Claudia Diaz Perez, 73, a prominent transgender activist in Chile, was found dead in her home in Cartagena Sunday, and authorities are investigating her death as a homicide and possible hate crime.
Diaz was president of a trans organization for older people, the first in the nation, Chilean outlet Sies Franjas reports. Its name, Club de Adultos Mayores Sobrevivientes del 73, or Club for Older Adult Survivors of 73, refers to the persecution that took place under General Augusto Pinochet, who led a military coup that year and ruled the country dictatorially until 1990.
The Investigations Police of Chile's Homicide Brigade told newspaper El Lider that Diaz, who also owned the salon Peluqueria Salon Claudita Unisex, had head injuries that were "compatible with the action of third parties" and that they occurred less than 24 hours before her body was discovered. Authorities are still trying to determine if her death was a hate crime, although her friends and relatives say it was.
If the killing "is proven to be a hate crime, we would be witnessing a 100% increase in homo/transphobic murders in relation to 2021, a worrying and explosive increase that leads us once again to demand that the authorities decisively support the creation of an anti-discriminatory state institution in Chile," said activist organization Movilh, Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation.
Orellana condemned the murder on Twitter, saying, "Claudia Diaz, leader @AFRODITAVALPO participated in our #MesaLGTBIQA presenting the problem of trans old age. Yesterday she was found dead. We will join forces to seek justice, from @SernamEGChile or Delegation. We will continue in our work #TransLivesMatter."
\u201cClaudia D\u00edaz, dirigenta @AFRODITAVALPO particip\u00f3 en nuestra #MesaLGTBIQA presentando la problem\u00e1tica de la vejez trans. Ayer fue hallada muerta. Nos haremos parte para buscar justicia, desde @SernamEGChile o Delegaci\u00f3n. \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\u26a7\ufe0f\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 Seguiremos en nuestro trabajo #LasVidasTransImportan\u201d
Movilh spokesperson Javiera Zuniga said, "We express our most sincere condolences to all Claudia's loved ones and, with the same force, we demand that the Public Ministry and the police investigate this murder quickly and with the utmost rigor, in order to clarify whether or not we are in the presence of a hate crime. Although Claudia may have suffered the theft of some of her belongings, this in no case allows us to rule out a transphobic motive."
Additionally, he said, "We have delivered all the available information on the case to the Ministry of the Interior, so that they provide all free legal and psychological advice to Claudia's loved ones to find the truth of what happened and accompany them in these difficult moments."