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More than 60 queer people brutally killed in just eight months as terrifying anti-LGBT+ violence soars in Colombia

Emma Powys Maurice September 20, 2020
transgender murdered

A mourner lights a candle on the Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2019 (Sumy Sadruni/AFP/Getty

At least 63 LGBT+ people were killed in Colombia in the first eight months of the year as acts of violence increased during the pandemic.

Among those killed were 17 transgender women, 12 gay men, six lesbian women and one transgender man, as well as several other members of the LGBT+ community whose sexual orientation or gender identity was not specified.

The disturbing figures were published in a report from the country’s human rights ombudsman on Tuesday (September 15), Reuters reported.

“During the pandemic prejudice and discrimination have been exacerbated while obstacles to accessing justice in the receiving of complaints increased,” the ombudsman said in a statement.

In addition there were 388 cases of violence against LGBT+ people between January and August, mostly in the form of physical and psychological aggressions. This represents a considerable increase from the year before, when there were 309 cases for the whole 12-month period.

The ombudsman also cites 36 cases of aggression by police officers, a figure supported by previous reports of a rise in attacks fuelled by gender-based lockdown laws.

The policy known as pico y género (peak and gender) was introduced in the country’s capital, Bogotá, in an effort to limit the number of people on the streets. Women were permitted to go outdoors for essential tasks on even-numbered days, while men had odd-numbered days.

Colombia
Police assemble in Bogota, the capital of Colombia on March 24, 2020 (Guillermo Legaria Schweizer/Getty)

The mayor assured trans people they would be treated in accordance with their gender identity and city authorities said no one would be asked to show proof of gender, but human rights groups reported that the policy triggered acts of transphobic aggression from police and the public.

In May the group Red Comunitaria Trans told Reuters it had received 18 discrimination complaints since the measure began, one being from a transgender woman who was stabbed by a man who said she was out on the wrong day.

Another gender-based lockdown in Peru was lifted early after similar incidents of transphobia, violence and public humiliation were reported across the country.

More: Bogota, Colombia, Coronavirus, Pandemic, South America

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