DARWIN: Honduras LGBT
In Honduras having a different kind of sexual orientation or gender identity exposes people to danger an discrimination. This condition of vulnerability is worsened by the conditions of general violence inflicting Honduras, a country where 92% of killings get unpunished.
In 2017, there have been 34 murders of LGBT community members in Honduras, according to the observatory on violent deaths of the Honduran organization “Cattrachas”.This project aims to be about those who remain, those who live the consequences of the extreme violence afflicting the country on their skin, it is a personal story of loss and resilience.
This reportage is a journey into Darwin’s life, which aims to give a sense of what it means living in Honduras as a young person and member of the LGBT community.
Darwin is a 22 years old boy from Honduras, he is gay and a transvestite who goes by the name of Briana. He and his brother were sex workers. That is almost the only option you have when you are poor, gay, and need to find a way to make a living to work and support yourself and your family. His brother, Marco Tullio Montoya, was murdered on April 2nd, 2017. He and Darwin were working on a Friday night as usual, when Darwin left his brother waiting for him while he met a client. When he came back he could not find him. Marco, whose woman name was Sherlyn, was found dead two days later wrapped in plastic on the side of a an alley not far from his home. His body had signs of torture and chocking.
His murder is supposedly still investigated, however Darwin explained how a week before his brother’s assassination, the local gang “offered” them to sell drugs for them (this happens very often, as the local gangs, the “mara” control the areas where prostitution takes place and force the sex workers they often exploit, to sell drugs to double the income and attract more people). Darwin and his brother refused, and seven days later Marco’s corpse was found.
It surely was a so called “hate crime” linked with homophobia because of the level of cruelty inflicted on Marco’s body, but this story entwines with the harsh reality of violence and tension linked with the high level of criminality and impunity with which many Hondurans have to coexist , and from which very often they escape.
Darwin was very close to his brother. Marco was his best friend and he represented a guide and the only one he knew he could trust. They were both gay and Darwin followed his brother’s steps taking part into beauty contests or learning from him how to put on make up and organize and keep wigs proper, to then rent them and make some money.
With his brother gone, Darwin tries to live on, honoring his memory by being the person he is, but in the meantime he’s suffering from great loneliness, fear of death and acute state of depression.
Darwin is not safe, he has been threaten by the same gang that murdered his brother. He stopped working in the street as prostitute and lives in utter financial uncertainty in a country where 92% of killings get unpunished.
In Honduras people have spaces to express themselves, such as the annual Gay Pride Parade or beauty contests events, and in a way united they are stronger, but the reality is also that LGBT rights defenders are targeted and killed and homosexuals and transgenders have high difficulties finding a job and walk safely in the streets.
Despite the abuses, many of the LGBT members try to lively their nature and by doing so they aim to show the people a reality which they can look away from.