A transgender woman in Colombia was found dead after authorities say she was found stabbed 20 times, her throat cut, and one of her eyes gouged out.
The body of Paloma Salas Jiménez, 33, was found in the garbage in the city of Barranquilla last Thursday after people called the police’s emergency line complaining about a smell in the area.
“This is a transgender woman who had a lot of visibility in the La Chinita neighborhood and for that same reason was harassed by organized crime that controls that territory,” said Wilson Castañeda of the local LGBTQ organization Caribe Afirmativo.
Castañeda said that the brutality of the murder shows “a clear intention on the part of the perpetrator, not only to kill her, but also to send a violent message rejecting what the victim represented.”
He said that transgender people often can’t hide their identities, making them bigger targets than other LGBTQ people for violence.
Salas Jiménez “showed who she was, exactly the opposite of what the assailants wanted, which was for her to hide her gender identity. But she couldn’t do that because it was her essence.”
“The bottom line is that more visibility means more risk,” Castañeda concluded.
The organization called for a stronger police presence in the neighborhood, pointing out that they have identified five areas where attacks are frequent.
LGBTQ people “often use public space and the job of the authorities is not to remove them, but to protect them so that they can be there,” the organization said in a statement.
According to the organization, seven LGBTQ people were killed in the city of Barranquilla in 2019. This year, three LGBTQ people have been killed in Barranquilla so far, two of them in the La Chinita neighborhood.