The murder and wounding of almost one hundred people, most of them Latinos in a Gay Club in Orlando, Florida has struck Peru, a country in which just days before a 14 year year old travesti was brutally killed. A vigil is planned for Cusco, tonight, at 6:30 at the Paraninfo Universitario on the Plaza de Armas to protest the disinterest of the state and remember victims of homophobia.
Eight LGBT Peruvians were murdered between April 2015 and March 2016 according to the annual report of PROMSEX, the Centro de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights). Though this was an improvement over the prior year when 14 murders were documented, the numbers are probably underreported in this country without a hate crimes law and with strong opposition to it and to Gay rights.
The same report named 43 cases in which personal security was threatened, 8 cases of people assaulted by their own family, and 28 cases of discrimination.
The MIMP (Ministerio de la Mujer y Poblaciones Vulnerables (Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations) reported in 2015
90% LGBTIQ population of Metropolitan Lima has been the victim of violence. 35% of the aggressions took place in homes; 32% in public spaces, and 24.6% in educational institutions.
In addition, 35.4% of the aggressors were found in the homes and were family members or friends of the couple; 28% were third parties; 18.8% were agents of order; 12.7% educators; 6% self; and 2.3% the partner or ex-partner of the victim.
The collective No More Fear (NO Tengo Miedo) indicated that furthermore between 2013 and 2015 6 suicides were reported in Peru of LGBTQI persons younger than 24years old.
These numbers came to ground when on May 30, in Peru’s second city of Trujillo a 14 year old travesti named Zuleimy Aylen Sánchez Cárdenas was drinking beer with friends when she was shot dead. It was the day before the National Day of Struggle against Violence and Hate Crimes against LGBTIQ.
While local press speculated the murderer was a man who was surprised to find out she was travesti, the national press attributed the murder to sicarios, assassins.
In either case, the murder of 14 year old Zuleimy, indicates the dangers faced by LGBT individuals in Peru and he lack of appreciation for them in society, the church, or by the state.
Today’s vigil will recognize the victims of homophobia in Orlando as well as the numerous one, both reported and unreported, in Peru.