Colombia has seen the lowest murder rate in the country in four decades, according to government figures. However, this decrease in violence does not apply to LGBTI people.
A report from Reuters reveals there were 109 known LGBTI murders in 2017. In 2016, there were 108 killings.
In 2016, Colombia’s murder rate was 24.4 per 100,000 people. That’s the lowest rate they’ve seen sine 1974.
A majority of the LGBTI murders were of gay men and transgender women.
Colombia decriminalized homosexual activity in 1980. Since then, the country has made numerous advancements for LGBTI rights.
Over the course of a year, the Constitutional Court granted same-sex couples the same pension, social security and property rights as heterosexual couples.
In 2011, Congress passed a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Finally, in 2016, they also legalized same-sex marriage.
These steps forward make Colombia one of the most progressive countries in Latin America for LGBTI rights.
So why haven’t murders gone down?
‘The murders of LGBTI people pain us,’ said Paula Gaviria, the presidential adviser on human rights.
‘We need that violence stops being what defines us as a country. Nothing can and should be above the respect for life.’
Colombia Diversa released the initial report about LGBTI murders.
The head of the group, Marcela Sanchez, said most of these crimes still go unpunished, despite LGBTI rights training.
‘This hasn’t translated into better investigations and sentencing.’
President-elect Ivan Duque assumes office in August. He says he has ‘great respect’ for the LGBTI community, but is backed by largely conservative and evangelical supporters.
When Colombia held Pride march last weekend, many people held signs reading ‘Not a step backwards’.
Source: Gay News