Thursday, February 16, 2006

Guatemalan police implicated in murder of trans woman

Today, the Latin American bureau of the AP is reporting that the country's Human Rights Ombudsman, Sergio Morales, released a statement charging that police were involved in the clandestine shooting of a transgender woman who was a member of the gay rights and HIV prevention organization OASIS. As usual, the AP publishes the victim's name of birth and categorizes the victim as a homosexual man but ads "[Juan Pablo] Mendez Cartagena, known as 'Paulina' in the homosexual world, died in a nearby hospital from bullet shot wounds" and that the shooting occurred "in a street known as travesti and transsexual prostitution area."

Pray tell, what does 'the homosexual world' mean to the AP? And while we are at it, why not dignify the woman who was killed by giving her the name with which she chose to live her life? (at least the English language Reuters story gets it right)

Of course, that is an issue of semantics and reporting. Much more serious is that OASIS members continue to be victims of such horrible violence: The agency tells the AP that eight of their members have been murdered in what is a young year and the sad thing is that it's not something new. Check out this profile of OASIS from the online webzine, The Gully, from 2000.

The Ombudsman did not release additional information such as the names of the officers saying that the investigation was still in process.

Jorge Lopez (pictured above), the Director of OASIS, told the AP "we hope that the investigation is followed to the end."

Photo credit: E. Sologaistoa, taken from The Gully.

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