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Transgender Woman Murdered in El Salvador's Epidemic of Violence

Anahy Miranda Rivas

Activists say police and other officials are reluctant to investigate any anti-LGBTQ crimes.

A transgender woman was murdered in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, last weekend, part of an epidemic of violence against LGBTQ people in the Central American nation.

A group of people in a van grabbed Anahy Miranda Rivas, 27, on a San Salvador street Sunday and dragged her for several feet, then stabbed her, the Washington Blade reports. They left her body near a nightclub, according to the Blade.

There have been hundreds of hate crimes committed against LGBTQ Salvadorans, especially trans women, in the past few years. Rivas's death has raised awareness of the dangers faced by trans women in the nation, according to the Blade.

"There have already been seven deaths this year, and Anahy's death is the third most violent," Amalia Leiva, trans programs coordinator with Salvadoran LGBTQ rights group COMCAVIS, told the Blade. "We urgently need the mechanisms that have already been put into place with [El Salvador's] National Civil Police and in the prosecutor's office to be applied."

Monica Linares, executive director of ASPIDH Arcoiris Trans, said there has been little action by Salvadoran authorities. "We see silence from the human rights ombudsman, who has not commented on the latest hate crimes as well as Anahy's case," she told the paper.

Independent activist Aislinn Odalys said many trans women do sex work, which puts them at a high risk of violence, because they are denied other job opportunities. She called for El Salvador to enact trans-inclusive antidiscrimination laws. "The same system forces us onto the streets to work in sex work and expose ourselves to all kinds of people who can attack us," Odalys told the Blade.

In the U.S., at least 20 trans people have been murdered this year, all but one of them women of color. There is another trans American whose death has been called suspicious but has not been ruled a homicide, and one more who was initially identified by activists as a trans woman but was identified by family members as a gender-nonconforming gay man.

Constant reports of violence against our community are difficult to read, especially as we continue to face historic rates. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach out to the Anti-Violence Project's free bilingual (English/Spanish) national hotline at (212) 714-1141 or report online for support.

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