SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — The Washington Blade has learned Casa Ruby Executive Director Ruby Corado will travel to El Salvador next month with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
A Bowser spokesperson on Thursday confirmed the mayor and a delegation of more than two dozen of people that includes Corado are scheduled to arrive in El Salvador on Aug. 11.
Specific details, including who will be part of the delegation, have not been finalized but the spokesperson told the Blade the trip will primarily focus on promoting business and cultural ties between D.C. and the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador. Bowser is expected to be in El Salvador for several days.
Corado told the Blade on Thursday during a telephone interview she plans to raise LGBTI rights while in her homeland.
“I am openly trans,” said Corado, noting she has provided support to trans rights advocates in the country. “Many people in El Salvador know who I am.”
Corado fled the country in 1986 during the country’s civil war.
She spoke at El Salvador’s first LGBTI rights conference that took place in San Salvador in 2013. She last traveled to El Salvador in November 2017.
Trump ends TPS for Salvadorans
Statistics from 2016 indicate 14,087 D.C. residents were born in El Salvador, which has one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates. Violence and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation also remains pervasive in the Central American country.
Corado told the Blade the way drug traffickers, gang members and even police officers kill LGBTI Salvadorans is more violent in neighboring Honduras and Guatemala. Corado also described the Salvadoran judicial system as “violent” and criticized the country’s politicians for not doing enough to tackle violence based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
“It’s like as though LGBT people don’t exist,” she said.
President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy and his administration’s decision in January to end the Temporary Protected Status program for Salvadorans, which has allowed up to 200,000 of them to receive temporary residency permits that have allowed them to stay in the U.S., has sparked widespread concern and criticism in El Salvador.
Bowser said ending TPS for Salvadorans “will in no way make Americans safer, stronger or more prosperous.” Corado told the Blade some LGBTI Salvadorans who are either undocumented or have TPS “will end up dead” if they are forced to return to El Salvador.
“The truth is that so many people are going to be going back to…a very difficult country,” she said.
The Bowser spokesperson with whom the Blade spoke on Thursday stressed Trump’s immigration policy did not factor into the mayor’s decision to travel to El Salvador. The spokesperson nevertheless stressed the Bowser administration continues to support immigrants who live in D.C.
Bowser in a statement she released shortly after Trump’s election reaffirmed D.C.’s status as a so-called “sanctuary city” that protects undocumented immigrants. Bowser last month announced her administration will make $900,000 available through Fiscal Year 2019 to the Immigrant Justice Legal Services Grant Program, which provides resources to immigrants who live in D.C.
Bowser launched the program less than two weeks before Trump’s inauguration.