Members of Congress urge ICE to improve transgender detainee treatment

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: A transgender woman eats inside a unit for trans detainees in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at the Cibola County Correctional Center in Milan, N.M., on June 6, 2019. Photo public domain.

More than 30 members of Congress on Aug. 1 sent a letter to Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence about the treatment of transgender detainees in their custody.

“We are gravely concerned regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) policies for individuals seeking asylum in the United States,” wrote the lawmakers. “Today, we write to express our strong concerns with ICE’s treatment of transgender migrants seeking asylum in the United States, especially those coming to the U.S. from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.”

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Gay Guatemala congressman-elect sharply criticizes migrant agreement with US

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Aldo Dávila, center, participates in a protest against the “safe third country” agreement his country’s government signed with the Trump administration. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers.

GUATEMALA CITY | A gay Guatemalan congressman-elect on Saturday sharply criticized the “safe third country” agreement his government signed with the White House that requires migrants who pass through Guatemala on their way to the U.S. to first seek asylum in the country.

“[Guatemala] does not have the conditions to receive migrants in a dignified way,” Aldo Dávila told the Washington Blade during an interview in Guatemala City.

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LGBTI migrants struggle to survive along Guatemala-Mexico border

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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TECUN UMAN, Guatemala | Gaudy Coutiño Valladares works for the Guatemalan Red Cross in Tecún Umán, a small city in the country’s San Marcos department that is across the Suchiate River from Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico.

The offices from which Coutiño and her colleagues work are behind a large metal gate on which posters that tell migrants the Guatemalan Red Cross will allow them to call their relatives and charge their phones for free have been placed. It also has a map of Central America that lists migrant shelters, railroads and highways on which migrants can travel to the U.S. border.

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Mexico border city provides assistance to LGBTI migrants

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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NOGALES, Mexico | The mayor of a Mexican border city that has provided assistance to LGBTI migrants says President Trump’s continued demands for a border wall is a political “tactic.”

Jesús Antonio Pujol Irastorza told the Washington Blade on Jan. 23 during an interview at his office — less than a mile south of the Nogales port of entry — that his administration is “prepared for issues of violence,” referring to one of Trump’s justifications for a border wall.

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Victory Institute organizes workshops in Central America

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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SANTA LUCÍA, Honduras | The LGBTQ Victory Institute is holding a series of workshops in Central America that are designed to bolster the LGBTI community’s involvement in the region’s political process.

Nicaraguans who are participating in protests against their country’s government were among the 28 people who attended the first workshop that took place outside the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa from Sept. 28-30.

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Amnesty slams Guatemala bill to punish abortion, gay couples

By : wire report
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MEXICO CITY (AP) | Amnesty International says a proposed Guatemalan law on abortion providers and gay couples is  “absurd.”

The Guatemalan congress is debating proposals that would ban recognition for same-sex couples and forbid teaching that homosexuality is acceptable.

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Landmark ruling recognizes marriage, trans rights in the Americas

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Tuesday issued a landmark ruling that recognizes same-sex marriage and transgender rights in the Western Hemisphere.

The seven judges who issued the ruling stated governments “must recognize and guarantee all the rights that are derived from a family bond between people of the same sex.” Six of the seven judges also agreed that it is necessary for governments “to guarantee access to all existing forms of domestic legal systems, including the right to marriage, in order to ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples without discrimination.”

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Transgender rights bill introduced in Guatemala

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Guatemalan Congresswoman Sandra Moran, third from left, stands with transgender rights advocates on Dec. 1, 2017, after she introduced a trans rights bill in the country’s Congress. Photo courtesy of Visibles

Editor’s note: Visibles, a Guatemalan LGBTI website and advocacy group, originally published this article.

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan Congresswoman Sandra Moran on Dec. 1 introduced a bill to recognize the right to gender identity and allow for transgender people to amend their birth certificates to coincide with their self-identification. The bill was presented with support from trans organizations, which had worked on initial drafts since 2009.

As the Congress’ 2017 session will finish in the coming days, activists expect to mobilize support for initiative. They expect the debate on it will begin in 2018.

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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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Socially conservative Guatemala sees quiet LGBTQ gains

By : Wire Report
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GUATEMALA CITY (AP) – Alex Castillo knew growing up that he was a boy trapped in a girl’s body. It wasn’t until recently, 40 years after his birth, that the government of his native Guatemala – or at least some parts of it – agreed.

Castillo, who recounted the humiliation of being groped by border guards unable to square his masculine appearance with the female name on his identity card, has finally been able to legally change it. Life as a transgender person is still a daily battle, but today it’s a bit easier thanks to the state-sanctioned ID that matches his male identity.

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