Brutal attack on three Bolivian transsexuals

May 17, 2013

On May 10, 2013, three transsexuals were beaten by a group of taxi drivers in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Two managed to escape, but ‘Gabriela’ was violently assaulted. Police officers refused to help the victims after the attack. 

The regional office of Hivos in South America condemns this brutal attack that shows the lack of pluralism, diversity,  tolerance and respect towards people and movements that fight for their rights to sexual and gender identity.

The assault took place when a taxi driver refused to pay for the sexual services of a friend of the victim. The taxi driver gathered his friends and together they started to insult and attack her.

Gabriela, who was the most affected for the attack, said “We started arguing and they (the drivers) started yelling at us. I told them not to touch me because I have implants in my body, but they wouldn’t listen. They even started beat me with iron bars”. Gabriela ended up with a broken nose and injuries to her breasts.

Raysa Torriani, the national coordinator of the Bolivian trans movement, confirmed, “The victims went to the police station, where they were told it was not the job of the police to handle this”. Torriani only managed to get the police’s attention through the assistance of a member of congress.

Five murders of homophobia and transphobia are recorded every year in Bolivia. Over the last ten years, there have been 55 murders of LGBT people (Transgender, Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual) in Bolivia; of these only 12 cases have been investigated, and to date no one has been prosecuted.

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Rights has been part of Hivos’ Rights and Citizenship programme since the 1990s and consists of financial support, knowledge exchanges and policy advocacy for LGBT rights. Hivos backs the acceptance of sexual minorities, the fight against homophobia, mobilization for political change and worldwide coalition building. In all, Hivos supports over 50 LGBT organisations and more than 20 HIV/AIDS projects with a focus on LGBT people, and invests over three million euros annually in the advancement of LGBT rights.

Hivos is one of the most active donors in the fight for LGBT rights in developing countries. In November 2012, Hivos organized a meeting in La Paz of LGBT movement representatives from Peru, Ecuador, Honduras and Bolivia.