Guatemala. Transfemicides continue without a response from the State
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By Latin American Summary on July 11, 2022
The exclusion and violence suffered by people from the trans population is addressed with organization and political participation, however, the murders against them continue in impunity. The State does not respond to their demands, so there is already talk of a transfemicide.
A community that suffers from stigma, discrimination and hatred is the trans population. Misunderstood and mocked, they are Guatemalan citizens abandoned by the State, without the right to work, health, housing, or a decent life.
That is why they have organized to defend their rights and seek better living conditions. “We want nothing less than equality” is one of their slogans.
One of these organizations is the group of Trans Women Sex Workers of Trebol. After several physical attacks and murders, these women decided to organize to stop the abuse and hate crimes.
On July 2, Nancy Suc was killed with a shot to the face. Before coming to her death, she was threatened and assaulted by her alleged murderer. Nancy and her companions filed a complaint with the Public Ministry for death threats and violent attacks against her, but her complaint was not taken into account. Days later, Nancy was found dead at her workplace. Despite the fact that Nancy's murderer has been captured and is in prison, the result of the investigation is still unknown and death threats continue against Nancy's co-workers, who was buried on July 5.
Ilse Janeth Contreras, coordinator of the Women Trans Sex Workers of Trébol collective, in a conversation with Prensa Comunitaria, comments on the situation of trans women in Guatemala and how their rights are disrespected and they must deal with intolerance and hatred on a daily basis.
PC: How and why is the Trébol Trans Women Sex Workers Collective organized?
IJC: We started in 2010 due to the state of vulnerability in which our work puts us, we organize ourselves so that our rights are respected, because we are discriminated against and stigmatized, both as trans women and as sex workers. We work on our gender identity and our rights as sex workers.
PC: What are your goals as a collective?
IJC: Defend our rights, reduce hate crimes, reduce transphobia, reduce aspects such as violence, discrimination and stigma that harm us because of our gender identity. We also want to influence politically and publicly so that they take us into account and have a voice and vote and decide for our lives, because although our gender identity is different, we want to live and survive.
PC: What achievements have you obtained as a formalized collective?
IJC: We have achieved support and alliances with organizations, both here in Guatemala and internationally, as well as political support to promote the gender identity law, they call us to marches, sit-ins and conferences to demand respect for the rights of the LGBTIQ+ population
PC: What is the content of the gender identity law initiative that you promote?
IJC: Mainly for the reduction of stigma and discrimination. This law will allow the competent authorities to issue us identity documents respecting our gender identity, since when we go to public spaces and present our identity document, ridicule, rejection and discrimination begin because we see ourselves as women but in our document We appear as men. So, if this law is approved, we could have decent access to health, education, work without being victims of these abuses because of our identity, so that society and the State of Guatemala respect our identity.
PC: What responses have you received from the Congress of the Republic? Have they got support?
IJC: In the previous legislature, the deputy Sandra Morán supported us a lot, she presented the bill. Today the deputy Aldo Dávila is the one who supports us by following up on the
process. But our country is far behind in respecting our human rights, when in other countries there are already these types of laws that protect all citizens.
PC: If the law is not approved, what problems does the trans population face?
IJC: Well, our rights to decent housing, to education, to health, to our own identity, will continue to be disrespected, and our own lives are put at risk, because without having that legal backing we are marginalized. For example, in the prison system, trans women deprived of liberty are violently abused, apart from rape, they cut their hair, there are many abuses that we suffer for not having a law that protects us.
PC: There is talk that a transfemicide is happening in Guatemala. How do you explain this?
IJC: It is the violent death of the compañeras, due to the hatred of some men against trans women. It begins with transphobia, but when the violent deaths of our colleagues go unpunished and no authority follows up on the cases, then we speak of a transfemicide. In the case of the clover collective there have already been several violent deaths and justice has not been done. Our rights have been violated. Even the National Civil Police has violated our rights, we have filed complaints and they do not follow up on these cases.
PC: What actions will you take to confront transfemicide?
IJC: We are going to start with the Public Ministry because they have ignored our complaints and petitions, so that they react and that the deaths of the compañeras do not go unpunished, so that when we file a complaint, they attend to us and take seriously our complaints for threats, for extortion. Because of our gender identity they don't pay attention to us, as if we were worth nothing.
PC: Why does this society allow events such as transfemicide?
IJC: Because we live in a macho and patriarchal society, in a conservative country, where religions influence politics so that they pass laws that restrict our rights.
PC: What should change in this society so that the trans population lives with dignity in their own country?
IJC: That our identity be respected, that our right to equality be respected, because we are
human beings who deserve to be treated with equal conditions, that they do not make fun of us for how we look, because every time we go out the laughter begins, the elbows, the gossip, when we are all children of God. Until the closing of this publication Ilse Janeth Contreras was in hiding without being able to work and seek her daily livelihood, since the same people who murdered Nancy Suc have threatened her with death for her fight to obtain justice in cases of murders against trans women, without that the authorities are interested in protecting her and investigating her complaints.
Source: Community Press