Video credit to MayaMediated
LGBT U.S. activists to confront mass violence against Queer Hondurans
Kansas City, MO. November 15, 2013 – The Honduran Equality Delegation, a group of American LGBT human rights activists from across the U.S., is taking a historic first step to address over a hundred hate-based crimes against LGBT activists in Honduras when they tour the Central American country this month.
These crimes include assassinations, beatings, humiliation, and countless human rights violations, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Honduras is noted as one of the world’s most deadly countries, not just for LGBT individuals, but defenders of human rights.
Fifteen human rights activists from San Francisco, Portland, New York, Saint Louis, Kansas City and other cities will travel to Honduras Nov. 21 – Dec. 1 to meet LGBT and ally community leaders, tour organizations and observe the country’s general elections.
This election is the first in which the new third party, LIBRE, is participating and the first time in Honduras history where a major a party has included LGBT rights in its platform. There are strong fears by activists and human rights groups in Honduras that the November elections will not be fair and that there will be death squads operating.
The delegation of activists will be participating as election observers and meeting with members of the Honduran LGBT community to address the massive violence they have been facing since the coup d’état in 2009.
Honduras, which has the highest per capita murder rate in the world at 86 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants and is facing massive political turbulence since the 2009 coup d’etat, has become the perfect breeding ground for widespread human rights violations. This atmosphere has taken an especially difficult toll on the country’s LGBT community.
The LGBT movement in Honduras, which for the first time in Honduran history came out publicly, visibly, and politically after the illegal coup, faces an unprecedented wave of violence against them. There have been over 115 deaths, of which only 6% or 7 cases have been prosecuted, and 30% or 35 cases are under investigation, reported Las Cattrachas, a Honduran lesbian organization. There hasn’t been any investigation of the violent deaths of transgender people, only gay men.
As Pepe Palacios, a leader in the LGBT movement of Honduras, said, “The coup d’état was our Stonewall. We are not going back.” The Honduran Equality Delegation is the first effort of its kind to take an on-the-ground approach to making connections with Honduran gay activists who, despite the risks, are deeply committed to securing social and political inclusion in the broad coalition which has grown in resistance to the 2009 coup.
“We hope that building these relationships will provide new tools to address violence against LGBT communities internationally and help to amplify the muffled voices of the Honduran LGBTQIA community,” said Melissa Stiehler, organizer of the delegation.