Vanessa Solórzano. (Twitter)
Vanessa Solórzano, a 20-year-old trans sex worker, was stabbed to death by a taxi driver in northwest Argentina Tuesday morning (August 11) all because he didn’t want to pay.
Close friends described Solórzano as a fiercely loyal person who dreamed of becoming a makeup artist. She had began sex work to help her family pay the bills, but had on one occasion been “kidnapped and locked up for days” and brutally beaten.
“So she wanted to dedicate herself to something else,” the friend, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
Her body was found in San Miguel de Tucumán according to local media.
She has been solicited by a taxi driver, Daniel Sanchéz in the early hours of the morning – around 4.30am – but he later refused to pay her.
A scuffle ensued, and he stabbed her in the back on his car at around 6:30am while parked along Avenida Alem and Canal Sur.
Footage from surveillance cameras on nearby storefronts showed Sanchéz drive away from the crime scene and wash his hands – drenched in blood – before a colleague arrived.
The two then stole Solórzano’s mobile phone and the money on her person.
Initial witness reports appeared to imply that Solórzano robbed Sanchéz, leading to regional news outlets angling that the murder was a form of retaliation.
While investigators have since disproven this and arrested Sanchéz and apprehended his vehicle, loved ones of the victim fear the damage has already been done.
A close friend of Solórzano stressed to La Izquierda Diario that Solórzano “would never have stolen from anyone”. She explained how Solórzano “liked artistic makeup, especially in the drag queen art world”.
“She was very protective,” she said, “she always contained us and defended us when they wanted to do something to us.”
LGBT+ rights in Argentina.
Liberal lawmakers in Argentina have long waged a bitter feud with the Roman Catholic Church over LGBT+ rights.
Church leaders attempted to derail a bill to legalise marriage equality in 2010 by organising large scale protests, where religious opponents barricaded the streets.
But more than a decade on, Argentina’s LGBT+ rights have emerged as some of the most robust in South America.
The shift is illustrated by bisexual son of Alberto Fernández, the president of Argentina, who is a big name in the country’s drag scene and even promoted his father’s candidacy across an array of queer clubs.