Murder of Honduran trans activist

Human Rights Watch are calling for an investigation into the murder of Cynthia Nicole who was shot and killed on 9th January 2009.   Cynthia was a leading activist fighting for transgendered rights in Hondurus, working closely with many transgendered sex workers.  Cynthia was shot three times in the chest and head and it seems likely that she was deliberately targetted and that her murder was not a random event.

The situation for trans people in Honduras is volatile.  Human Rights Watch report:

Nicole’s murder comes as violence targeting Honduras’s transgender community appears to be on the rise. In November and December 2008 there were attacks, two of which were fatal, against five other transgender people by unknown assailants. On November 20, an attacker killed Yasmin, a transgender sex worker and colleague of Nicole. The next day, on November 21, an attacker shot Bibi, another transgender sex worker, while she was working in the Obelisco, a park in the center of Comayaguela. On December 17, an attacker stabbed Noelia, a third transgender sex worker, 14 times. In addition to these attacks, on December 20, members of the police assaulted a transgender activist doing HIV/AIDS outreach work in Tegucigalpa.

For more details refer to the full HRW article here.  Frontline has a few more details and a picture of Cynthia.

In September, Ali Bracken reported on the human rights situation in Honduras.  Her full reportis worth reading but  an extract of the words of the pre-op transsexual Nicole Moreno paints a clear picture of life for trans women in Honduras:

My family didn’t want to know me. They don’t accept my sexuality. I got a job selling beauty products but it didn’t earn much. No-one else will give a transsexual a job. So I’m back on the streets again. I earn $5 for a blow job, $10 for sex in a car and $20 for going to a motel. I always tell customers I’m a transsexual, otherwise they might get violent. It’s very homophobic here, so it’s dangerous. I’m saving up for my sex change operation. I’ve spoke to a surgeon and he’ll do it for $3,500. He’s never done it before; no-one in Honduras has. I’d be the first. It costs about $15,000 in the US. I’ll probably go back there to work as a prostitute and then come back here to get my surgery. I think about it every day. It’s all I want from life.

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