Queer Voices

Pepe Palacios, LGBT Activist In Honduras, Talks About Crimes Against The Community


With 86 people killed for every 100,000 inhabitants, Honduras recorded the world's highest murder rate last year. In a deeply homophobic atmosphere, it is even more dangerous to be LGBT, yet Pepe Palacios, one of the founding members of the Diversity Movement in Resistance, continues to be an LGBT activist. He joined Huffpost Live's Ahmed Shihab-Eldin in studio.

"Honduran culture is really conservative, it's a really religious society and its also a heterosexual society," Palacios said. "So if you're against what they call normality, you're in danger not only socially but also physically."

In the last four years, over eighty LGBT individuals have been murdered, and these murders aren't investigated, Suyapa Portillo, Assistant Professor at Pitzer College told Huffpost Live. An LGBT activist herself, Portillo pointed out that while the police might not investigate the murders, that doesn't mean they ignore the community.

"We are always a target. For example outside of gay clubs, you see the police patrolling. I mean it really reminds me of what I've read historically about Stonewall."

The spiral into violence of all kinds has significantly increased since the 2009 coup that removed the democratically elected president. Despite the questionable legitimacy of the government since then, the US has continued to fund Honduran military and police forces. "There's been absolutely no accountability for the coup and the human rights violations that have systematically been committed subsequently," Pam Spees, senior attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights said. "Yes, we need to put pressure on the Obama administration and understand that the U.S. has played a very problematic role for people on the ground in Honduras."

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