Connect with us

News

Victory Institute organiza talleres en Centroamérica

Nicaragüenses están entre los participantes

Published

on

El LGBTQ Victory Institute ha organizado una serie de talleres en Centroamérica para promover la participación de la comunidad LGBTI en el proceso político de la región. Se realizó el primer taller fuera de la capital hondureña de Tegucigalpa el 28-30 de septiembre de 2018. (Foto del Washington Blade por Michael K. Lavers)

SANTA LUCÍA, Honduras — El LGBTQ Victory Institute ha organizado una serie de talleres en Centroamérica para promover la participación de la comunidad LGBTI en el proceso político de la región.

Un grupo de nicaragüenses que están participando en protestas contra del gobierno de su país estaban entre las 28 personas que asistieron al primer taller que se realizó fuera de la capital hondureña de Tegucigalpa entre el 28 y 30 de septiembre.

Un segundo taller que enfocará en las instituciones gubernamentales, la política y la oratoria se realizará en la Ciudad de Guatemala el 26-28 de octubre. Dos talleres adicionales que enfocará en la gestión de campañas electorales, la seguridad personal y el refuerzo de la participación LGBTI en el proceso político se espera realizarse en Honduras y Guatemala el próximo mes y en enero.

Los talleres son parte de la Escuela de Liderazgo Político LGBTI en Centroamérica.

Participantes vienen de Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador y Nicaragua. SOMOS CDC, la Asociación Lambda y Caribe Afirmativo — tres grupos LGBTI de Honduras, Guatemala y Colombia respectivamente — organizaron a los talleres con el Victory Institute.

“Más y más lideres LGBTQ se están preparando y postulando para la oficina en Honduras y por Centroamérica — y nuestra Escuela de Liderazgo Político LGBTI tiene como objetivo proporcionarles las herramientas, habilidades y redes necesarias para ganar,” Ruben Gonzales, vice presidente del Victory Institute, dijo al Washington Blade en una declaración. “En los últimos años, nuestros participantes y socios en Honduras y la región se han vuelto cada vez más audaces y estratégicos, aprovechando las oportunidades para seguir carreras en el servicio público y transformar los partidos políticos desde adentro.”

La discriminación y la violencia basada en la orientación sexual y la identidad de género siguen siendo generalizadas en Honduras, El Salvador y Guatemala. Los informes indican más de 500 personas han sido asesinadas en Nicaragua desde el comienzo de las protestas contra del gobierno del presidente Daniel Ortega y su esposa, la vicepresidenta Rosario Murillo, el 18 de abril.

A pesar de estas amenazas, varias personas abiertamente LGBTI se han postulado para cargos públicos en la región.

Sandra Morán, que es una mujer lesbiana, es la primera persona LGBTI elegida al Congreso de Guatemala. Ella asumió su cargo el 14 de enero de 2016.

Erick Martínez era uno de cuatro candidatos abiertamente LGBTI que sin éxito corrió por un escaño en el Congreso de Honduras en 2012. Claudia Spellman y Victoria Gómez — dos mujeres abiertamente trans también era candidatas congresionales en 2012 — fueron amenazadas o atacadas y ahora viven fuera de Honduras.

Martínez corrió otra vez por el Congreso de Honduras en 2017, pero perdió.

Kendra Stefani Jordany en marzo de 2017 se convirtió en la primera persona abiertamente trans de ganar una elección primaría en Honduras cuando estuvo entre los candidatos del Parlamento Centroamericano que avanzaron a las elecciones generales del país que se celebraron el pasado noviembre. Jordany y Rihanna Ferrara, otra mujer abiertamente trans que era candidata por el Congreso de Honduras, perdieron sus respectivas elecciones.

Sandra Morán es la primera persona abiertamente LGBTI elegida al Congreso de Guatemala. (Foto del Washington Blade por Michael K. Lavers)

Alex Peña, un hombre abiertamente trans de El Salvador que fue atacado por policías en 2015, era candidato por el Consejo Municipal de San Salvador a principios de este año. Peña no gaño, pero dijo al Blade durante una entrevista en la capital salvadoreña después de la elección del 4 de marzo que “es un derecho que tenemos que ser parte de esa.”

“El crecimiento de la participación política (de la comunidad LGBTI) es clave para asegurar la igualdad en Centroamérica, y los líderes que asistan a nuestra escuela están a la vanguardia de hacer de esto una realidad,” dijo Gonzales.

Activistas en Colombia, la República Dominica y otros países han trabajado con el Victory Institute para promover la participación de la comunidad LGBTI en el proceso político. Se realiza cada diciembre en Washington la Conferencia Internacional de Líderes LGBTQ del Victory Institute.

Alex Peña es un hombre trans que era candidato por el Consejo Municipal de San Salvador (El Salvador) en 2018. (Foto del Washington Blade por Michael K. Lavers)

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Oklahoma

Police release Nex Benedict bodycam footage

Nonbinary teenager died earlier this month after a fight in school

Published

on

Owasso Police Department bodycam footage. (YouTube screenshot)

The Owasso Police Department on Friday released bodycam footage from the interview conducted by the Owasso High School resource officer taken at the emergency room, investigating the attack on a nonbinary high school student who died a day after the attack.

In the video, 16-year-old Nex Benedict describes how they were bullied by three girls for “the way that we dress.” After Benedict dumped some water on them, the girls pinned them to the floor of the restroom and beat them until they blacked out.

Benedict’s mother stresses that they did not throw any punches or get physically combative during the attack. Facts that Benedict then verified in their account to the investigating officer.

Police have confirmed to multiple media outlets that the school failed to follow procedure and notify law enforcement about the beating.

Owasso police department bodycam footage (video courtesy of the owasso police department)

Continue Reading

The White House

Press secretary addresses ‘gut-wrenching’ death of Nex Benedict from the briefing room

‘Every young person deserves to feel safe and supported in school’

Published

on

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre delivers a briefing on Feb. 23, 2024 (Washington Blade photo by Christopher Kane)

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre began Friday’s press briefing by expressing how “absolutely heartbroken” she was to learn about the death of nonbinary Oklahoma teenager Nex Benedict.

“Every young person deserves to feel safe and supported in school,” she said. “Our hearts are with Nex Benedict’s family, friends, entire school community in the wake of this horrific and gut wrenching tragedy.”

Jean-Pierre added, “I know that for many LGBTQ+ students across the country this may feel personal and deeply, deeply painful. There’s always someone you can talk to if you’re going through a hard time and need support.”

“The president and his administration launched the 988 line to help, and we have a line dedicated to serving LGBTQ+ young people that can be reached by dialing 933 and pressing 3,” she said. “Through devastating tragedies like these we must support each other and lift one another up.”

Authorities are still investigating the circumstances surrounding Benedict’s death on Feb. 8, which allegedly came the day after they were attacked in a restroom at Owasso High School, which followed months of bullying from peers.

This week, political leaders including Vice President Kamala Harris, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Jean-Pierre issued statements on X, formerly Twitter.

In recent years the state of Oklahoma has become a hotbed of anti-LGBTQ legislation, including an anti-trans bathroom bill signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt in 2022.

Many LGBTQ advocates responded to news of Benedict’s death by calling out the escalation of hostile policies and rhetoric targeting transgender and gender-diverse communities, which advocates have warned can carry deadly consequences.

Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson has urged federal investigators at the Justice and Education Department to get involved in the case.

Continue Reading

Africa

Kenyan advocacy groups join fight against femicide

30 women have been murdered in the country this year

Published

on

Kenyan flag (Photo by rarrarorro/Bigstock)

Some LGBTQ rights groups in Kenya have devised new security strategies to protect female community members from the risk of femicide that has been on the rise in the country in recent years. 

The strategies employed include hiring trained security response teams, emergency toll-free numbers for swift intervention and training queer women on safety as they go about their daily lives in homophobic societies.  

The LGBTQ rights organizations’ move to come up with their safety measures is driven by laxity by security agencies that they accuse of “personal bias, discrimination and victimization” of the complainants based on their sexual orientation whenever they seek help.

Consensual same-sex sexual relations are outlawed in Kenya under Sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code and the queer rights groups the Washington Blade interviewed said the authorities exploit this criminalization. 

“We have contracted two security response focal persons in our organization to respond to violations of LBQ womxn in Kenya,” noted Elly Doe, the executive director of KISLEB, a Kisumu-based organization that champions the rights of lesbian, bisexual and queer women.

Doe, whose organization also advocates against femicide, said KISLEB is part of a special security situation room formed to explore ways of tackling rising cases of insecurity among the LGBTQ community in the country. 

The Initiative for Equality and Non-Discrimination, an LGBTQ rights organization also contacted by the Blade, stated it has been conducting advocacy programs that include creating safer spaces forums to address femicide and violence against women both physical and online.   

One of the forums convened last September in Mombasa, for instance, explored how communities and institutions can work together to prevent violence against marginalized women, effective support for survivors, mentorship and awareness campaigns. The participants included lesbian, bisexual, queer and transgender women, women in politics, sports, media, women living with disabilities and sex workers.    

INEND Communications Officer Melody Njuki, who expressed her organization’s concern over growing cases of femicide, oppression and violence against women, including those who identify as queer that go unchecked is caused by several social factors that include economic exclusion. 

“The intersectional issues faced by marginalized communities and structurally silenced women particularly sex workers and LBQT+ individuals adds complexity to the challenges experienced by victims of femicide due to discrimination, stigma and systemic inequalities exacerbating the vulnerability of women to violence,” Njuki said. 

Both INEND and KISLEB last month joined other LGBTQ rights groups, feminists and dozens of human rights organizations in Kenya in a nationwide street protest against rising cases of femicide and violence against women. 

The Jan. 27 protests were in response to the brutal killing of 16 women across the country since the beginning of the year. Hundreds of women, including those who identify as queer, during a Valentine’s Day vigil donned black outfits and held lit candles and red roses in honor of this year’s femicide victims, whose number had risen to more than 30.

“KISLEB as an organization that champions the rights of the LBQ womxn could not sit back and watch as women are being intentionally violated and killed yet in recent years the number has been rising rapidly and so many culprits go unpunished,” Doe said over her organization’s participation in the protest. “Participating in the protest was our way of expressing our solidarity with other women’s rights organizations in condemning femicide.”

Doe raised a concern over a rise in the number of homophobic threats against queer women, particularly on social media and residential areas, and called for police officers to be sensitized on LGBTQ issues to deal with this menace without discrimination. 

“We have also seen the cases of the murders of the LGBTQ community rising such as a trans woman activist Erica Chandra in August in Nairobi and a nonbinary lesbian woman Sheila Lumumba in April 2022,” she said. 

INEND, together with the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and Galck+ which participated in Lumumba’s murder case last December, were disappointed with the court after sentencing the suspect Billington Mwathi to 30 years in jail. The three LGBTQ rights groups described the sentence as “lenient” and said it didn’t meet the justice Lumumba deserved — the suspect raped her before killing her.

The organizations said they wanted Mwathi to receive a life sentence because Lumumba’s killing was not just an act of violence on an individual, but an attack on the dignity and safety of the LGBTQ community.  

INEND, nonetheless, attributes the rise in femicide to victim blaming on the part of the public and some leaders, which leads to a disconnect on the protection of the victims’ rights and its subsequent erosion as witnessed in the LGBTQ community.  

“The road to genocide starts with the dehumanization of the most marginalized, then continues to devour its way up the hierarchy of patriarchal systems,” Njuki said.  

She disclosed INEND was organizing a collective movement dubbed “#EndFemicideKe” to enlighten policymakers on the dire need to enforce strict measures on the killing of women. Njuki, however, commended jurists who are members of the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association for their partnership with INEND and willingness to show a deeper understanding of human rights particularly the protection of LGBTQ rights.

She cited last year’s launch of a judicial guidebook to help judges better protect queer people’s rights and the High Court’s ruling that allowed the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission to register as a non-governmental organization in promoting freedom of association.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular