and violence against transgender women human rights defenders in Latin America, including details of systematic human rights violations committed against transgender women by state actors and widespread transphobia across state structures which is fuelling a systematic climate of impunity.  See below for further details of these events.

Robbed of human dignity

Most Latin American countries have a HIV prevalence rate of around 0.5% yet among transgender people prevalence rates are as high as 35%.  Despite the HIV epidemic being so clearly concentrated in key populations, these ‘groups’ have very limited access to HIV prevention and treatment services.

As the Alliance has reported in recent years, Latin America is witnessing increasing violence against transgender women. According to the 2012 Trans Murder Monitoring Project, between 2008 and 2011, 79 per cent of the murders of transgender people reported throughout the world took place in Latin America, with a total of 664 cases. Most of these were met with impunity.

This latest report analyses a number of harrowing personal testimonies by transgender women who were brave enough to share their experiences with the report authors.  Sample quotes include:

“It’s different at night, you’re exposed when you are out doing sex work in the street, it’s as if you don’t exist, anything can happen. If we didn’t have to go out on the street at night, if we had education and job opportunities, it would be another story.” Transgender activist from San Pedro Sula, Honduras

"I alone know the suffering that is caused by being held together with 300 men and spending whole days being raped and beaten, but I cannot describe it.”
Transgender activist in Guatemala City, Guatemala

“About six months ago, I got in a car with a man who I know is a policeman. He hired me to provide my sexual services, but afterwards he didn’t want to pay and he wouldn’t let me get out of the car. He shouted at me, “Today you really are going to die, hueco!” I told him to kill me, because I knew that sooner or later I’d end up dead, because for me, life is a bonus." Transgender activist from Guatemala City, Guatemala

Event schedule

(some details are still being confirmed – this page will be updated)

Tuesday 26 February – Brussels

Wednesday 27 February – Geneva (venue: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria)

Friday 1 March (4pm) – London (venue: Doughty Street Chambers, WC1N). This event will be chaired by Shaun Woodward, MP and is co-organised with Doughty Street Chambers.

Tuesday 5 March - Washington DC

Places are limited and by invitation only.  If you would like to attend, please register your interest by emailing sferrand@aidsalliance.org by the 20th of February.

Download the report here and this series of six case studies on the experiences of transgender people in Latin America.
Read more about the work of REDLACTRANS.