Trans woman Zashy Zuley del Cid was murdered in the streets of San Miguel, El Salvador (Facebook)
El Salvador’s LGBT+ community is mourning the loss of a fearless trans woman and activist who was murdered from a gunshot to the back.
Zashy Zuley del Cid was killed in the early hours of 24 April in an area of San Miguel where sex workers are known to gather, according to the advocacy group COMCAVIS Trans.
She was an active member of the city’s transgender community and had worked with the grassroots LGBT+ collective Colectivo Perlas de Oriente since 2017. She had reportedly received death threats before.
“Zashy is one more victim of that prejudice and hatred of which we are victims,” COMCAVIS’ trans executive director, Bianca Rodríguez, told the Los Angeles Blade.
In an insult compounding the tragedy, del Cid’s family insisted on burying her as a male under the deadname she no longer used.
They also tried to prevent her loved ones from attending the funeral, Rodríguez said, until one relative eventually allowed Colectivo Perlas de Oriente to pay their respects.
“It is a reprehensible fact, especially because the police have not conducted a credible investigation of the case,” she added. “It is worrying because the prosecutors didn’t even know the victim’s name.”
The case has attracted the attention of The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which monitors human rights in the western hemisphere.
“The IACHR urges the State of El Salvador to investigate the facts with due diligence, considering the gender identity/expression of the victim and her work defending human rights as possible motivations for the crime,” the top tribunal tweeted.
The #IACHR also calls on the State of #ElSavador to guarantee the personal integrity, safety, and life of trans women, including #HumanRights defenders, who are exposed to violence based on prejudices against their gender identity/expression and work in defense of #HumanRights. 3
— CIDH – IACHR (@CIDH) April 28, 2021
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has also condemned the murder of del Cid.
According to the COMCAVIS figures, more than 600 LGBT+ people have been murdered in El Salvador since 1993; in addition 151 LGBT+ people have been forcibly displaced between 2018 and 2019, with 67.5 per cent of victims being transgender women.
“We suffer attacks for the simple fact of having a different sexual orientation or gender identity, which each person expresses with different patterns and gender roles,” Rodríguez said.
“We do not want violence to continue against LGBT+ people, and it is for that reason we have made the corresponding call to the appropriate authorities to be diligent with investigations and [for us] to be recognised as citizens with equal rights and guarantees.”