Last week, three murders left Guatemala’s LGBTQ+ community in mourning. Instead of celebrating equality and freedom, the events from the beginning of Pride Month brought to light numerous issues the country is still struggling with regarding human rights.
These murders add up to 13 killed LGBTQ+ people in Guatemala in 2021 (so far). In 2020, there were 19 registered LGBTQ+ killings, which could mean that we will witness a rise in hate crimes against the community by the end of this year.
Despite the efforts of activists and civil society organizations that actively work on improving their wellbeing, the LGBTQ+ discrimination statistics are still troubling. Unfortunately, Guatemala and many other countries in Latin America still don’t have standard procedures, nor do they have any official statistics tracking violence committed against LGBTQ+ people.
According to media reports of the accidents, one of the victims was Andrea Gonzales, a prominent member of the community and leader of the national transgender women’s organization. She was shot in the street near her family home at the beginning of the month.
The first openly gay Guatemalan Congressman, Mr. Aldo Davila, stated that these killings are by no means accidental. He believes that unresolved hate crimes during Pride month represent a message to the LGBT community of Guatemala.
“There is persecution and criminalization of human rights defenders,” said Davila. He emphasized that the violence in society comes as a direct result of the public discourse in which all minorities are marginalized and discriminated against.