Better protection for LGBTIQ+ activists at risk

November 18, 2021

On Transgender Remembrance Day on November 20, we honor the victims of violence against transgender people. We reflect on their lives and stories, such as the courageous Bessy Ferrera. She was fatally shot in Honduras in 2019. Bessy was our partner and an example to many. What she most wanted and what she fought for was respect for the most basic human rights.

Natalia, an active member of the human rights movement in Honduras, knew Bessy. “She was a champion of HIV and trans rights. A very brave woman, who, like almost all trans women in Honduras, was excluded, threatened and attacked. Many trans women are rejected by family and friends and often end up as sex workers on the street because they can’t get other work. They aren’t seen as human, but as freaks – the lowest of the low.”

Many of our colleagues knew Bessy personally and wanted to do something after her death. In consultation with her family, we decided to set up a fund in her name so we can continue her struggle.

The Bessy Ferrera Fund

With the fund we can support courageous transgender people and LGBTIQ+ activists who stand up for their rights, even if they are in danger because of their work. The life-saving emergency fund allows us to act immediately in the most urgent situations.

Think of threats and robberies and any number of situations where their safety is seriously at risk. In these situations it is vital to provide assistance immediately. For example, in the form of legal support, securing buildings and IT networks, providing safe houses or even getting activists out of the country temporarily.

We do this together with local partners whom we have been working with for years. They are in direct contact with the activists and find out quickly about any threat. This allows us to offer appropriate help immediately.

Join us!

Through the Bessy Ferrera Fund, we have been able to provide help in 18 situations in countries, including Kenya, Brazil, Honduras, Ecuador and Mexico. In the Netherlands, we’re raising funds to refill the fund.

Transgender Memorial Day

Almost everywhere in the world it is unsafe for people who are transgender. In many countries they are discriminated against by law or even not recognized. During Transgender Awareness Week, from 13 to 19 November, we want to draw attention to this.

Excluding transgender people promotes hatred and violence. Hundreds of people are killed every year as a result of transphobia. For example, the average life expectancy of transgender women in Latin America, where so many of these attacks take place, is 35.

On Transgender Remembrance Day on November 20, we honor the victims of this violence.