At 8 am today, DC protestors will crowd the streets in front of the State Department (23rd St. between C & D Streets, NW), rallying against a post-coup Honduran de facto government policy of exterminating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. The rally and vigil responds directly to the spike of LGBT hate crimes that have devastated the country over the past six months. Human rights advocates estimate that since President Manuel Zelaya was deposed in a coup six months ago, up to 18 LGBT individuals (with the vast majority being transgender women) were killed in Honduras. The Miami Herald reported that this level of violent hate crime equals the country’s level of reported homophobic and transphobic hate crimes recorded over the previous five years. Since the coup, many activists have noted there has been a noticeable uptick in violence which most attribute to the breakdown in societal values and laws.
In addition to memorializing those 18 LGBT individuals who were murdered, the protest is named in honor of HIV-positive, gay activist Walter Trochez, who was slain just last month, days after escaping a six-hour kidnapping ordeal. “Walter was afraid,” Reina Rivera, director of the Center for the Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights, told the newspaper. “He was a leader in the (pro-Zelaya) Resistance, but we thought he was in a precarious situation because he was also HIV-positive and gay in a patriarchal, machista and homophobic society.”
Many within and beyond the LGBT community are outraged that no arrests or charges related to the assassination of Walter Trochez along with the 18 additional LGBT individuals who were murdered has occurred. The systemic extermination of any group of individuals should absolutely be condemned. If you live in or around the DC Metro Area, we ask that you take some time to spread the word about this important rally and vigil, and participate if you can. It is important that we send a strong message to the President, the Secretary of State and our Congressional leaders that we demand that they take a bold stance against this egregious violence and disrespect of human life. Our solidarity and sincere compassion go to the family members and friends of those murdered.
Here’s more information regarding today’s rally and vigil:
Date: Wednesday, January 27
Time: 8-9am and 1-2pm rallies; 9am-1pm vigil
Action: Picket and speak out at U.S. State Department
Location: 2201 C Street NW