Trans woman left to die with coronavirus symptoms by paramedics who ‘refused to treat her’ because she had HIV
A trans woman, Alejandra Monocuco, died with coronavirus symptoms after paramedics learned she was HIV positive and allegedly refused to treat her.
Alejandra Monocuco, a 39-year-old trans woman living in Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá, died last Friday (May 29), 40 minutes after emergency medical personnel left her house.
She lived in the Santa Fe neighbourhood of Bogotá and was a sex worker. After she died, it took 15 hours for the ambulance to return and take her body from her house to a funeral home.
The trans community in Bogotá told local media that Monocuco had COVID-19 symptoms and was discriminated against for being trans and HIV positive.
“When ambulance staff were informed that Alejandra had HIV, they withdrew. They said it was nothing serious,” said Juliana Salamanca of the Trans Community network.
“This case shows the way in which transgender people are treated in Bogotá,” she added.
Salamanca said the ambulance crew seemed “alarmed” and their attitude to treating her was “transformed” when they were told Monocuco had HIV,
— Diana Valentina Ruiz Urbano (@notasdeval) June 1, 2020
A Alejandra Monocuco la mató la transfobia y la serofobia, cuando necesito asistencia médica, llamaron al 123 y se negaron a atenderla por ser VIH positivo. No siendo esto suficiente, tardaron 15 horas en realizar el levantamiento de su cuerpo. pic.twitter.com/4kvPtEooAK
— Red Comunitaria Trans (@redcomunitariat) May 31, 2020
The Secretary of Health of Bogotá, Alejandro Gómez, tweeted on May 31 that he had ordered an investigation into Monocuco’s death, which he said “hurts and worries us”.
“I have given an order to initiate an investigation that includes personally listening to the respective crews as well as the evaluation of the documentary evidence of the events,” Gómez said.
“The health conditions of people, the diseases they eventually suffer, their sexual, political and / or cultural orientations can never be barriers to health care and the exercise of their rights,” he added.
Alejandra era una mujer trans de 39 años, murio esta madrugada en Colombia después de que una ambulancia se negara a prestarle servicio por ser portadora del VIH#JusticiaParaAlejandra pic.twitter.com/hVyTODtdL0
— Igualdad LGBT 🏳️🌈 (@IgualdadLGBT) May 30, 2020
A Alejandra Monocuco la mató la transfobia y la serofobia, cuando necesito asistencia médica, llamaron al 123 y se negaron a atenderla por ser VIH positivo. No siendo esto suficiente, tardaron 15 horas en realizar el levantamiento de su cuerpo. #JusticiaPorAlejandra pic.twitter.com/5dt0D9xH1Y
— Santería Pop 🙏 (@SanteriaPop) May 30, 2020
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The health ministry is claiming that the woman Monocuco lived with signed some documentation saying that she had refused healthcare, but this is hotly disputed by trans activists in the country who are demanding the health ministry provide proof of this.
They claim Alejandra Monocuco died because of the negligence of the paramedics, who refused to treat her for being HIV positive and transgender.
Colombians are using the hashtag #JusticiaPorAlejandra to demand justice for her death.
Bogotá’s lesbian mayor, Claudia Lopez – the first female and first gay mayor of the city – is yet to comment on Moncuco’s death.