The current crisis in Ecuador has exacerbated the vulnerability of the LGBTQ community, which was already facing high levels of violence and discrimination.
A report that Runa Sipiy published notes 27 LGBTQ people were reported murdered in the country in 2023, and government authorities did not adequately respond to them. This situation has intensified during the armed conflict in the country.
Two LGBTQ people have already been reported killed in 2024. Diane Rodríguez, national director of the Ecuadorian Federation of LGBTI Organizations, described the Ecuadorian government’s measures in response of ensuring LGBTQ people remain safe as insufficient and inattentive.
Ecuador in 2019 extended marriage rights to same-sex couples. They can also adopt children, while transgender people can change their legal documentation. The country’s constitution includes sexual orientation and gender identity within the protected categories against discrimination.
Challenges nevertheless persist: Awareness and full implementation of laws and the continued need for efforts to ensure Ecuadorian society is more respectful of sexual and gender diversity.
Rodríguez told the Washington Blade “the current security crisis in Ecuador has had a direct impact on the LGBTQ community.”
“LGBTQ people were already more prone to violence and discrimination before the crisis, and this situation has worsened even more in recent months,” she said.
The activist added that “we believed that, with the new government of Daniel Noboa, things would improve, but we are finding that they will not, since his own human rights institutions, such as the Ministry of Women and Human Rights, omit our situation or hold cosmetic LGBT+ meetings, in the manner of pinkwashing of the current government.”
According to Asociación Silueta X, an organization that works for the rights of LGBTQ people in Ecuador, an increase in incidents of violence and discrimination towards LGBTQ people has been observed during this period of crisis. These incidents include physical attacks, verbal harassment and discrimination in accessing public services.
“This week, for example, Beba was murdered on the afternoon of Jan. 8, 2024, shot in her native Pueblo Viejo, Los Rios province in Ecuador, in the context of the ‘internal armed conflict’ of the country and the state of emergency declared by the president of the republic,” said Rodríguez. “So far, no government department has spoken out about these trans murders, much less the Undersecretary of Diversities or the Ministry of Women and Human Rights.”
Rodríguez in 2017 became the first openly trans person elected to the country’s National Assembly when she became an alternate assemblywoman. She has also been president of Asociación Silueta X.
Rodríguez said the violence has disproportionately affected trans, lesbian and bisexual women.
“We trans people are especially vulnerable to sexual violence and human trafficking,” she said. “This is not only because of those who promote the internal armed conflict related to narco-crime, but also because of the police and army personnel themselves, who in critical events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, abused their power and violated the rights of trans people, especially trans women, so we are fearful on both sides.”
“In Ecuador LGBT+ people and especially trans women are afraid of those who should protect us, such as the police and the army,” added Rodríguez.
Christian Paula, executive director of Fundación Pakta, noted to the Blade informed that “a case arose over the weekend, where a couple was violating the curfew, apparently a couple of gay guys on a motorcycle after 11 p.m. and the police asked why they were both on a motorcycle so late at night”.
“They had indicated that they are a couple and what (was outrageous) is that they stripped them naked and sent them without clothes to return to the house,” noted Paula.