6th April 2017

Sam’s Story: Take Action for LGBT Rights

As well as celebrating diversity, our theme Love & Pride is about and also standing up for equality.  In places where being LGBT (diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, including lesbian, gay, bi, and trans) is not illegal, LGBT people can still face discrimination and oppression.

Amnesty International have recently highlighted the case of Sam, a trans man who works as a lawyer in Aragua, Venezuela:

In January, Sam and his daughter Aleska went to a police station in Aragua to file a complaint.  They were beaten about the head and face by police officers, who uttered derogatory phrases such as “what happened to trying to act all manly?” (¿no te la tiras de macho?) referring to his gender identity.

One of the officers threatened Sam, saying: “pray to God that I don’t find you out alone at night” (pídele a Dios que no te encuentre de noche sola por la calle).  Sam and his daughter live in front of the police station, and  he is afraid that this threat will be carried out.  He has filed an official complaint about what had happened, but there has been no official investigation.

Amnesty International state:

“The Aragua Police Force has a history of excessive use of force. In 2016 there were complaints of excessive use of force during demonstrations, such as in the case of Laura Lara, the victim of a brutal beating which was caught on video, carried out by various male police officers from the Aragua State Police Force, in central Venezuela. There have also been reports registered of harassment of LGBTI individuals in the past by this police force.

Among other complaints, there have been cases where police officers from the Aragua Police Force have been implicated in the harassment, threatening and murder of members of the Barrios family since 1998, confirmed by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in their 2011 ruling. To date, the events have not been investigated, nor have the respective perpetrators been identified.”

Pop into Peace Hub throughout April & May to sign the letter in support of Sam.

While you’re here, you can have a friendly chat about our Love & Pride theme, read more personal stories, and share your own experiences.

Note: Peace Hub is highlighting this case, as we feel it is a positive action that fits with our current theme.  It should not be inferred that Amnesty International has endorsed Peace Hub in any way.

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