Michael Hamar

Honduras: An Ugly Story of the Murder of Gay and Transgender Citizens

Filed By Michael Hamar | February 07, 2011 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Transgender & Intersex
Tags: homophobic behavior, Honduras, murder, religious based hate, Roman Catholic Church

My late mother was born in Honduras but left as a teenager to move with her parents honduras0509.jpgto the United States who needed to care for ailing relatives. She and no one else in my immediate family ever went back and, based on current news coverage, the country sounds like a place LGBT individuals ought to avoid at all costs. Repeated murder of LGBT people occur with little or no criminal prosecutions or consequence.

Indeed, one gets the impression that the government - and general populace, still in the thrall of the anti-gay Roman Catholic Church - acts as if the murders are not objectionable. Lives of LGBT individuals under this atmosphere are "not worth a penny" as Human Rights Watch describes it.

This mindset, I suspect, is spurred at least in part by the Church's constant depiction of gays as "inherently disordered" and "motivate toward moral evil." Whatever the motivations, as Human Rights Watch has reported the situation is horrifying (a detailed report can be found here).

Here are some highlights:

(Tegucigalpa) - The Honduran government should ensure a prompt and thorough investigation of the recent murders of transgender women and bring those responsible to justice, Human Rights Watch and Red Lésbica Cattrachas, a Honduran lesbian rights organization, said today. Six transgender women have been murdered in Honduras since November 29, 2010, with the latest killing on January 17, 2011.

The women were murdered on the streets or in their homes in the capital, Tegucigalpa, and in the cities of Comayagüat;ela and San Pedro Sula. The attacks ranged from gunshots to setting the victims on fire.

The impunity with which these murders have taken place has shaken the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Honduras," Indyra Mendoza, director of Red Lésbica Cattrachas. "We need legislative change and prevention programs to end discrimination in Honduras, because at the moment we are living our lives in hiding."

In its May 2009 report, "Not Worth a Penny: Human Rights Abuses against Transgender People in Honduras," Human Rights Watch detailed the abuse and harassment of the Honduran transgender community and the government's failure to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated attacks on transgender people.

Since the release of the report, 34 members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community have been murdered in Honduras. But there has only been one successful prosecution and conviction for an attack on a transgender woman.

The government needs to act urgently to fulfill its obligations under international treaties and swiftly arrest and bring to trial those responsible for these murders," Dipika Nath, researcher in the LGBT program at Human Rights Watch. "It is up to the government to fulfill its commitment to protect the rights of all Hondurans regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation."

Obviously, some pressure from the U.S. State Department, the United Nations, and other foreign governments might not be out of order.

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The ongoing murders of trans women in this country is one of the most under-reported LGBT news stories. The recent six are just part of the totals, look on http://www.tgeu.org/node/53 and you'll see this is a persistent pattern and that police involvement is likely.

Another related issue is how many Honduran trans and queer applicants for asylum have been turned down by the INS even though the violence they face in their country of origin is well documented.

Thank you for writing about this.

Tony Soprano | February 9, 2011 12:47 AM

Honduras? Bahrain? United States? (Wherever?)

Seems like a full-court press is on against the LGBTQQIAAP community - (wrongly) perceived as a group which can do nothing to, and nothing for, 'them' (whoever 'them' is).

I wonder just how much 'foreign aid' (read that: MONEY) the US sends to Honduras.

Come to think of it, then, why are WE paying taxes HERE that are being used to oppress US?

Thanks, Michael. We all need to be vigilant.

Thank you for posting about this Michael.