Trans women struggle to survive in El Salvador city

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Three transgender women were killed in San Luis Talpa, El Salvador, in February 2017. Gang-related violence has made the small city one of the most dangerous parts of the Central American country. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Andrea, a transgender woman who lives in San Luis Talpa, a small city that is near El Salvador’s main international airport, was walking to her mother’s home on Aug. 29 when a man stopped his motorbike and began to yell at her.

Andrea was talking with her friend on her cell phone when the man confronted her. Three cars stopped on the highway on which she was walking a few minutes later and men with guns stepped out.

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LGBT migrants flee violence, poverty in Central America

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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(AboveFrancela Méndez was a member of Colectivo Alejandría who was killed at a friend’s home in 2015. The transgender rights organization has hung this tribute to her at its offices in San Salvador, El Salvador. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers.)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — The offices of Colectivo Alejandría, a transgender advocacy group, are located in a house in the Magaña neighborhood of the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador that is surrounded by a thick wall with barbed wire on the top of it. A heavy metal gate with a narrow slit through which a person can look outside spans the driveway, while bars cover the house’s windows.

Colectivo Alejandría Director Karla Guevara told the Washington Blade on Feb. 6 during an interview with two of her colleagues that an average of 20 people are killed in El Salvador every day. Francela Méndez, a prominent activist who was a Colectivo Alejandría board member, is among the more than a dozen trans women who were known to have been killed in the Central American country in 2015.

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