|Murdered Honduran LGBT activist Renee Martinez|
As I have mentioned from time to time, my mother (and one of my aunts) was born in Honduras and under the terms of the Honduran Constitution, I qualify for dual citizenship although I have never taken steps to formally secure Honduran citizenship or a Honduran passport. Indeed, my family continues to have holdings in Honduras. Thus, I am continually appalled at the anti-LGBT violence that is sadly the norm in that nation. While the press tends to blame anti-LGBT violence on "gangs," given the continued power of the Roman Catholic Church and its anti-LGBT agenda, I suspect that the Church bears much blame since it continues to legitimize anti-LGBT animus notwithstanding the Vatican's lip service to treating gays with respect. The Church's official position remains that gays are "inherently disordered" and "inclined towards evil," so it isn't a stretch to regard these positions as a license to commit violence against LGBT individuals. The latest victim of anti-LGBT animus is LGBT activist Rene Martínez (pictured above). The Washington Blade has the disquieting details. Here are highlights:
A prominent LGBT rights activist in Honduras was murdered this week.
La Prensa, a Honduran newspaper, reported Rene Martínez’s family reported him missing on Wednesday after he left his home in the city of San Pedro Sula’s Chamelecón neighborhood and got into someone’s car.
La Prensa reported that Martínez’s relatives identified his body at San Pedro Sula’s morgue on Friday. The newspaper said it appears that Martínez was strangled to death.
Martínez, 40, was president of Comunidad Gay Sampredrana, a San Pedro Sula-based LGBT advocacy group that worked throughout northern Honduras. He also ran an outreach center in Chamelecón through Youth Alliance Honduras, an organization that is part of an anti-violence program the U.S. Agency for International Development helped to develop.
USAID and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute co-sponsored a conference in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa last October that focused on bolstering LGBT political engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean. Martínez was among the more than 300 activists from across the region who attended the gathering in which Special U.S. Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry and Tamara Adrián, the first openly transgender person elected to the Venezuelan National Assembly, participated.
Investigators have yet to identify a possible motive for Martínez’s murder or potential suspects.
San Pedro Sula, which is Honduras’ second largest city, is located roughly 150 miles northwest of Tegucigalpa. The city has become known as “the murder capital of the world” because of rampant gang violence and drug trafficking. La Prensa reported that Chamelecón, which is a working class neighborhood in San Pedro Sula, has a high crime rate.
Anti-LGBT violence and discrimination remain commonplace in the Central American country.